In 5712 (1952), chassidim knew that Yud-Alef Nissan was the Rebbe’s 50th birthday and had highlighted the day by increasing their study of the Torah and their gifts to charity. However, the Rebbe had never addressed them on that date, and there was no reason to think that practice would change. True, in answers given to certain individuals, there had been some hints that there would be something special that day, but nothing explicit had been said.

The Rebbe spent the day in prayer at the Ohel, the resting place of the Rebbe Rayatz. Upon his return, he asked to speak to three yeshivah students who were charged with organizing the review of chassidic teachings in other synagogues. Afterwards, he sent word that a select group of people — slightly more than 20 — should enter his room at 8:45 PM. When they did, he delivered the maamar entitled A-donai Sefasai Tiftach.

In preparation for the 60th anniversary of that event, we have prepared a translation of that maamar. To complement it, we have also included a translation of the maamar entitled Vayigash Eilav Yehudah delivered on Shabbos Parshas Vayigash, 5725 (1964), which focuses on the same fundamental themes, adding supplementary explanations and communicating related concepts. To provide a reader-friendly text, we have added connecting phrases and explanations to both maamarim, set off by square brackets. To further enhance the translation, the footnotes supply references and longer explanations.


The translation was a group effort, combining the talents of many individuals, including:

Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and Rabbi Sholem Ber Wineberg who translated the maamarim and added the explanatory notes;

Rochel Chana Riven, who edited the maamarim;

Rabbi Aaron Leib Raskin, who checked the authenticity of the translation and provided many of the references;

Uri Kaploun, who edited the Overview;

Yosef Yitzchok Turner, who designed the layout and typography;

Rabbi Yonah Avtzon, Director of Sichos In English, who coordinated all the details of the project.

The Ultimate Prayer

As Yud-Alef Nissan grows near, it is natural to feel an increased desire to bond with the Rebbe. How is that connection made? As the Rebbe Rayatz would say:1

True connection is attained by Torah study. When you study my maamarim of Chassidus, read the sichos, associate with my friends(the members of the chassidic brotherhood and the temimim)in their studies and in their farbrengens, and fulfill my request by reciting Tehillim and maintaining a regular study schedule, — this is what constitutes hiskashrus (bonding).

In that vein, it must be mentioned that the Rebbe singled out the maamar entitled A-donai Sefasai Tiftach when conveying blessings to the distinguished mashpia, R. Nissan Nemenov for his fiftieth birthday,2 indicating that he should study it.

Both of these maamarim focus on prayer, more specifically on the request that “G‑d open my lips and let my mouth relate Your praise” — that our prayers echo His prayers, as it were. What does G‑d pray for? In the words of our Sages:3

May it be My will that My mercies overcome My anger and My mercies overwhelm My [other] attributes [so that] I conduct Myself with My children with the attribute of mercy and treat them beyond the measure of the law.

May our prayers arouse G‑d’s mercies and hasten the granting of our prayer that “we behold Your return to Zion in mercy” with the coming of Mashiach. At that time, “those who repose in the dust will arise and sing,”4 and we will hear new teachings from the Rebbe.

Sichos In English

7 Adar, 5772 (2012)