Following his release from imprisonment in Petersburg on Kislev 19, 5559 (1798), an event which marked the Chassidic movement's decisive victory over its opponents,1 Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi sent a letter2 to all his followers, warning them against any feelings of pride and superiority over their antagonists. The letter begins by quoting the verse (Genesis 32:11)3 in which Jacob says to G‑d, "I am diminished (katonti) by all the kindnesses... You have shown Your servant." Rabbi Schneur Zalman explains:

"The meaning of this is that every kindness bestowed by G‑d upon a person should cause him to be exceedingly humble. For a [divine] kindness is [an expression of]... 'His right hand does embrace me'4--G‑d is literally bringing the person close to Himself, far more intensely than before. And the closer a person is to G‑d ... the greater the humility this should evoke in him... This because 'all before Him is as naught'5; so the more 'before Him' a person is, the more 'as naught' [does he perceive himself to be].... This is the attribute of Jacob...

"The very opposite is the case in the contrasting realm of... kelipah (evil): the greater the kindness shown a person, the more he grows in arrogance and self-satisfaction.

"Therefore I come with a great call to all our community regarding the many kindnesses which G‑d has exceedingly shown us: Assume the attribute of Jacob... Do not feel yourselves superior to your brethren (i.e., the opponents of Chassidism); do not give free rein to your mouths regarding them, or hiss at them, G‑d forbid. [I] strictly warn: Make no mention [of our victory]. Only humble your spirits and hearts with the truth of Jacob..."

Rabbi Schneur Zalman's great-grandson, Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, once remarked: "If the Rebbe would have omitted the words 'with the truth of Jacob' from his letter, he would have gained 50,000 additional followers. But the Rebbe demanded truth."