The guiding philosophy and modus operandi of Sichos In English since its inception has been to present the talks and discourses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to the broad English-speaking Jewish public. To the best of our abilities we have succeeded through the years, in translating and publishing the Sichos of the Rebbe within a fortnight of the Farbrengen at which they were delivered.

When an entire year of Sichos is completed we then set about to publish the volumes of Sichos In English that contain all the Farbrengens held during that period of time. These volumes have appeared regularly for the past ten years. During this decade on several occasions, we have had to postpone the publication of several volumes. Postpone but not forget.

The publication of volume 17 is witness to our ongoing commitment to our mandate, to bring the teachings and philosophies of Chassidus as expounded by the Rebbe to the ever widening community of interested and committed English-speaking Jews who thirst for authentic Jewish learning.

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.

The period covered in this volume begins on the 13th of Nissan, the yahrzeit of the Tzemach Tzedek and concludes with the Farbrengen held on Erev Rosh Hashanah, which is the day on which the Tzemach Tzedek was born. All of the Farbrengens held during that period are covered in this volume.

During this period the Rebbe had the opportunity to speak several times to gatherings of children, at the Lag BaOmer Parade, at Tzivos Hashem rallies and to the campers of the local day camps and overnight camps. During Pesach the Rebbe urged the children to undertake signing a petition that would be sent to the President of the U.S.A. asking for a “moment of silence” in public schools, and for the government to extend aid to Yeshivos. Just before Shavuos he reminded everyone of the importance of bringing all the children to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments in Shul on Shavuos. At a children’s gathering after Shavuos the Rebbe spoke in Russian for the sake of the children of Tzivos Hashem in the U.S.S.R. and he told them that their observance of Torah and mitzvos despite the difficulties involved would speed the redemption.

In his talk to the campers on the second day of Elul and the 21st of Elul the Rebbe urged the children to foster the attribute of honesty and truth in spite of the negative attempts of the yetzer hora, and to remember that during Elul “the King is in the field,” very close to each and everyone. This is so even when a person is not actually performing mitzvos. He also directed each child to have a Siddur, Chumash and pushkah of his/her own.

The Rebbe also used several opportunities to address the women on vital issues of the day and in his talk to the annual N’shei convention he stressed the overwhelming importance of large families and categorically rejecting the idea of “family planning.” He urged women to use their innate talents to strengthen Jewish education, etc. He again elaborated on the subject of the woman’s role in Jewish education in his address to the young ladies — the graduates of Bais Rivkah and the staff members of the various girls camps. In his annual pre-Rosh Hashanah address to N’shei uBnos Chabad the Rebbe also touched upon the role of women in the mitzvah of Hakhel.

The theme of spreading Yiddishkeit and Torah to far off places of the world was discussed by the Rebbe in the context of the story of the spies sent by Moshe to reconnoiter the land.

The plight of Russian Jews was alluded to in the context of a discussion of the role of the U.S. Government in arranging the liberation of the Previous Rebbe — and the Rebbe urged the present administration to use its influence in a quiet way to bring about the emigration of more Soviet Jews.

Several Sichos dealt with the importance of Tzedakah and the significance of making pledges to charity all through the year. The Rebbe explained why the fund-raising-Melaveh-Malkah has become popular in America in the context of the special significance of Tzedakah for American Jewry and for this generation in particular. As in the past we have included several communal letters issued by the Rebbe for special occasions.

It is with a special sense of pride and awe that we publish Volume 17 on Yud Shevat, 5749. The Gematria of 17 is Tov — good — and on Yud Shevat this year we enter the fortieth year of the Nesius — the leadership of the Rebbe No doubt many of the Rebbe’s works will be published during the coming year and we are proud to be among the first to usher in this new era with the publication of Volume 17 — Tov of the Sichos of the Rebbe in English.

There is a well-known answer given by the Rebbe Rashab to an individual who at Yechidus said that he wanted to be bound (Mekushar) to him: “All hiskashrus is through the study of Torah. Study the Chassidus which I expound and you will become Mekushar.” Sichos In English provides a venue through which a Chassid may become mekushar to the Rebbe.

In the coming weeks — on the 22nd of Shevat — we will observe the first yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, the Rebbe will conclude the year of mourning. It is our prayerful wish that this will usher in a time of true gladness and joy and that we will see the fulfillment of the prophecy: “Arise and sing, you who dwell in the dust...” and the Rebbe will lead us to greet our righteous Mashiach, speedily and truly now!

Sichos In English

10th Day of Shevat, 5749
40th Year of Nesius of the Rebbe