A Letter of the Rebbe Rayatz

By the Grace of G‑d
Isru Chag Simchas Torah 5709 [1948]
Brooklyn

To the Editors,

Otzar HaChassidim1

Greetings and Blessings!

The Yovel [Jubilee 50 years] is a number sanctified in time and in meaning, as explicitly recorded in Scripture:2 “[The man who trusts in G‑d is as a tree that] sends forth its roots in streams of water [yuval].” Like the roots of trees that grow by streams of water, so intellectual growth which is nurtured in the streams of the waters of Chochmah (“wisdom”), Binah (“understanding”) and Daas (“knowledge”),3 gives forth its fruit good character traits and upright conduct in day to day life.

Praise to G‑d, may He be blessed and exalted! In the merit of [our] saintly fathers, fifty years have passed since that glorious day on which my father of sainted memory [i.e., the Rebbe Rashab] announced publicly that the yeshivah which he had founded on Wednesday (the day on which the luminaries were suspended in the heavens), 18th Elul, 5657 [1897], and which until then had been located in Zhebin, in the Minsk region, that yeshivah he was now establishing permanently in Lubavitch and was calling it “Tomchei Temimim.” May it continue for many long years!

This took place on the night of Simchas Torah, 5659 [1898], during Hakkafos. When the seventh hakkafah was reached at a very late hour, approximately 4:00 a.m. my father, the Rebbe, began to explain the concept of the seven Hakkafos. When he finished he said, “With the help of G‑d I have founded a yeshivah for the study of both the revealed dimension of Torah, and Chassidus. That is, its students will know that in the revealed part of the Torah there is the inner Torah, and they will comprehend Chassidus as they comprehend a topic in the revealed part of Torah.” He then told those assembled to sing.

He then said: “Now, on Simchas Torah, I herewith pray to the Giver of the Torah and beseech Him that He help the students of the yeshivah! ” He then began to recite [the verses that are said during the seventh Hakkafah when circling the bimah]: “Holy and awesome One, deliver us; merciful and gracious One, grant us success; Keeper of the covenant, answer us on the day we call.” He then stopped circling the bimah and again told those present to sing. When the singing finished he began to recite, “Supporter of those who are whole [Tomech Temimim], deliver us; eternally invincible One, grant us success; He Who is perfect in His ways, answer us on the day we call,” and then recited all the remaining verses. He was extremely joyful, and danced and sang for a long time. When he returned to his usual place he encouraged all those present to sing and to dance and to rejoice exceedingly.

He then said: “The yeshivah which has been established with the help of the Most High, as yet has no name. It has been made known I will not tell you by whom that its name is Tomchei Temimim.

“The aim of the yeshivah is that G‑d’s Torah, the revealed dimension of Torah and the teachings of Chassidus , should be whole and perfect and then the Torah restores the soul. As stated in the Midrash ,4 ‘Why is [the Torah] whole and perfect? because it restores the soul; why does it restore the soul? because it is whole and perfect.’

“I am certain that in the merit of our fathers, the saintly Rebbes, the words ‘eternally invincible’ shall be realized in the way the yeshivah is conducted until the coming of our righteous Redeemer (May it be speedily in our days!), and the words ‘perfect in his ways’ shall be realized in each of its students.”

He then announced that the yeshivah’s name was to be “Tomchei Temimim,” and that its students, who would act in its spirit, would be called “Temimim” “and in fifty years time it will be renowned throughout the world.”

On the occasion of this Jubilee, I lay upon you the responsibility of publishing the maamar which was delivered [by the Rebbe Rashab] on that Simchas Torah in the year 5659 [1898] i.e., Heichaltzu , including that part which until now has remained in manuscript. I am appending various related writings.

It is my prayer that the light of the Torah of Chochmah , Binah and Daas will permeate the attributes of each person’s character, refining them and illuminating them.

Your friend, who seeks your welfare and blesses you in both material and spiritual matters,

[Signed:] Yosef Yitzchak