[New York]1

Welcome to you all!

For me you are all esteemed guests. Ahavas Yisrael, being fond of a fellow Jew, is an inborn trait in every Jewish child, regardless of whether he is of lowly or lofty lineage.

The title shared by all of us is Yud, The title shared by all of us is Yud: There is an ongoing play here on Yud (the letter) and Yid (a Jew). Indeed, in many regional pronunciations, both words are pronounced identically (as Yid). and everyone knows that this letter is unique, for when a scribe writes any of the other letters he begins with this letter.

We descendants of the Alter Rebbe have been handed down the following teaching which he heard from the Maggid of Mezritch, who heard it from the Baal Shem Tov.

The first letter of the Four-Letter Divine Name is Yud, because a Yid is the reason and the ultimate intent underlying the creation of the world. Indeed, the very shape of the letter Yud reveals and explains that intent. The tiny pointed “thorn”2 atop the letter Yud alludes to the Divine intent and will to create the material world, and the “thorn” at the foot of the letter indicates material existence. When, in the course of one’s worldly and material life, one fulfills the intent for which G‑d created the world, one completes the proper shape of the letter Yud — every Yid according to his situation and according to the task which his soul must succeed in carrying out in this world. And the most basic task is to support those who study Torah in a G‑d-fearing spirit.

Of the Torah it is said, “for its goods are superior3 to all other goods.” I don’t have to explain to you how a merchant praises his merchandise. I recall having often heard how seasoned old merchants talk. When a prospective client walks in and asks for a large quantity of some sought-after commodity for his retail store, the veteran wholesaler retorts, “You have to be kidding! A large quantity, did you say? Listen here, young man: my merchandise is worth its weight in gold. Even if I give you a mere whiff of it, that itself will be worth plenty. Little as it is, people will snatch it up like sweets!”

As we were saying, then, the Torah’s goods are superior to all other goods.

My friends: Your work for the sake of the Torah brings me gratification. I am not talking about how much each of you contributes, and I don’t know if you each give as much as you should; the person to ask about that is the director. I am talking about what counts more than everything — your devotedness, wanting Torah. When you meet a fellow Jew you should ask him, “What are you doing for Torah? I have done so and so, thank G‑d; what about you?”

I have in mind Torah causes in general, and in particular the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah, a veteran institution which my father established. With tears he prayed that in the merit of his holy forebears he should be blessed with success, so that the students’ material blessings should be apparent in their spiritual standing, and so that material and spiritual blessings should light upon all those who would support the Yeshivah.

By virtue of the power that has been given me to bless members of the chassidic brotherhood and supporters of the Torah and Jews at large, I would like to offer you my blessings. May G‑d grant you all a good and a sweet year; may you all be sealed in the Book of Life for a good life in all respects; may all your affairs be conducted according to the principles of the Torah; and may you find delight in your love of G‑d, in your love of the Torah, in your love of your fellow Jews.

May you all be blessed both materially and spiritually.