By the Grace of G‑d
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greeting and Blessing!

…The founder of the Chabad movement, the Old Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the Tanya and (Rav’s) Shulchan Aruch, shared his house with his oldest married son, Rabbi Dov Ber (who later succeeded him as the Mitteler Rebbe).

Rabbi Dov Ber was known for his unusual power of concentration. When he was engaged in study or prayer he was totally oblivious to everything around him.

On one occasion, when Rabbi Dov Ber was thus engrossed, his baby sleeping in a near-by cot fell out of his cradle and began to cry. Rabbi Dov Ber did not hear the baby’s cries.

The infant’s grandfather, the Old Rebbe, who was in his study on the upper floor also engrossed in his studies, did hear the baby’s cries. He interrupted his studies, went downstairs, lifted the infant, soothed it and replaced it in its cradle. To all this, the infant’s father remained quite oblivious.

Subsequently, the Old Rebbe admonished his son: “No matter how engrossed one may be in the most lofty occupation, one must never remain insensitive to the cry of a child.”

This story is transmitted to us from generation to generation for the lasting message which it conveys. In fact, it came to characterize one of the basic tenets of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement—to hearken to the cry of a child.

The “child” may be an infant in age, a minor or teenager, a Jewish boy or girl attending public school, fallen from the “cradle” of the Jewish religion, heritage and way of life.

Or it may be an adult in years, yet an “infant” with regard to knowledge and experience of the Jewish religion and heritage and way of life, as so many Jewish students on the campuses of colleges and universities, or other walks of life.

The souls of these Jewish “children” cry out in anguish, for they live in a spiritual void. They cry out for a guiding hand that would restore to them the security and warmth and comfort of their faith, and give meaning to their empty lives, whether they are conscious of it, or feel it only subconsciously.

We must hear their cries, no matter how preoccupied we may be with any lofty cause, for to help them back to their Jewish “cradle” takes priority over all else.

Humanity as a whole seems to have fallen out of its “cradle” too, crying out in fear of nuclear self-destruction, threatened to be engulfed by the dark forces of G‑dlessness and demoralization. Only a return to G‑d and to the Divine Laws of justice and morality can restore peace and security to the human race.

No one must be so wrapped up in himself as to remain insensitive to the situation around him. Everyone can do something in his own way, beginning with himself, his family and neighborhood. In the final analysis, the whole world is like one organism which, if sick in one part or limb, is sick all over; while contributing to the wholesomeness of one part contributes to the well-being of the whole.

(Excerpt, Secretariat)