By the Grace of G‑d
1st day of Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5712 [1952]

Greetings and Blessings!

Your1 letter dated Monday of the week of Parshas Yisro reached me on time, but my reply has been delayed because of the yahrzeit of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz] — the preparations for that date, and the matters connected with it and arising out of it. May G‑d help every one of us to fulfill his mission along the path that my saintly father-in-law pointed out and laid down. This also includes guidance along the path of Torah and mitzvos itself, because even within that path itself, the Evil Inclination finds ways of weakening and hindering a person’s endeavors to climb ever higher.

I was happy to read in your letter that you are firm in your trust in G‑d, and I hope that you will soon be enabled to see that trust materialize in your business affairs.

One thing, however, I find surprising. Since you place your trust in G‑d in questions of materiality and your livelihood, surely that trust should be firm when it comes to one’s children and their conduct! After all, this is what really matters to a Jew, much more than material concerns. But in your case, when you come to that subject, you write that you console yourself with the thought that at least they are in a better state than some others, and so on.

On the phrase, בשמים ממעל ועל הארץ מתחת — “in the Heavens above, and on the earth below”2 — there is a [popular] interpretation which is cited in many books and which you have no doubt heard: When it comes to matters of Heaven, i.e., Divine and holy matters, one should gaze upward towards those who are standing on a rung that is above one’s own and try to climb up there; when it comes to earthly matters, one should lower one’s glance and consider the predicament of those whose status is below one’s own.

The latter perspective enables a man to become a sameiach bechelko — “one who is happy with his lot.” And such a man is truly rich. As the Sages teach,3 “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.”

Now, there is no need for me to emphasize that Lubavitch in general, and I personally, are not in the habit of offering pointless rebuke. The above lines, then, express a dual intent: (a) to contribute whatever I can to the strength of your trust that G‑d will grant you a livelihood and sound health, and (b) to recapitulate what I spoke of when you were here — not to grow weary of speaking with your children concerning their conduct in matters of Torah and mitzvos. And “the words of the wise,” especially when they are expressed “tranquilly, are heeded.”4

With a blessing that you write me good tidings,