1. The Sages of the Talmud commented1 “Open with a blessing,” i.e. that the first statement of any speech or public gathering should consist of a blessing. At Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai) the same principle was followed. Within the first commandment “I am the L‑rd, your G‑d,” the greatest blessings possible for the Jews and for the entire creation2 are to be found.

This blessing was given not only to the entire Jewish people as a collective entity, but to every single Jew individually. For that reason, the work Elokecha (your G‑d) is written in the singular. Each Jew experienced the Shechinah (Divine Presence) speaking directly and personally to him.3

To understand the meaning of the pronouncement “Anochi Hashem4 Elokecha,” “I am the L‑rd, your G‑d,” it is necessary to consider the various implications of the different Hebrew appellations describing G‑d. Each one of the names of G‑d refers to a different channel of divine energy, a different quality of G‑dliness.5 The name Elokim refers to G‑d’s omnipotence, and how He is the master of the world, the source of all energy and power. Hashem refers to G‑d’s transcendent qualities. “Anochi” (meaning “I am”) refers to G‑d’s essence which cannot be described and therefore cannot be limited by any name or letter.

The combination of the three terms together (and the use of the possessive form Elokecha (your G‑d)) results in the following interpretation: “Anochi and Hashem (the transcendent and infinite aspects of G‑dliness) become Elokecha”— the source of energy and power for every Jew. Every one of the Jew’s senses and powers, including those of deed and action, are in fact expressions of the transcendent attributes of G‑d “Anochi and Hashem.”

The intent of the above is to depict the situation of the Jew here in the physical world. Despite the progressive dimming, screening and condensation of the Divine energies, the source of a Jew’s energy and being is always rooted in “Anochi” and “Hashem.”

Even sin doesn’t alter this essential connection. A Jew can control (and therefore sin can affect) his thought, speech, and action. Even his intellect and emotion can be regulated and therefore affected by sin. However, the fact that Anochi Hashem is the source of his life energy and his essence cannot be changed or modified by6 any means.

Since not only the physical world, but the ten Sefiros and all of the spiritual realms as well were created for the Jewish people, the service of a Jew can affect the totality of creation, making this world (even its physical and material aspects) a dwelling place for G‑d.

Since the statement “Anochi Hashem Elokecha” (that Anochi and Hashem are a Jew’s source of energy and life) applies to each Jew individually, the Divine blessings will in turn be extended to every Jew, bringing even material blessing, as explained in the Parshah of Bechukosai.

2. The expression “Poschim ba’Brocha” — “Open with a blessing” is the title of the first letter in Iggeres HaKodesh (the fourth section of the Tanya). A pamphlet containing that letter, a Maamar written by the Alter Rebbe explaining the letter (which had never been published before), and other commentaries, were published immediately before the holiday of Shavuos.

The pamphlet was intended to be published on Lag BaOmer, but because of certain factors, the publication was postponed until Erev Shavuos. Since everything is guided by Hashgachah Protis,7 it is obvious that there is a direct connection between Shavuos and the concepts explained in the letter Poschim ba’Brocha.”

The connection appears on many levels, the most fundamental being the principle “Begin with a blessing” was also adhered to in the giving of the ten commandments (as explained above).

Moreover, the main body of the letter “Poschim ba’Brocha” focuses upon the importance and value of Torah. The letter begins “I have heard good tidings which have enlivened my soul and there is no good other than that of Torah — the complete and perfect Torah of G‑d — the good tidings being the completion of study of the entire Talmud in most cities and congregations of our followers,” The completion of study of the entire Talmud, involving the public study of Torah, is obviously related to Shavuos. (In addition, the expression the “complete and perfect Torah” can be seen as an allusion to the “seven complete and perfect weeks” of Sefiras HaOmer, the preparation for Shavuos.)

Therefore, it is appropriate to recognize and congratulate all of those individuals who were involved with publishing the pamphlet and also those who publicized it and spread its lessons to the public.

