…In1 the2 well-known Epistle 27 in Iggeres HaKodesh, written to offer redoubled consolation to “the smitten, who are sighing and groaning,”3 the Alter Rebbe writes that a tzaddik4 “leaves over life… to every living being, that is, to the soul of every living being who is bound to his soul…, in each and every individual, corresponding to the degree of his genuine bond [with the tzaddik] and his true and pure love of him.”

It is explained in Inyan HaHishtat’chus5 that “even as to those who did not know or recognize [the tzaddik] during his actual lifetime but only studied the holy books that he left over as a blessing, and who bask in the radiance of his Torah teachings and are thereby invigorated in their service of G‑d,… it is certain that they too are called his disciples,… for they believe in that tzaddik and from him they receive the light of his Torah teachings;… the branches are drawn back to their roots.”

So, too, my late revered father-in-law the Rebbe [Rayatz] explained in a letter6 that [a chassid] “is able to satisfy his strong desire for a bond [with his Rebbe] only by studying the maamarim of Chassidus which the Rebbe delivers or writes; merely beholding his face is not enough.”

Another letter7 states explicitly: “You ask, what does your bond with me consist of, since I do not know you by face…. True hiskashrus is attained by the study of the Torah. If you study my maamarim of Chassidus, read the sichos, associate with my friends (the members of the chassidic brotherhood8 and the temimim9) in their studies and in their farbrengens, and fulfill my request concerning the daily recital of Tehillim10 and the observance of fixed times for Torah study, — in this lies hiskashrus.”

When we will study the Torah teachings and the sichos [of the Rebbe Rayatz], and will walk in this “straight path which he has shown us,” then11 “ ‘as in water, face [answers to face: so is the heart of man to man’], and12 ‘spirit rouses spirit and brings forth spirit.’ For his Ruach13 remains truly in our midst…; that is, even in this world of action — [of which it is written],14 ‘This day: to do them’ — [the departed tzaddik] is found more [than in his lifetime].” And just as here he stood and dutifully served, there too he stands and dutifully serves….15

Menachem Schneerson