1 The 1st day of Rosh Chodesh2 Adar II

אַאַמוּ"ר אָמַר: אַ חָסִיד מאַכט אַ סְבִיבָה. אוֹיבּ נִיט, דאַרְף עֶר גוּט אַ טאַפּ טאָן בּאַ זִיך אִין פּעֶקְל, וואָס טוּט זִיך מִיט אִיהְם אַלֵיין. אוּן דאָס אַלֵיין וואָס עֶר מאַכְט נִיט קֵיין סְבִיבָה — דאַרף אִיהְם צוּבְּרעֶכעֶן וִוי אַ קִינעֶלעֶ (קֵיסָם). אוּן עֶר דאַרף פְרעֶגעֶן בַּא זִיך אַלֵיין: וואָס טוּ אִיך אוֹיף דעֶר וועֶלט?

My revered father, the Rebbe [Rashab], once said: “A chassid creates an environment. If not, he must carefully check through his own knapsack; he must examine his own spiritual state. The very fact that he is not creating an environment should crush him like a mere splinter. He should ask himself: ‘What am I doing in this world?’ “3

A Faithful Shepherd

In a letter written during the lifetime of the Rebbe Rayatz,4 the Rebbe tells of a young man who had never studied in any yeshivah, Lubavitch or otherwise, but shared a vibrant connection with the Rebbe Rayatz. Destiny led this young man to a place that was, both physically and spiritually, far removed from Jewish life. Nevertheless, after a short time, men and women from that place began to seek a relationship with the Rebbe Rayatz.

Why? Because they “heard the young man say, straight from the heart, that the Jewish people have a Rebbe, who is not bound by the laws of nature, and that whoever wants to follow a secure path, whether in business or in his home life, should not raise a finger without first consulting him. [They] saw that the young man’s words reflected his inner feelings, because ‘words of truth are recognizable as such,’5 and asked that [their] questions be brought to the Rebbe’s attention.”

A person who is sincere in his beliefs naturally leaves an impression on those around him — especially when they are living in a spiritual vacuum, as is so often the case today. Conversely, if one fails to make a positive impression on one’s environment, this is a sign that his Torah learning has not touched his soul. Hence, as the above teaching recommends, it is time to focus inward.