3. There is yet another connection between the pamphlet and Shavuos.

The letter, Maamar, and the other explanations constitute part of Pnimiyus HaTorah — the esoteric, inner realm of Torah study. The public dissemination of Torah secrets is particularly relevant to Shavuos, since Shavuos is also the Yahrzeit of the Baal Shem Tov. His unique distinguishing quality was expressed in his elucidation of the mystic secrets of Torah to even common and simple people.

No other figure in Jewish history, including Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, taught Torah secrets to the Jewish masses. True, Rav Shimon revealed Torah secrets, but only to a select inner circle of disciples. (Though he was involved with the common man, as evident from the statement “I can free the entire world from judgment,” still, he revealed Torah’s mystic teachings only to his inner circle. On the other hand, the Baal Shem Tov involved himself with, and taught Torah’s deepest secrets to, every Jew, even the untutored. (Even the Maggid, the Baal Shem Tov’s disciple and successor, did not follow this pattern. He himself was occupied predominantly with his students and disciples and did not teach Torah to the uninitiated.

4. The letter of the Alter Rebbe was his response to the good tidings he had heard concerning the completion of the study of the Talmud by the majority of his followers. His use of the expression — the good tidings enlivened my soul, was not mere eloquence, but rather a true expression of his feelings. His followers’ study of the Torah had such a profound effect on him that it literally enlivened his soul.

A Tzaddik is totally united with his Creator, so much so, that he no longer has a personal existence. He is no more than an extension of G‑dliness. As the Zohar comments, “Pnei Hashem,” “the face of G‑d” —”this refers to Rav Shimon.” Similarly, the Yerushalmi states,” ‘G‑d is in His holy sanctuary’ — this refers to Rav Yitzchok the son of Lozes.”

Torah is an expression of the very essence of G‑d, as the Talmud explains “the word Anochi (the beginning of the ten commandments) is an acrostic for the Aramaic words meaning, “I wrote down and gave over my soul.” A Tzaddik’s true existence centers on G‑dliness; therefore, just as Torah affects the very essence of G‑d, so, too, do good tidings concerning Torah study affect and enliven the very essence of a Tzaddik’s soul.8

The main thrust of the letter is to “make known to mankind the might of Torah (the Oral Torah) and its strength and power,” i.e., to stress the value of the study of the Oral Law. Within the letter, the Alter Rebbe elaborates on the need for Tefillah — (prayer) as a preparation for Torah study.

The basis of his explanation is the verse from Proverbs “She girds her loins with strength.” The Alter Rebbe interprets “loins” as a metaphor for the quality of faith. In a spiritual sense, the quality of faith parallels the function of the loins, “the faculty which supports the entire body.” However, the power of faith itself was to be “girded with strength.” Strength refers to Torah, the study of which fortifies and sustains a Jew’s faith, enabling it to be expressed with feelings of love and awe.

“The time for the fortification of the arms and head is the time of morning prayer,” i.e., proper concentration during Tefillah is necessary as a preparation for Torah study. In order to emphasize this concept, when quoting the above verses from Proverbs, he departs from his normal pattern and mentions the name of the verse’s author, King Solomon.9

King Solomon was a living example of how Tefillah can affect and change the totality of one’s being. The Torah relates how Solomon had a dream and a vision of G‑d. In the dream, he prayed to G‑d for wisdom, explaining that he was but a youth, but now as king, he was responsible to judge the Jewish people. G‑d answered his Tefillah and granted him wisdom.10 His prayer in the dream11 was able to arouse G‑d’s will and effect blessings.

Those blessings were so great that King Solomon became renowned for his wisdom. As the Torah relates, “Solomon was wiser than all the men on the face of the Earth.” His knowledge was so great that the Midrash relates that only the concept of the Red Heifer eluded his grasp. However, these qualities came to him only as a result of Tefillah. Since in the letter, the Alter Rebbe intended to convey the importance of prayer as a preparation for Torah study, he mentioned King Solomon by name to further illustrate the concept.

Another link exists between the letter and King Solomon. As mentioned above, King Solomon’s wisdom was used for the most part to deal with the practical legal judgments of the Jewish people. The application of Torah study to “Piskai Dinim” concerning everyday realities is the highest degree of study of the Oral Law. As mentioned above, the Alter Rebbe stressed the study of the Oral Law in the letter and mentioning King Solomon12 by name gave that concept added emphasis.

