By the Grace of G‑d
Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh
Parshas Nitzovim-Vayelech,
Elul 25,Shabbos-Slichos, 5744
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere, —

G‑d bless you all!

Greeting and Blessing:

Pursuant to the letter of Erev-Shabbos-Kodesh Chai Elul, first of all, beginning with the blessing of Kesivo vachasimo tovo for a good and sweet year — having now come still closer to Rosh Hashono, in the week of Slichos, with Rosh Hashono itself at its end and completing it —

It is appropriate to reflect a little more deeply on some of the points of the previous letter;

All the more so since everything that has to do with Yiddishkeit calls for delving into it in ever greater depths, everyone according to one’s capacity.

* * *

It was noted in the previous letter that Rosh Hashono is connected with the day on which man was created, and that immediately upon the creation of the first man (Adam), he, and the whole world with him, achieved perfect fulfillment through total submission to the Will of the Creator, as expressed in general in the declaration: “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before G‑d our Maker.” This self-surrender to the Sovereignty of Heaven in the first day of man’s creation established a basic general principle that was meant henceforth to permeate, and be implemented in, one’s entire life and conduct in every detail, as the way of achieving perfect fulfillment.

The said fundamental principle serves as a model and guide to every Jew, whose essential being is serving G‑d: “I was created to serve my Maker.” This Divine service begins every day with the declaration of Modeh-ani (“I thank You, Living and Eternal King,” etc.) — a personal total acknowledgment of G‑d’s Sovereignty, as a general fundamental principle that will subsequently inspire every activity and detail of his daily life with utmost dedication and humility. And through his daily activities, which are inevitably connected with all the “worlds” of the created order (inanimate, vegetable, animal, mankind), which support and serve him and thus become “partners” in his activities, he acts upon them in every detail and elevates them to share with him in the achievement of perfect fulfillment, bringing about the realization of the purpose of the entire Creation — “to make an abode for G‑d in the lowest world.”

This basic concept of the creation of the world and of the creation of man, which is also reflected in the Mitzvo of Bikkurim (“First Fruits”) detailed in the previous Sedra Ki Savo, as noted at some length in the previous letter, is even more deeply underscored in the beginning of the Sedra that was read this Shabbos — Nitzavim, and continues into its second part, the Sedra Vayelech.

* * *

The plain meaning of the Sedra is that as the Jews were about to enter the land (after 40 years in the wilderness), the Torah emphasizes that the preparation for it is to “stand firmly (“Nitzavim”) all together,” united by the strongest resolve, though in a general way, on the part of every Jew, man and woman, personally (note the change from the plural to the singular, L’ovrcho) to reaffirm the Covenant and Oath which G‑d has made with the Jewish people to the effect that Jews are “His people,” and HaShem is “Your G‑d.”

This general reaffirmation of the Divine Covenant on the eve of entering the land, was to be implemented subsequently in actual practice by everyone who was standing there, man, woman, and child, in every detail of all aspects of the everyday life, in the fullest measure, to achieve the highest degree of perfection. And, in keeping with the rule that “action is the essential thing,” namely, the actual performance of the Mitzvos of the Torah, the first section of our Sedra concludes on this very note: “to do all the ‘words’ of this Torah.”

In connection with Rosh Hashono — as already mentioned in the previous letter — “this day” (Hayom) refers to The Day, the well-known day of the Creation of the world, when the whole Creation was completed with the creation of man, the first Rosh Hashono. The central aspect of this day, of every Rosh Hashono, is G‑d’s request, “Make Me King over you.” This means accepting G‑d’s Sovereignty and, with it, the strong, though general commitment “to do all the ‘words’ of this Torah,” each and every day of the year, with the firm resolve of “standing all together” before G‑d, felt especially on Rosh Hashono, coupled with the sense of self-surrender and feeling of joy and inspiration associated with Rosh Hashono, the day of “Coronation” of the King of our people Israel, King of all the earth, and King of the World; then it is certain to be achieved throughout the year, each and every day, in actual deed, in every detail and in the highest degree of actual perfection.

