By the Grace of G‑d
The Sixth Day,
Erev Shabbos Kodesh
P. Tzav, Shabbos Hagodol,
11th of Nissan, 5743
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere

G‑d bless you all!

Greeting and Blessing:

With reference to the letter of Rosh Chodesh Nissan, in which were discussed several central aspects pertaining to the special lessons to be derived from the designation of the Yom Tov Pesach as Chag HaMatzos, Zman Cheiruseinu,

And considering the utmost importance of this Yom Tov as the first and “head” of all our festivals,

It is worthwhile to discuss at some breadth and depth some of the points touched upon in the said letter.

To begin with the concept of Chometz and Matza in spiritual terms, as mentioned there, Chometz (by the nature of leaven to rise and expand) symbolizes גאוה (haughtiness) and ישות(inflated self-importance), while Matza (the opposite of Chometz) symbolizes עניוות (profound humility), to the point of ביטול (self-effacement). Therein is also the teaching that Chometz is prohibited even in a משהו (minutest quantity), indicating that haughtiness and self-importance should be rejected completely; then, in a state of self-effacement, one can achieve true spiritual cheirus (liberation) in the fullest sense of Chag HaMatzos and Zman Cheiruseinu, and carry out in actual reality, in the fullest measure, the Divine mission that has been given to every Jew, man and woman, namely: I was created to serve my Creator;

As this concept was discussed in general terms in the previous letter.

From the above it follows that a person is required to bring forth and develop within the self two spiritual qualities:

On the one hand, the Torah — called Toras Chayim (guide in the everyday life) and at the same time also Toras Emes (truthfully) — demands that a Jew should manifest the utmost fortitude against all so-called secular influences which hinder the fulfillment of the purpose of his (her) creation (to serve G‑d through daily conduct in keeping with the Torah and Shulchan Aruch), to the point of “with all his might.”

On the other hand,. the same Toras Chayim and Toras Emes requires that he (she) should renounce any feeling of personal aggrandizement and self-importance, likewise to the point of total completeness, as expressed in the Torah ונחנו מה “we are nothing.”

The question thus begs itself: How can these two —apparently contradictory — qualities be reconciled and realized in the same person, at the same time, in the fullest (hence, equal) steadfastness and truthfulness?

Needless to point out, the answer to this question must be understandable and convincing to quite an ordinary individual, since both qualities are required of every Jew; and also the greatest of the great needs an explanation for this apparent dilemma, indeed even a deeper explanation, since the level of achievement expected of him is a higher one, corresponding to his stature.

* * *

The answer to this question is:

Inasmuch as the very essence of a Jew is connected with serving the Creator every day, every minute of his life, it being the basis and purpose of his creation, as mentioned — “I have been created to serve my Creator,” thus to bring G‑dliness into this world — it is self-evident that if anything in the secular world clashes with this service, a Jew must not, indeed — having been created to do this very service —cannot permit it to interfere in the slightest with his Divine mission. And he has the capability to do it, since he derives his strength from HaShem, the Creator and Master of the whole world.

Thus the Torah relates that this was actually the position of the first Jew, referred to as “one was Avrohom,” and holvn (the “Hebrew,” but literally, “of the side”), “from the opposite side,” meaning that Avrohom was on one side and all the rest of the world was on the other side. Yet, eventually he came out victorious, and accomplished all that he had to; and this quality of complete independence he bequeathed to each and every Jew for all posterity.

Therefore, when a Jew realizes that his whole essence and being is in his having been given the said Divine mission, together with the capability, unlimited strength, to carry it out, this realization must obviously be coupled with the thought that, “For myself alone, I am nothing”; that is to say, that in and by himself, were he to deviate in the slightest from his Divine mission, he would be “nothing.” Hence, the stronger his determination to carry out his Divine mission —through adherence to the Torah and Mitzvoth in the everyday life — the more resolutely must he reject any thought of selfishness, pride and self-importance.

In other words: When the above-mentioned two qualities (strength and self-effacement) are based on the one and only basis of “I was created to serve my Creator,” then, far from being incompatible, are, indeed, mutually complementary and affirmative.

* * *

So much for the said concept as it is understood intellectually and abstractly. However, when it comes to implementing it in actual behavior, there intrudes the factor of human nature, the nature with which the human being has been created, namely, that “habit becomes a second nature” (or, as it is sometimes formulated, “habit becomes nature”), as was also mentioned in the previous letter.

Human life, including Jewish life, is so arranged that a person devotes quantitatively more time and energy to activities — such as eating, drinking, working for a living, rest, and the like — in which one’s own personality is constantly accentuated, and in which one is involved in action, word, and thought, with emphasis on one’s personal capacities.

Moreover, even in matters of Torah and Mitzvoth, there is a considerable part which is connected with the requirement of Torah that one should utilize one’s capacities and abilities in the fullest measure, as it is written, “My entire being shall declare.” Thus, one is expected to be completely involved in Torah study, to work hard at grasping it intellectually, and to develop a (spiritual) taste and gratification in it.