5. Developing the concept further, a connection can be found between King Solomon and the holiday of Shavuos. The relationship of Shavuos to Moshe, King David, and the Baal Shem Tov has been elaborated upon on many occasions. However, until now King Solomon’s connection to Shavuos has been unexplored.

The connection is illustrated as follows: King David passed away on Shavuos. The Midrash relates that he had asked G‑d on which day of the week he would die. G‑d answered him that he would expire on Shabbos. Upon hearing that, King David petitioned Him to allow him to die on Erev Shabbos. G‑d refused, explaining that “one day of your Torah study is worth more to Me than a thousand burnt offerings which your son Solomon will sacrifice on the altar.” Having received that response, King David asked to die on Motzaei Shabbos. G‑d again refused, explaining that “the time for Solomon to rule has already come and one kingship should not encroach upon another.” From that Midrash we can appreciate the existence of a connection between King Solomon and the holiday of Shavuos.

King Solomon’s reign was distinguished by a complete fulfillment in all affairs, as the Midrash comments, “In his days, even the moon was full.” (This refers to the fact that his was the 15th generation after Abraham.) May it be G‑d’s Will that we be similarly blessed. However, in order to insure that blessing, the advice given in the Iggeres HaKodesh which “makes known to mankind the might of the Oral Law and its strength and power” should be followed.

Practically, this means adding to one’s study of the Oral Law in the manner described in the letter “May G‑d grant and continue to strengthen their hearts among the mighty,” i.e., adding to one’s own study and also spreading Torah among one’s students (and inculcating the students to the degree that they themselves develop further students). At that point I will consider a report of those activities —’good tidings which will enliven my soul.’ May all of the above be carried out in the manner of Torah Or (the light of Torah), a manner of clear and open revelation, and then “we will rejoice and find life in the light of the King’s countenance.”

6. In the Maamar, it was explained how Matan Torah transformed the nature of divine revelation. Anochi and Hashem, the transcendent aspects of G‑dliness, became Elokecha — the energy and strength of a Jew on the physical plane. Even the powers of deed and action can be affected by these divine energies.

Consequently, through observing a Jew’s activity, the effect of these divine influences can be appreciated. It is possible to recognize an individual’s nature by observing his work.(Chassidus relates how the Maggid of Mezritch once looked at a vessel and was able to detect that it was made by a man who was blind in one eye.) Similarly, by watching a Jew’s behavior, it is possible to become aware of the G‑dly energies motivating him.

That state of consciousness brings about the realization of how a Jew’s service brings about a Dirah b’Tachtonim, the transformation of this world into a dwelling place for G‑d. The physical world becomes G‑d’s dwelling place and there His essence is revealed.

The same concept is paralleled in Torah study. The essence of the Torah and its original intent is revealed through the derivation of an applicable law. Chassidus (particularly the Maamarim of Samech Vav) explains in great detail how the knowledge that a Halachic decision will be carried out has an effect on Torah study. The entire motive of the study changes. The individual will labor until he finds the interpretation that he is sure is correct. This process allows him to achieve new heights of understanding and scholarship.

The same pattern applies to Mitzvos. All the Mitzvos must be connected with deed. Even the Mitzvos which have to do with emotion, e.g., the command to love G‑d or to fear Him, have to physically affect a person’s body. His heartbeat has to change because of this love for G‑d.

Likewise, the commandments which are in the intellectual sphere — the knowledge of G‑d’s unity, etc. have to affect one’s brain. Experience has shown that when a person begins his Torah experience by performing Mitzvos, doing things, he becomes further stimulated and involved in all aspects of Yiddishkeit.