Furthermore: Rosh Hashono is the day when every Jew crowns G‑d, so to speak, and attaches himself to HaShem, the “King and Redeemer of Israel.” Thus, knowing that he is acting under the prerogative of the King, in the capacity of one who enjoys royal status — “a royal servant is also royalty” — then all difficulties and obstacles in carrying out the King’s orders fall away, including the trials and tribulations in time of Golus, when “darkness covers the earth” —

[On the latter subject, we are cautioned in the subsequent verses of our Sedra as follows: “Inasmuch as you know how we dwelt in the land of Mitzrayim, and what we went through in the midst of the nations” — Canaan, Ashur, and others — “Who worshipped idols of wood and stone, silver and gold...” There might thus be among you, G‑d forbid, “a man or a woman, whose heart turn away” from the Jewish way of the Torah and Mitzvos. Comes the Torah and declares: On the contrary; seeing what had happened to those nations, and realizing that only “because of our sins have we been exiled from our land,” “and He cast them into another land, as this day,” that man or woman ‘‘will say in that day, It is only because my G‑d is not within me (our serving G‑d has not been perfect) that all these evils (of the Golus) — have come upon me!” This must bring out the real purpose of the Golus that “out of there (in the very darkness of the Golus) you will seek HaShem your G‑d and find Him. . . and you will return to HaShem your G‑d and hearken to His voice.”] —

Also in the plain meaning of the Sedra Nitzavim, namely, that they were standing ready to enter the Holy Land, etc. As mentioned above, there is an allusion to the spiritual symbol of the Holy Land: Wherever a Jew lives, he has to make a “Holy Land” in and of his personal life, and in the life of his family, in his home and in his surroundings, so that it will be clearly seen that here lives a Jew, and here walks a Jew, and there plays a Jewish child — the kind of life which is permeated with holiness and irradiated with G‑dliness, in full accord with G‑d’s request and promise: “Let them make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within them — within each one of them”

May G‑d grant that all the above reflections should increase still more everyone’s inspiration and self-dedication during the coming Rosh Hashono, especially in connection with the blowing of the Shofar, the special Mitzvo of the day, with all its meaningful teachings, particularly that of “Coronation” of the King, “accepting His kingship willingly,” with general, total commitment to carry out the King’s commandments with complete self-surrender, willingly and joyfully; as well as the reminder of Torah-Torah — to carry out “all the words of this Torah”;

That this general commitment be fully reflected in every detail of the everyday life throughout the coming year, and should further augment the blessings of the kesivo vachasimo tovothat HaShem — “my light and my help” — bestows upon every Jew in the midst of our Jewish people, “by the shining countenance of the Living King,” that it be a year of life and peace and all good, materially and spiritually;

Bringing the fulfillment of the promise of the “King and Redeemer of Israel” — in a manner of “immediate redemption” — the true and complete Geulo; and through the Jewish Geulo comes also the Geulo of the whole world, as it is written, “And kingship shall be G‑d’s (alone); and HaShem shall be King over nil the earth,” etc. As well as the fulfillment, in every detail and in the fullest measure, of the request “O G‑d be not quiet and do not rest” (until you take us out of Golus), to the time when “they will seek Your Name Hashem,” “and (nil the nations, the whole world) shall know” that You, Your Name, O G‑d, alone, reigns supreme upon all the earth” —

With the true and complete Geulo through Mashiach Tzidkeinu, who “will rebuild the (Beis Ha-) Mikdosh on its site... (and then) gather the dispersed Jews;... build the House of G‑d... as it is written ‘Let them make Me a Mikdash’... like the Mishkan that Moshe made, the edifice Shlomo built (and the second Beis HaMikdash was similar to the first)... and so the future edifice that will be built (by Mashiach) — of which is written, ‘My House shall be called a House of Prayer For All Nations.”

With esteem and blessing for Hatzlocho in all above, and for a Kesivo vachasimo tovo for a good and sweet year, both materially and spiritually,

[Signed: Menachem Schneerson]