By the Grace of G‑d
4th of Adar II, 5738 [March 13, 1978]
Brooklyn, N. Y.

Blessing and greeting:

Your letter of Jan. 29th reached me with some delay. I was pleased to read in it about your advancing in Yiddishkeit.

Since it is human nature that ambition grows with achievement, as our Rabbis express it, "He who has 100, desires 200, and (having attained) 200, desires 400," may G‑d grant that your achievements in Yiddishkeit should stimulate you to ever greater accomplishments in Torah and Mitzvoth. In addition to this being a must in itself, it is also a very practical way to fulfill the Mitzvo of V'Ohavto L'Reacho Komocho, being an inspiring example and influence to all around you.

Needless to say, when a Jew makes a firm resolution to live up to the Torah and Mitzvoth in the daily life, nothing stands in the way of the will, and there is the assurance "make the effort and you will succeed."

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The Zechus of the Holy Land will additionally stand you in good stead, in this and in all your needs.

At this time before Purim, I wish you a joyous and inspiring Purim, and may the inspiration of it be with you throughout the year.

With blessing,

P.S. Your using the term "modern orthodoxy" prompts me to make the following observation.

Although this term is frequently used, if you reflect on it you will realize the inner contradiction in terms. For, orthodoxy refers to a full commitment to a life regulated by the Torah, Toras Emes, and its Mitsvoth, by which Jews live, whereas "modern" implies a compromise and adjustment supposedly in keeping with "modern" ideas. But where truth is concerned, there can be no compromise or accommodation, for even 99% of truth is not the whole truth, and therefore not truth at all.

Needless to say, 99% is better than 98%, but one must not delude oneself in believing that it is the whole truth. Indeed, the Rambam rules that if a Jew accepts the whole Torah except one letter, he is deemed as if he denied the whole Torah. And one of the explanations of it is, as mentioned above, that truth and compromise are contradictory.

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The above does not mean that unless a Jew observes all the 613 Mitzvoth, he is not an observant Jew. Indeed, the Torah declares, "A Jew, though he has sinned, remains a Jew." It states further that no sinner is rejected, and eventually everyone who had strayed will return to the fold. What is emphasized above is that any thought that the Torah is in any way "outdated" and needs to be "modernized" that is heresy and a denial of the Divine origin and eternal nature of the Torah and Mitzvoth. There is surely no need to elaborate to you further on the above.