The needle is a fellow with a mission: to wed disjointed fragments into a whole cloth. The fragments are not always that cooperative—that's why he's equipped with a no-nonsense prow, to force his way through the material when necessary. Yet for all his resoluteness and aggressiveness, he's a humble soul, our needle: he knows that it is not he who holds the pieces together—he's just a tool to get the thread in. That's why his pointed tip is complemented by the hollow at his other end—a receptive cavity that holds the binding fiber and draws it back and forth across the divisions between the fragments.

Man is a needle. His mission in life is to stitch together a disjointed world into a cohesive whole. The thread that effects this union is the Torah and its mitzvot: the divine plan for life that runs through its every aspect and area, amalgamating the fragmented entropy of material existence into a harmonious expression of the oneness and perfection of its Creator.1

Thus, man is a creature of paradox, incorporating the contrasting traits of the needle's two ends. On the one hand, his is no task for the timid. The material world resists transformation with every close-knit fiber of its being; man must force openings in the cloth of reality to make it receptive to the binding thread that will unite it as a harmonious whole. He must fortify himself with the chutzpah and self-confident resolve it takes to punch holes in entrenched "norms" of nature and society.

On the other hand, the sharpest needle can achieve little without its self-negating hollow. Without an aperture to receive the divine thread, man is no more than an ephemeral pin, whose attempts at fusing the fragments of life are as limited, crude and temporary as his own mortal being. If man is to truly and permanently sew his world together, he must open himself to the Torah's conception and instruction of life, open himself to serve as a vessel for the divine will.

Based on an entry in the Rebbe's journal dated Shvat 20, 5702 (February 7, 1942)2