Perhaps today more than ever before, each one of us feels a centrifugal force scattering our energies outward among many diverse types of commitments. Our workplaces, our families, our investments, and our diversions all make their demands upon us. By and large, we are happy with what we are doing; if we weren’t, we wouldn’t continue doing it. We’d simply choose other options. But despite these different involvements, we’re looking for something more.

We’re not looking for just another activity or possession. What we want is something internal, something that gives depth and meaning to what we’re doing, something that prompts the satisfaction and happiness that well up from within when we know that life has value and purpose.

For centuries, our people have found that satisfaction in the Torah.

In our material environment there are certain immutable laws, principles that are embedded in the fabric of nature. Ask any farmer and he will explain to you that there are certain “laws of the farm” that he cannot violate. If he wants a viable crop, he must conform to them.

There are also laws of the soul, principles equally valid and equally embedded into the fabric of our lives. These laws govern our relationships with G‑d and our relationships with our fellow man. These are the Torah insights that we should reach for.

A Story and Its Analogue

Once R. Shmuel, the fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe, emerged from his study after holding private meetings with his followers. His attendant was surprised to see the Rebbe dripping with sweat. The Rebbe had sat with about fifty individuals in a little bit less than two hours, so the attendant could understand that the Rebbe would be exhausted, but why the rivers of perspiration?

When he questioned the Rebbe about it, R. Shmuel explained: “When a person comes into my room with a difficulty, I realize that he is looking at the world differently than I do. To understand the way he faces his problem, I can’t sit back and abstractly consider the issue; I have to put myself in his clothes. But after I put myself in his clothes, I won’t be able to focus on the issues objectively. To do that, I must return to my own clothes and find appropriate advice. And then to convey the message to the listener, I must enter into his clothes again. If you switched clothing 150 times in less than two hours, you would also be sweating.”

In this book, we have tried to follow a similar process, taking the inner dimension of the Torah’s insights and clothing them to fit the intellectual and emotional tastes of contemporary America.1

A Man and a Mission

Although the readings in this book are original compositions, they are all based on the insights of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi M. M. Schneerson. There are many people who describe the Rebbe in superlatives: a Torah genius, a visionary leader, a miracle worker, or simply a caring and sympathetic listener and counselor. What draws us most is the quality that can only be described by the term “Rebbe” — a limitless, unique energy and vitality that comes from the G‑dliness which we all possess and which the Rebbe revealed in a distinctive way.

The Rebbe would cry and laugh. What made him special, however, was what he cried and laughed about. Coming into his presence, you became aware that he lived for a goal beyond himself. And more importantly, he was able to awaken the spark inside each of us which likewise seeks to live for goals beyond ourselves.

While fully in touch with the present, he also gave us a promise and a picture of a deeper and more meaningful future. While in contact with the Rebbe, the peace, love, and spiritual awareness that will characterize the era of the Redemption are not just abstract goals. You understand them, because you relate to a person who had anticipated and foreseen them in his day-to-day life.

He gives others tools to share in this awareness, and in that way, endows them with a sense of mission and purpose. For, having sampled these qualities, a person wants nothing more than to communicate them further and in that way, help bring the world to its ultimate fulfillment.

That is our intent in publishing this volume: to allow the waves of insight the Rebbe generated to ripple further throughout our society and by doing so, empower us all to draw on the self-generating spark of G‑dly fire found within our hearts and within the Torah.

Yossi Malamud
Fax A Sicha
Crown Heights, NY
28 Sivan, 5767