The text of the first part of this letter was sent to various individuals, personally addressed to each one.1 The portion following the Rebbe’s signature was addressed to a specific individual.

B”H, 26 Elul, 5709

Greetings and blessings,

In anticipation of the coming year, I would like to convey my wishes that you and your entire household be blessed with a kesivah vechasimah tovah for a good and sweet year in all matters.

As is well known,2 there are two interpretations of the name “Rosh HaShanah”: a) the beginning of the year (with regard to years, i.e., ordinary time, and with regard to the Sabbatical cycle, i.e., time associated with a mitzvah), and b) “the head of the year,” as stated in the maamar entitled HaYom HaZeh in Likkutei Torah, Parshas Ki Savo: “For this reason, it is called Rosh HaShanah, the head of the year, and not the beginning of the year, because just as there is a quality in the soul that serves as a head and as intellect in relation to the remainder of the body, so too, there is a dimension, Rosh HaShanah, that serves as a head to the year.”

To explain this in the context of a person’s service of his Maker: In our conduct, the mind must rule over the heart.3 The head must control all the limbs. Similarly, [in the analogue,] during these Days of Awe and particularly on Rosh HaShanah, the Source of Light draws close to the spark (see Yechezkel 40:1, [from which it is apparent] that Yom Kippur is also called Rosh HaShanah). [Since] Rosh HaShanah [is “the head of the year,” the spiritual state of a Jew’s soul at that time] should exert an influence over his conduct throughout the year, making it appropriate to his [spiritual] stance and desires on Rosh HaShanah.

In that [maamar] in Likkutei Torah, the note — which is a ray of light4 — which follows that phrase states: “[Rosh HaShanah reflects] the level of the skull that encompasses the brain and is [identified] with the revelation of the Sublime Will.”

This means: The aspect of “the head” that characterizes Rosh HaShanah is not intellect and comprehension. If, when one begins his systematic Divine service, [he feels that] he must understand and comprehend — and if he does not understand he refuses to act, or at least hesitates — he is acting in contradiction to Rosh HaShanah. For [Rosh HaShanah] is the revelation of the Sublime Will: “the skull that encompasses the brain.”

Instead, [our] Divine service must be based on accepting the yoke of G‑d’s Kingship. Although it’s a yoke, it’s a pleasant yoke, [as implied by] our Sages’ statement (Berachos 17a): “Our desire is to do Your will.”

In particular, this applies in the present year, when the first day [of Rosh HaShanah] — from when we begin counting the years (see Rashi and Tosafos, Menachos 100b; [the gloss] Tzafnas Paaneiach by R. Yosef Rozin of Rogatchov, [to Rambam,] Hilchos Sh’vitas Yom Tov 1:22) — falls on Shabbos, a day when mundane activities are forbidden and only the interests of Heaven — i.e., what G‑d desires — are permitted on Shabbos.

The arousal on such a day is of a different nature and it affects the entire year with increased strength and greater blessing.

Concluding with wishes for a kesivah vechasimah tovah and for all types of everlasting good; waiting to hear good tidings from you both in regard to material and spiritual matters,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee

With regard to the question in your letter concerning directives: Our Sages have given us a general directive [based on] the interpretation of the verse (Yeshayahu 58:7): “Break your bread for the hungry; bring the bitter poor to your home. When you see a naked person clothe him,” explaining that it refers to a person “naked of mitzvos,5 one hungry for “the bread of Torah,”6 and lacking the shelter of the house of prayer. (It is self-understood that if the person does not appreciate that he is hungry, he is in an even greater state of poverty.) And the verse continues: “And do not ignore your own flesh.” [This] one verse serves as a directive for a person’s entire life!