Mazel Tov! How wonderful and appropriate to start a new Volume of Sichos In English with the sichah entitled “Mazel Tov! A Blessing for Mother and Child.” In that didactic and very timely sichah the Rebbe strongly advocated the custom of placing Shir Hama’alos in the birthing rooms of mothers and nurseries of newborn babies. The Rebbe explained that this practice brings blessing to mother and child, and expresses thanks and appreciation on the part of the new parents. We too feel that the publication of Volume 34 of Sichos In English deserves a hearty Mazel Tov. We too, express our thanks and appreciation to the Al-mighty for His kindness and Providence and, like new parents, we pray to G‑d for His blessing and protection.

Although these Sichos were delivered in 5747, yet we see how the Rebbe’s words are prophetic and eternal for the question of public Menorahs is still very much on the American legal agenda. The Rebbe’s clear, visionary words, in the essay: “Menorah — A Symbol of Thanksgiving”, explaining the universal message of the Menorah still sounds the rallying clarion call urging the representatives of American democracy to see the Menorah as an expression of democratic religious freedom for all mankind.

The publication of this volume will come close to the auspicious date of the 10th of Shevat and we dedicate this volume to the 40th anniversary of the Rebbe’s leadership as Nasi of the Jewish people.

This volume covers the period from Kislev to Adar of 5747. It includes the English translation of the discourses delivered by the Rebbe Shlita at all the Farbrengens held during that period. In addition to the regular sichos and to the special essays mentioned above we have included an essay on making your own home a Chabad House, an essay on Preparation for Yud Shevat and an essay on the role of Rabbis and the office of the Rabbinate in Jewish life, the Rebbe devoted to these topics.

A communal letter issued by the Rebbe before the New Year for Trees is also included.

The free-style translations of the sichos are structured to appeal to the English-speaking reader who has some basic familiarity with the teachings of Chassidus. The original contexts of the sichos are generally maintained, and the form and style in which they were said is adhered to. Only slight adaptations or omissions have been permitted, when they facilitate the smooth flow of the translation. As always, great effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the translations; however, they carry no official authorization. As in all works of this nature the possibility of inadvertent error exists, for which we humbly apologize.

Probably the most electrifying series of sichos in this volume (or any volume) are the discourses from the 5th of Teves to the 16th of Teves. It was during this period that the Federal Courts issued the favorable ruling concerning the books and manuscripts taken from the Library of Agudas Chassidei Chabad. The Rebbe emphasized that the incarceration of the Alter Rebbe two centuries ago provided the basis for increased efforts to spread the teachings of Chassidus and that in our own time we must similarly use the exultation of victory to increase the spreading of Chassidus beyond all restrictions and limitations.

The week of “Didan Notzach” came to a close with the Rebbe’s call for increased Torah study and careful attention to diligence and excellence.

It was during this period also that the third cycle of Rambam study, for those who study three chapters a day, concluded, as well as the first cycle for those who study one chapter a day and the new period of study began. The Rebbe used this opportunity to deliver a Siyum (conclusive discourse) on the Rambam and compare the divergent views on the time of the revelation of Eliyahu the prophet as harbinger of Mashiach.

As in previous volumes we have also included the translation of two Yechidus audiences which the Rebbe held with guests and families celebrating happy occasions.

The subject of Chabad Houses and mini-sanctuaries was an important theme again during this period and the Rebbe stressed this theme again in his talks associated with Purim. He also urged his followers to act in a manner which will bring honor to the “Moshe” of our generation and to Lubavitch.

This too is our goal, and through the spreading of the fountains of Chassidus we hope to attain our objective.

Sichos In English

24 Teves, 5750
40th Year of Nesius of the Rebbe