By the Grace of G‑d
Fourth Day of the Week of Emor...Veomarto,
Pesach Sheni, 5740
Year of Shemitah, a Shabbos unto G‑d.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

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

G‑d bless you all!

Greeting and Blessing:

As we are approaching the auspicious day of Lag B’Omer (“Hod sheb’Hod”), the day of rejoicing of the Tanna, Rabbi Shimon ben Yochoi (RaShBy) — of whom his teacher Rabbi Akiva said, “(Only) I and your Creator know your powers,”

Let us reflect on one point, at least, of the inestimable powers of Rashby — a point that is especially relevant even to the most ordinary Jew, and certainly to one of higher standing.

As is well known, Rashby had to hide in a cave for twelve years, then for yet another year, because of his uncompromising stand in preserving Yiddishkeit under Roman rule and persecution. When he finally regained freedom, one of the first things he set out to do was to inquire, “Is there anything that needs to be rectified?” Upon learning of such a situation, he immediately sets out to rectify it, though it only meant saving Jews the trouble of making a round about way. Yet, since it was a matter of concern to Jews, it deeply touches him, and he spares no effort and time until he actually remedies the situation.

Consider: After spending thirteen years in a cave, with only sand to cover his body, and finally emerging painfully scarred by his ordeal — how does he begin his free life? He goes out to inquire immediately what there is to rectify, and — true to the principle that “action is the essential thing” — he throws himself into the task and does not rest until it is accomplished.

Needless to say, no one can compare to Rashby, but since the above (Talmudic) account is part of Torah, Torah shebe’al Peh, and “Torah” means “instruction,” it is certain that every Jew has the capability to carry out the moral lesson of this account, too; namely, to act in the spirit and direction of it, and with assured success, all the more so since Rashby has shown the way and paved it for all of us.

If to do a Jew a favor materially — be it only to shorten the way for him to reach his destination — is such a great thing, how much more so is it to be able to show the way, and shorten the distance, in the spiritual sense, — “to the end that he may instruct his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of G‑d, to do righteousness and justice.” For it is the sacred duty of every Jew to walk in the way of G‑d and to bring up his children to follow in this way, and to do all he can to spread Yiddishkeit, Torah and Mitzvos; including the teachings of Rashby in his Sefer haZohar, Pnimius haTorah, which has a particular relevance to our generation awaiting the imminent footsteps of Moshiach, for “with this Sefer haZohar Jews will be delivered from the Golus with Divine mercy. “

* * *

And here we come to a further point connected with Rashby, which comes to light right in the beginning of the Preface to his work, the Zohar.

In the Beginning: Rabbi Shimon opened, ‘The blossoms have appeared on the earth,’ etc. What sustains the world ... is the voice of young children learning Torah, and because of them the world is saved...

In Torah-true education of Jewish children, the above two points of Rashby’s teachings converge and come to fruition. It calls for the utmost effort, until every Jewish child, boy and girl, is provided with the kind of education that will ensure their keeping the way of G‑d in the fullest measure, and passing it on to their children and children’s children. In the words of the Psalmist: “So we will tell Your praise (transmit Your heritage) to generation from generation” — to all the children of the present generation and to all the children of the next, and so on.

* * *

May G‑d grant that everyone should be actively involved in all the above, within the overall effort to spread Torah and Mitzvos, and do it with great joy. And the Zechus of Lag B’Omer, the day of Rashby’s rejoicing, and it was his wish that all Jews participate in his rejoicing, will surely stand everyone, man and woman, in good stead, to succeed in their efforts in matters of Torah and Mitzvos in general, and in the above matters in particular; and acting with joy and inspiration assures even greater Hatzlocho. Moreover, the Zechus Horabbim helps, too.

With esteem and blessing for much Hatzlocho,

/Signed: Menachem Schneerson/