This point is brought out at the very beginning of the Talmud. The first Mishnah speaks about the requirement to read ‘Kerias Shema’ at night. Many commentators have questioned the rationale for such a beginning. The “Chiddushei HaRim” answered that the evening ‘Kerias Shema’ is generally the first Mitzvah a Bar Mitzvah boy fulfills. (He becomes Bar Mitzvah on the sunset of his 13th birthday and immediately afterwards recites ‘Kerias Shema’.) In order to stress the concept of action, this Mitzvah was chosen to begin the Talmud.13

7. The concept of Torah is connected to the theme which underlies the number 3, as the Talmud relates: “Three lights (Torah, Nivi’im, Kesuvim) were given to a three-fold nation (the Jewish people, who are made up of Priests, Levites, and Israelites) on the third day (the third day of preparation) in the third month (Sivan, which is the third month when counting from Nissan).

Similarly, the third day of creation was also uniquely distinguished. The expression “and G‑d saw that it was good” was repeated a second time, in contrast to all the other days of creation. The Talmud, when commenting on the repetition explains that the two expressions imply two different types of good. Tov LaShamayim (literally, “good towards Heaven, “referring to the Jew’s relationship with G‑d) and Tov LaBrios (“Good to the creations,” generally referring to the relationship between man and man, and in a larger sense, between man and the world.

Since Shavuos is intrinsically connected with the number 3 and is also identified (as mentioned above) with 3 unique figures in Jewish history, Moshe Rabbeinu, Dovid HaMelech, and the Baal Shem Tov, it is possible to find within their lives exemplifications of the behavior of Tov LaShamayim and Tov LaBrios.

This behavior is evident in the very beginning of their lives: Regarding Moshe Rabbeinu, the Torah relates that “as soon as he was born, his mother “saw that he was good.” The Midrash interprets that statement as meaning that with his birth, “the whole room was filled with light,” i.e., from the beginning of his life he was Tov LaShamayim.

As he grew, he demonstrated his quality of To LaBrios, as emphasized by his first activity recorded in the Torah: “he went out to his brothers and saw their affliction.” At that time, the Jews were suffering under hard labor and severe persecution as explained in the Torah narrative. It would have been easy for Moshe, raised in the palace of the king and acquainted with the highest Egyptian social order, to forget about his Jewish identity. Instead, he “went out to his brothers” and even risked his own life to protect a fellow-Jew.

Dovid HaMelech, too, even as a youth, risked his life for the sake of Tov LaBrios by accepting the challenge of Goliath. The acceptance of the challenge itself, even without considering its positive outcome, was the greatest benefit possible for the Jews because it restored their national self-image and self-pride.

These attributes of Tov LaBrios were further emphasized by their occupations as youths. Both Dovid and Moshe were shepherds. After observing their care and kindness as shepherds, G‑d brought them to serve as shepherds of His people.14

The Baal Shem Tov likewise displayed the traits of Tov LaBrios. As the Previous Rebbe relates in the Memoirs, the Baal Shem, before revealing himself as a Rebbe, began his involvement with the Jewish people by helping Jews deal with their financial difficulties. He was able to influence the other Tzaddikim Nistarim to follow his pattern. (The year in which they adopted this decision, 5472, was entitled with the acrostic Tav, meaning “My blessings come to you.”)

Previously, it was mentioned that King Solomon is associated with the holiday of Shavuos. Therefore, the concept of Tov LaBrios is also apparent in his behavior. His reign was characterized by peace and prosperity. He was able to insure that each Jew could sit “under his vine and under his fig tree,” an unmistakable expression of Tov LaBrios.

May the emphasis on the connection of Shavuos bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy “on the third day he will raise us up (an allusion to Messianic times) and then join in worship in the third Temple15 speedily in our days.

8. As explained above, Matan Torah transformed the relationship between the Jews and G‑d (and therefore between G‑d and the world). At Mt. Sinai, each Jew felt that the Shechinah spoke to him individually and proclaimed “Anochi Hashem Elokecha” – Anochi and Hashem, G‑d’s transcendent energies are Elokecha, your strength and your power. Not only the Jews of that time, but all the souls of all time experienced such a revelation and transformation of their nature.

Torah is described as Torah Or — the Torah of light, i.e., it is a medium of revelation. Therefore, the effects of Matan Torah on a Jew’s behavior should not have to be accepted by faith alone, but should be obvious and apparent to any observer.

