By the Grace of G‑d
6th of Tishrei, 5750

To The Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere

G‑d Bless You All!

Greeting and blessing:

It is customary to “open with a blessing,” in this instance, a blessing for a chasima and g’mar chasima for a good and sweet year.

It is after Rosh HaShanah and we have already entered the new year. At all times, even when a person’s knowledge and actual conduct are satisfactory, he should constantly strive to invest his time in further study, and thus to improve his conduct (his thought, speech, and action). Surely this applies at the threshold of a new year, which reminds us that it is necessary to strive toward a new and more elevated level of perfection in our daily life.

This, therefore, is an appropriate time to consider the unique dimension which distinguishes this year from other years, in addition to the significance implied by the celebration of Rosh HaShanah on Shabbos which was explained in detail in previous letters.

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As has been emphasized many times in the past, the Torah teaches us to use every possible means to bring about an increase in the love and fear of G‑d even when this involves using an interpretation that has no explicit source in existing Torah texts. This is especially so because the love and the fear of G‑d are the source for all the 613 mitzvos. This also includes the Rabbinic commandments, Jewish customs, and the entire scope of Jewish behavior.

Accordingly, it is appropriate to focus on the allusion provided by the name of this year, תש"נ, whose letters serve as an acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, “This year will be a year of miracles.” This acronym, which is becoming known in ever widening circles throughout the international Jewish community, provides us with a lesson applicable to our conduct throughout the year.

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Both miracles and nature are expressions of G‑dliness. Nature too emanates from G‑d. He created and fixed the laws of nature and uses them as a means to control the world. What distinguishes miracles from nature is that miracles are out of the ordinary, a higher order of existence than G‑d usually reveals. The Hebrew word for miracle, בס, also means “uplifted,” raised above and exalted. Thus, a miracle is an occurrence which introduces a higher frame of reference into creation, elevating the world beyond its natural limitations.

These two approaches, the natural and the miraculous, must be reflected in the behavior of every Jew. We must exhibit both a natural pattern of behavior and a miraculous pattern of behavior.

Even a Jew’s natural pattern of behavior involves absolute adherence to the directives of the Torah. However, inasmuch as it is his ordinary conduct, it is limited by the bounds of his human potential.

G‑d, however, grants a Jew an additional potential to serve Him through a miraculous pattern of behavior, allowing him to transcend his natural limits. This does not mean that a person merely improves himself slightly or even greatly, in the spirit of the directive that “in holy matters, one should always ascend higher,” by increasing his commitment to sessions of Torah study, undertaking a new hiddur in the performance of a mitzvah, or the like. Rather, it means that he changes entirely, adopting a totally new and more elevated pattern of behavior.

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This is the unique allusion and mission contributed by this year, that “this will be a year of miracles.” As we proceed from the year תשמ"ט which recalls the command to nullify debts, we can assume that all the undesirable influences which might attach themselves to a Jew have been nullified. Thus, his entire being and the totality of his conduct will reflect a life of Torah.

“All Jews are presumed to act in an upstanding manner.” Thus, we can assume that each Jew utilized the month of Elul, the month of stock-taking for the year תשמ"ט, to correct all his deeds of the previous year and to elevate them to the level of completion and perfection.

We can also assume that he was granted a full measure of pardon, forgiveness, and atonement, and was inscribed — and that inscription was sealed — for a good year in all matters. Yet over and above this, we are instructed that “this will be a year of miracles,” implying the need for a new pattern of service in this new year.

It is now demanded of each Jew — man, woman, and child — that he work with himself and elevate himself to a plane so new and so high that his conduct in this year will be miraculous when compared to his conduct in the previous year.

This miraculous pattern of behavior — serving G‑d (through Torah, prayer, and mitzvos) in an unlimited manner — must pervade every aspect of our conduct, including the mitzvos between man and G‑d, the mitzvos between man and his fellowman, beginning with the mitzvah to “love your neighbor as yourself,” and also the mitzvos that are connected with non-Jews and with the world at large.

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G‑d relates to the Jewish people “measure for measure.” Accordingly, it is understood that a miraculous pattern of behavior on the part of a Jew arouses a miraculous pattern of Divine behavior and draws down unlimited Divine blessings upon himself, both as an individual and as a part of the Jewish people as a whole, and upon the world at large.

May each individual’s acceptance of firm and powerful resolutions regarding all the above be considered by G‑d as if these resolutions have already been carried out. In particular, this is true, since we have already experienced several days of the new year and one can assume that the above has already begun to be carried out. And may the meaning of the acronym resulting from the name of this year be fulfilled quite literally, so that “this will be a year of miracles.”

Surely this will be — and has already begun to be — a year of miracles, in which each Jew will see G‑d’s miraculous pattern of behavior, including נס, miracles of a truly miraculous nature.

May it also include the most vital miracle, the miracle of the true and complete redemption led by our righteous Mashiach, when there will be even greater miracles than those which occurred during the exodus from Egypt. Thus our Sages interpret the verse, “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt will I show you wonders” — the miracles of the Messianic age will be “wonders” when compared to the “days of your exodus from Egypt.”

May G‑d fulfill the heartfelt prayer of each Jew and of the Jewish people as a whole — “May my prayer come before You, turn Your ear to my supplication” — and bring the true and complete redemption in the immediate future.