By the Grace of G‑d
6th of Tishrei, 5734 [October 2, 1973]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

G‑d bless you all:

Greetings and Blessing:

Pursuant to the letter for Rosh Hashanah

Wherein the theme centered on the task which the Creator bestowed on man, the chosen one of all creatures, together with tremendous powers to carry it out in life —

I wish to dwell here on a further point, namely, that just as this matter concerns every Jew as an individual, it applies also, and even more strongly, to the Jewish people as a whole, the Chosen People whom G‑d has given a special task as a nation among the nations of the world. In the words of the Prophet Isaiah: "Thus said the Lord G‑d, Creator of the heavens...the earth and its creatures...'I'll protect you and set you up as a covenant-people for a light of the nations.'"

And just as the Jew, as an individual, must not forget his task, but must rather be permeated at all times with the responsibility of it, and not underestimate his powers, so must also the Jewish people, as a nation, always be mindful of its special purpose and not underestimate its powers, and certainly must not slavishly follow or imitate other nations.

The same applies, on a more limited scale, but in more concrete instances, to every Jewish community or organization, whatever the official purpose of its inception may be, and even to a single Jew whose status is such that people regard him as exemplary or representative of the entire Jewish nation.

The said affirmation is not necessary, needless to say, in the area wherein the uniqueness of the Jewish people is plainly evident to all, namely in the sphere of the purely spiritual life, of true Yiddishkeit, Torah and Mitzvoth. But rather in the sphere of things wherein all nations are more or less comparable externally, i.e. in the sphere of the so-called general and mundane affairs, as, for example, in the relations of communities and organizations with the outside world, or with each other, as to what should be the aims and aspirations of the particular Jewish body, who should be the leaders, what priorities to establish, how the resources should be allocated, and so forth.

There is a tendency sometimes to determine such endeavors on the basis of quantitative rather than qualitative criteria. Wherefore also in the area of these endeavors the Jewish people have been given the directive: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says G‑d." To the Jewish people and Jewish community (even to the Jew as an individual) special Divine capacities ("My spirit") have been given to carry out their task in the fullest measure. For, where Jews are concerned, their physical powers are linked with, and subordinated to, spiritual powers, which are infinite.

An historic example of this is found in the time of King Solomon, when the Jewish people stood out among the nations of the world by virtue of having attained the highest degree of its perfection. Our Sages of blessed memory, referring to that state, describe it as being like "the moon it its fullness." —

For, as is well known, the Jewish people is likened to the moon, and they "reckon" their times (calendar months) by the moon. One of the explanations of this is that just as the moon goes through periodic changes in its appearance, according to its position vis-a-vis the sun, whose light it reflects, so the Jewish people go through changes according to the measure of its reflecting the Light of G‑d, of Whom it is written, "For G‑d Elokim is sun and shield."

This perfection in the time of King Solomon (notwithstanding the fact that even then Jews constituted numerically and physically "the fewest of all the nation") expressed itself, in quite a distinctive form, in the relations between the Jewish people and the other nations of the world. The reputation of King Solomon's wisdom aroused a strong desire among kings and leaders to come and see his conduct and learn from his wisdom — the wisdom he had prayed for and received from G‑d, and permeated with G‑dliness.

And when they came they also saw how under his leadership there lived a people, even in its material life, "with security, every man under his vine and under his fig tree," in a land where "the eyes of G‑d, your G‑d, are constantly on it, from beginning of the year to the end of year." And this is what brought peace between the Jews and the nations all around.

Thus, it was clearly demonstrated that when Jews live in accord with Torah, true peace is attained, and they serve as a guiding light for the nations — "the nations will go by your light" — the light of Torah and Mitzvoth.

The said task of the Jew and of the Jewish community is not limited to the time when they are in a state of a "full moon," but also when in exile, "spread and dispersed among the nations." For even then they are one people, whose laws are different from those of all other nations, a fact that is known to and acknowledged by all nations of the world.

Because even when Jews are in Golus (exile), it is only the Jewish body that is in exile, but the Jewish soul is never exiled and is free from any external subjugation. Consequently, also while in exile Jews must not ignore their task, nor underestimate their capacities, however limited their material powers may be, inasmuch as a Jew's material resources, as already noted, are bound up with the spiritual, and in the spiritual realm there are no limitations also during the time of exile.

In plain words: Wherever Jews find themselves, in the diaspora or in the Land of Israel, even a single Jew in a remote corner of the earth — it behooves every Jew and Jewish community to remember that they are part of the whole Jewish people and representatives of the entire Jewish people, the one people ever since the Torah was given at Mount Sinai and until the end of times.