This statement is intended to be taken as a practical demand for everyone to involve themselves in activities, particularly the ten Mivtzaim, which openly demonstrate the above truths, beginning with the Mivtza of Chinuch (intrinsically connected to Shavuos, when the Jewish people were educated as a collective entity). Two particular aspects of Matan Torah serve to demonstrate its relation with Chinuch: a) One of the most fundamental principles of educational theory is to expose the child to more light and more powerful influences in the first stages of instruction. A similar pattern was followed at Mt. Sinai, where there was thunder and lightning, smoke, fire, etc.16 b) When G‑d asked the Jewish people to provide guarantors before He gave the Torah, He was not satisfied until the Jews offered their children. His gift of the Torah was made conditional to the perpetuation of Jewish education among the children.

From the Mivtza of Chinuch, it is necessary to proceed to Ahavas Yisrael, which is also particularly related to Shavuos. The Jews accepted the Torah, the Talmud explains, because G‑d, as it were, “hung a mountain over their heads.” Chassidus interprets this statement to mean He revealed his overwhelming love for the Jews to the degree that they had no choice but to respond with love and accept the Torah. All the three loves: the love of G‑d, the love for the Torah, and the love for one’s fellow Jew are in fact one, representing an indivisible 3-fold bond. Therefore, the revelation of love for G‑d and love for the Torah on Shavuos is also connected with love for one’s fellow Jew.

Activity should follow in the other Mivtzaim: Mivtza Torah, Mivtza Tefillin, Mivtza Mezuzah, Mivtza Tzedakah, Mivtza Bayis Malai Seforim, Yavne V’Chochamecha.

This activity should spread to the three Mivtzaim specifically intended for women — Mivtza Nairos Shabbos Kodesh, Mivtza Kashrus, and Mivtza Taharas Hamishpachah. (The service of Jewish women is particularly related to Shavuos. Before Matan Torah G‑d told Moshe, “Speak to the House of Jacob (interpreted by our Sages to mean the Jewish women, and only afterwards) tell the children of Israel (referring to the men).)

And through carrying out the service of 3, the three lights, the three-fold nation, the third month, etc. may we merit the revelation of the third Temple and Messianic redemption speedily in our days.

9. It is difficult to understand why in the Ten Commandments, not the slightest mention is made of Torah study. The commandments mention the fundamentals of fait:, and of moral behavior but omit the concept of Torah study entirely.

Torah never omits essential concepts. The reason no mention was made of Torah study was because, then and there, during the giving of the Ten Commandments, the Jews were involved in an act of Torah study. No command was necessary, as the very giving of the Ten Commandments was predicated on this concept.

However, learning should not be only an intellectual process, but it should also affect deed and action. Therefore, in the Ten Commandments, 620 letters were used, teaching the Jew the importance of the 613 Torah commandments and the 7 commandments of the Rabbis. Likewise, the Ten commandments were divided into two tablets, the first stressing the importance of the service of Tov LaShamayim, and the second, Tov LaBrios.

As mentioned above, Matan Torah began with blessing, informing a Jew that the source of his energies is G‑d’s transcendent powers. This implies a blessing not only for the Jewish people, but for the totality of creation, since all blessings are dependent on a Jew’s service in Torah and Mitzvos.

(The effect of a Jew’s Torah service on creation can be seen in the Talmud’s statement: “until Matan Torah the world was in a state of turmoil, and Matan Torah brought the world to stability.” This concept has a practical, Halachic application. Matan Torah charged each Jew with the responsibility to help bring the world to stability and order. Every Jew is required to teach non-Jews their seven Mitzvos which ensure the preservation of the natural order.)

Every individual’s fulfillment of his Torah service will bring about success in all affairs, even in dealing with his physical needs, remembering, as the Rambam explains, that the purpose in seeking material possessions and physical comforts should not be selfish, but rather to allow for the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos without difficulty.

May this service usher in the Messianic era when “physical pleasures will be as abundant as dust” and “the world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover up the ocean.”