Similarly, in the fulfillment of the Mitzvoth, including Tzedoko and Gemilus Chasodim (acts of benevolence), “which are as important as all the other Mitzvoth together.” While the highest merit in Tzedoko is giving it secretly (anonymously), it is to be done “with all your heart and with all your soul.” Moreover, in some instances it is necessary to invoke the Halacha that “It is a Mitzva to publicize (honor) those who do Mitzvoth,” particularly in cases where one attains thereby the category of “Give and induce others to give, too.”

To be sure, in all this a Jew begins each day with the declaration of Modeh Ani: “I acknowledge before You, King ...,” expressing his recognition that Hashem is not only King of the world, but also his personal King, in whose very Presence (“before You”) he is standing. Then, in the course of the day, he has regular periods of Torah study, studying G‑d’s Torah, and takes time out for the daily prayers, when he is aware “before Whom he stands,” etc. However, inasmuch as all these things are nevertheless — quantitatively — less than the totality of the mundane and secular aspects of the everyday life, all of which have an “admixture of Chometz” (vanity of personal achievement all by himself,) in them, it does lead to a Chometz-infected “second nature.”

Therefore, in order to forestall this, and indeed utilize this situation in the positive direction, it is one of the reasons why Toras-Chaim ordained an annual period of time in which Chometz is strictly forbidden in the ordinary sense, forbidden even in a משהו (minutest quantity), for the duration of seven, eight days consecutively, representing all the Sundays, Mondays, and all other days of the week throughout the year, to the extreme limit of being “neither seen nor present.” This emphatically impresses upon the Jew the imperative of eliminating “Chometz” in the spiritual sense, while fortifying oneself with “Matza” in the spiritual sense, until the inner concept of Matza — self-effacing submission to the Creator — becomes the sole basis of all his activities during all the days and weeks of the whole year round. At the same time, he utilizes all his capacities and knowledge, in the fullest measure and strength, in accordance with the said principle of “All my being shall declare,” with all the 248 bodily limbs participating in the Divine service of Torah learning, prayer, and the fulfillment of the Mitzvoth with Hiddur (excellence).

* * *

There is an additional instructive lesson to be derived from the linkage of Chag HaMatzos, Zman Cheiruseinu with the month of Nissan, the Month of Getilo — referring to liberation not only from bondage in Mitzraim of old, but also liberation now, from all forms of present-day “Mitzraim,” i.e. from all limitations and constraints, both from outside as well as within. The name of the month, Nissan, from the word נס (miracle) indicates that such liberation is not only within natural limitations, but in supernatural, miraculous proportions that transcend the limitations of nature.

The special instruction here is that if a Jew is determined to live up to the said principles, namely, to carry out his Divine mission from a position of utmost strength, “With all his being,” coupled with utmost humility, he is assured of finding extraordinary Hatzlacha (success) in this endeavor, immeasurably greater than in proportion to his input of effort. Our Sages of blessed memory, in their usual way of expressing profound principles in the form of a brief adage, expressed it in two words Yogato u’Motzoso, “Make the effort and you will find,” (Not merely “succeed”) as in the case of finding a precious article, where the gain is out of all proportion to the effort of bending and picking it up.

This supernatural Hatzlacha is especially connected with the month of Nissan, because in this month HaShem introduced miraculous Divine intervention in behalf of the Jewish people and all Jews in the process of liberating them from the Egyptian exile, when He also gave the assurance that whenever a Jew is determined to carry out a personal “Yetzias Mitzraim” in and around him, he receives G‑d’s aid in a supernatural way, “As in the days of your departure from the land of Egypt,” which was in the manner of ”Raising you up and out of... ,” The same idea is expressed in the Rabbinic saying: “A person sanctifies himself a little, and he is sanctified a lot (from Above).”

This is also alluded to in the Torah: “I ( G‑d) said, ‘You are angels, supernal beings, all of you!’“ It means that Hashem declares (which goes with granting ability) to all Jews that He has given everyone, man and woman, Divine powers to rise personally, and to elevate others, to the sublime level of “angels” and “supernal beings,” children of the Almighty; it only depends on one’s own will and determination.

* * *

May HaShem grant that everyone, man and woman, within the entire community of our Jewish people should make the necessary preparation and celebrate the Yom Tov of Chag HaMatzos, Zman Cheiruseinu as required, and in the fullest measure, which includes also to carry over and implement the teachings and instructions of this Yom Tov in each and all the days of the year, both in relation to oneself and one’s family, as well as in relation to the whole environment — by way of showing a living example and also by words coming from the heart. In this way, one fulfills, in the fullest measure, the proclaimed invitation: “Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat; whoever is in need, let him come and share Pesach with us” also in the spiritual sense, and all year round; meaning that anyone who is not yet fully committed to a life according to the teachings of the Yom Tov Pesach, receives the necessary encouragement and help to attain it;

The first step in this direction being that everyone, man and woman, “with our young and with our old,” especially all the children and every child, should be able to celebrate a Kosher and Joyous Pesach, both physically and spiritually,

And be prepared to welcome Moshiach Tzidkeinu with the true and complete Geulo, very soon in our own time.

With esteem and blessing for
Hatzlocho in all above, and for a Kosher and joyous Yom Tov,

/Signed: Menachem Schneerson/