The First Day of Selichos,
5710 [1950]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

It1 is explained in various sources in Chassidus2 that Rosh HaShanah is called the head of the year rather than the beginning of the year, because its relation to the other days of the year parallels the relation of the head to the torso and the other organs. Just as the vitality of all the organs is subsumed in the head, and this then finds overt expression in the fact that the vitality of every particular organ derives from the head,3 so, too, Rosh HaShanah comprises within itself the vitality of all the days of the forthcoming year: they are all subsumed in it in potential form, and eventually their vitality separates out overtly into individual days.

It may be assumed that this is one of the reasons for the fact that we have been earnestly urged to be exceedingly vigilant in husbanding time on Rosh HaShanah - for the hours and the minutes of these days are comprehensive; they are superior to those of the rest of the year not only in quantity4 but also in quality, like the brain tissue in comparison with the other physical organs.

A man is healthy when the vitality centered in his head is intact, and channeled to each organ according to its nature. The same is true of the avodah of Rosh HaShanah. These days should match their content, as the head of the entire year. Moreover, they should be connected with the ensuing days of the year, imbuing them with vitality in the acceptance of G‑d’s sovereignty, in the study of Torah and in the fulfillment of the mitzvos.

One of the aids to avodah in general, and in particular to the avodah of connecting Rosh HaShanah with the following days of the year, is - being connected with the head of the myriads of Israel, whose soul5 is like a head and a brain relative to the souls of his contemporaries: through him they derive their nurture and vitality, and through him they are bound and unified with their original essence and root.

This is the case with the hiskashrus of every man and woman amongst us with the Nasi and head of our generation, namely, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], (May I serve as an atonement for his resting place!). As he has stated clearly, hiskashrus is attained by studying his teachings, and6 by walking in a straight path, in one of his paths that he has shown us, and walking in his ways. It is this hiskashrus that will promote the avodah of the days of Rosh HaShanah7 and their connection with the rest of the days of the year.

This will constitute the conduit through which people will be inscribed and sealed for a good year, with8 good that is visible and manifest, both materially and spiritually - during the days of Rosh HaShanah and later throughout the entire year.

Menachem Mendel ben Chanah Schneerson