10. Generally, it is customary to hold an assembly dedicated to Torah scholarship on Isru Chag (the day after Yom Tov). Such an assembly is particularly appropriate after Shavuos. The following discussion, focusing on a practical Halachic question, is intended as my contribution to that gathering.

The issue at question is of particular relevance at the present time. In the ensuing weeks, when schools are closed and the economy not as high-pitched, many activities, which were previously postponed, can be carried out. Among these activities are medical treatments and operations.

However, though these operations are often scheduled months in advance, no consideration is paid to the day of the week on which the operation is scheduled.

Recently a similar matter involved myself. Someone had scheduled an operation a few months in advance. He wrote a letter seeking a blessing that the operation be successful and asking me to mention him at the Ohel of the Previous Rebbe. Within the letter, he mentioned that the operation was scheduled for a Friday.

I replied that I would fulfill his request immediately (even though the operation was scheduled a few months later) but added that I felt it my obligation (and also my privilege) to inform him of a clear Psak Din in the Torah (which implies that a Jew is forbidden to schedule in advance an operation for Friday).

The Shulchan Aruch prohibits departing on a ship less than 3 days before the onset of the: Sabbath. That prohibition was enacted because traveling on a boat generally demands a certain adjustment period. Unless a person has already been on the boat for three days, he cannot fully enjoy the Sabbath. He is still physically disturbed and upset. To insure that the mood of joy and rest appropriate to the Sabbath is preserved, the Shulchan Aruch prohibits travel unless a proper period of adjustment, 3 days has been allowed.

The same law, and with greater severity, seems to apply to someone entering a hospital for an operation. Generally, his entrance to a hospital is accompanied by tension and uneasiness (even to a greater extent than traveling on a boat, where he doesn’t feel a threat to his life and health). Particularly when, in most hospitals, your own clothes are taken away, your eating habits are modified, your visiting hours are limited, etc. there is a great deal of aggravation.

Furthermore, when departing on a ship three days prior to Sabbath, only one person’s Sabbath rest is disturbed. However, in the case of entering a hospital and undergoing an operation, not only the individual himself, but his whole family as well become disturbed. Therefore, it would seem clear that according to Shulchan Aruch, it would be necessary to enter the hospital and undergo the operation at least three days before the Sabbath, to allow for the proper spirit of rest and relaxation on Shabbos.

A further and more serious complication also may arise. The above comparison to departing on a ship concerned only the aspects of the Sabbath connected with the positive commands of rest and enjoyment. However, an operation which takes place Erev Shabbos generally involves Chillul Shabbos, transgression of the Sabbath prohibitions, as well. Even if the operation is totally successful, it is almost inevitable that check-ups will have to be made which involves: a) writing down notes, and b) taking blood samples. Both of these are Torah prohibitions.

Even if he himself does not perform these activities, but as the Talmud explains concerning cutting Payos, that both the person that is cutting and also the one whose hair is being cut (if he voluntarily allows) are considered to have sinned. Similarly, when one gives one’s hand for blood to be: taken out (or even more so when he prepares a urine specimen for the doctor, the result of which are to be written down), he is breaking the Sabbath laws.

(Especially in the U.S. and other places, where many doctors and other members of the medical profession are Jewish and are likely to be involved in the activities which transgress the Sabbath laws.) Therefore, if the operation is called for Shabbos (or even Thursday or Friday), it is almost inevitable that the Sabbath laws will be broken. Although one might argue that the tests are necessary and concern Pikuach Nefesh, saving a Jew’s life, that argument applies only after the operation has taken place. Since, in the case under consideration, the operation could be scheduled to avoid breaking Sabbath laws), the obligation lies on every Jew not to place himself into a situation in which he will be forced to break Sabbath laws because of Pikuach Nefesh.

If the situation is so serious, the question arises “Why have even Torah-observant Jews ignored the law until now?”

However, quite often, habit becomes the dominant force in human behavior. One does many things without thinking, just because one is used to doing things in this manner.

Since, in previous generations there was no concept of making an appointment for an operation, Jews then rightfully disregarded this point; however, as mentioned above, this became habit and it was not questioned later on when appointments did become possible. Then the medical profession was not sophisticated enough to detect the early stages of an infection. A doctor dealt with acute problems of immediate necessity.

