By the Grace of G‑d
12th of Shevat, 5734 [February 4, 1974]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mr. Mordechai Shoel Landow

Greeting and Blessing:

I just received your letter of January 30th, which arrived in close proximity to Yud Shevat, the Yahrzeit of my father-in-law of saintly memory. To be answered later.

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Everything is, of course, by Divine Providence. However, sometimes this is not on the surface, and requires deep introspection, but at other times it may be right on the surface and even conspicuous. Such is the case in regard to your letter and its timely arrival on Yud Shevat. The immediate connection is, of course, the subject matter of your letter, which is Chinuch, and which, as you know, was the object of my father-in-law's greatest interest, to which he had dedicated all his life, to the point of actual Mesiras Nefesh. And, as my father-in-law often pointed out, the matter of Chinuch - education does not refer merely to children, but also to those who are "children" in regard to knowledge and experience of Torah and Mitzvoth. In other words, Chinuch must be directed to Jews of all ages, to bring them closer to their Father in Heaven. I emphasize the word closer, because basically every Jew is really close to G‑d, by virtue of his Divine soul which is part of G‑dliness Above, and as the Alter Rebbe underscored it Mamash. And even if by reason of external circumstances, the soul may be in a state of "sleep," or suspended animation, it is written, "Though I am asleep, my heart is awake." There is no need for me to elaborate this to you, since this is something which you have personally experienced in your own life long ago and in helping awaken others, and have shown that you could do this with real Mesiras Nefesh.

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I might add, however, that in evaluating the Mesiras Nefesh of my father-in-law of saintly memory, we can appreciate it better if we realize what it meant for a person like him to tear himself away from his own profound studies of Torah and spiritual matters, in order to give of his time, energy and attention so that one more Jew should be able to learn aleph-beis, in the plain sense, as well as aleph-beis of Yiddishkeit which many an adult Jew had to begin. I dare say that this kind of Mesiras Nefesh was perhaps even harder than placing his physical life in jeopardy for the sake of Yiddishkeit. For, surely, in the case of the Baal HaHilulo, his soul-life and constant striving for spiritual perfection was uppermost. Herein too we can find something which is of practical instruction to each and every one of us. For, as has been mentioned on previous occasions, although none of us can compare to his stature and spiritual qualities and powers, we have the advantage that he has already trodden the path for us, and made it so much easier to follow in his footsteps.

With blessing,
M. Schneerson