In such a case, there is no question of the propriety of an operation or of tests; Pikuach Nefesh supersedes all of the Torah prohibitions, including Sabbath laws. In such a case, an operation could have been made on the Sabbath itself, not to mention before Sabbath.

However, today, when medicine has “processed” and the need for an operation can be appreciated far before it becomes an immediate necessity, different laws apply. If an operation can be postponed a number of months for financial reasons, it is also possible to postpone it a number of days for the sake of the holiness of the Sabbath.

A parallel situation arose a few years ago concerning the operation of the Israeli owned slips on Shabbos.17 Anyone familiar with the operation of the ship understands that it is impossible for an ocean-liner to travel without breaking Sabbath laws. However, even many Torah-observant people traveled on those ships, even though Shulchan Aruch obviously forbids it.

How could such a mistake occur? Also through force of habit. For many centuries; there was never a question of traveling on a Jewish ship on Shabbos. Even if the ship’s owner was Jewish, he would have sold the ship before Shabbos. The concept of a Jewish ship, with a Jewish captain, and Jewish crewmen, did not enter anyone’s mind. Therefore, they were not conscious of the law.

The same applies in the situation described above, the general public’s lack of awareness does not affect the law. On the surface, there is no way Shulchan Aruch would permit an operation to be scheduled less than 3 days before Shabbos. Even if an individual might disagree and find certain opinions which might tend to be more lenient, the operation should not be held. The Talmud explains that a person in a dangerous situation should be extremely careful in performance of Mitzvos, go beyond the letter of the law. If so, before an operation, when G‑d’s blessings are obviously necessary, strict attention should be paid to the Sabbath laws.

There is a great need to publicize this law, particularly since it is relevant to the ensuing summer vacation. The more people who, know about (and therefore take appropriate action concerning) this question, the easier it will be to leave the hospitals agree to postpone the operation.

(An added benefit will accrue from postponing the operation. During the weekend, the experienced doctors rarely work and the follow-up details of the operation are relegated to assistants. If the operation is held at the beginning of the week, the patient will enjoy the attention of the head doctor for the totality of his treatment.)

Since America is a country where “the customer is always right,” if people care seriously about the Sabbath, they will be able to postpone the operation.

May it be G‑d’s Will that we all be healthy and that the above discussion be theoretical and not have to be practically applied.

As the verse reads, “Heal us G‑d, and we shall be healed” — a blessing particularly appropriate for Shavuos, since Torah is called Refuah, healing.

11. As mentioned before, in the: new pamphlet a Maamar from the Alter Rebbe was published for the first time. Likewise, a number of other Maamarim and texts from the Alter Rebbe have just recently been discovered.

Among them is the first chapter of the Tanya. Within that manuscript there are certain variations from the Tanya we have now. Entire chapters (30, 32) are missing. Words are charged. Instead of calling the chapters “Perekim” (chapters), they are called “Simanim” (paragraphs).

Even though the Tanya was later edited and published, the publication of the first draft would be valuable. By comparison of the two texts, it will be possible to see the choices the Alter Rebbe made in the editing of the final text (and therefore one can gain increased understanding of that text).

If the question arises: if such study is important, why wasn’t the text published before now? That question can be answered by one’s observation of the pattern of. the Rebbe Rashab and the Previous Rebbe, who began publishing as much Chassidus as possible. And if the question still remain, may that be the biggest question remaining to deal with.

12. It is customary during a Shavuos Farbrengen to mention the three study sessions shared by everyone: ChitasChumash, Tehillim, and Tanya. These three texts are connected with the three central figures of Shavuos: the Chumash with Moshe Rabbeinu, Tehillim with King David, and Tanya with the Baal Shem Tov (since Chabad Chassidus is a continuation of the Baal Shem Tov’s Torah, relating within the context of intellect the spark of. Chassidus generated by the Baal Shem Tov). May the wellsprings of the Baal Shem’s Torah spread forth until, through this service, the Mashiach will be revealed speedily in our days.