David T. Chase

June 24, 1981

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
770 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11213

Dear Rabbi,

I am in receipt of your letter dated 12 of Nissan, 5741. After reading the text of the letter, I was over whelmed by a feeling of joy, pride and humility.

Your reference to our special relationship, your request for a birthday gift, had a most profound effect on me, and I hasten to report to you that I proceeded to put on Tefillin in my morning prayers the very next day.

Since this occasion will no doubt change my whole course of life, I will beg your forgiveness for being presumptuous in requesting a birthday present of you.

I will be most honored and privileged if you should obtain for me, through your auspices, three sets of Tefillin. One which I will use in my northern home, one for my southern residence and one (a small set) to carry while traveling.

Since I am asking for a gift and yet I do not want to deprive someone from a material necessity which he or she may need much more than I do, I will include with this letter, and with your permission, a check for $1800. The $1800 is “Chai,” and references my prior statement of a new direction in my life.

Your letter was read and re-read by me several times, and two things came to mind. One, the biblical statement by our forefather who uttered the comment of ידעתי בני ידעתי1 which I interpret to mean that not only did our forefather direct his thoughts to the recipient of his comment, but he also knew well the person he was talking to.

My spontaneous response to your request paralleled this biblical episode and my comment of “ידעתי אבא ידעתי” (please forgive my presumptuousness).2

My second thought and again, for the third time, I will beg your forgiveness for my presumptuousness, is purely in the form of a question which, if you would be kind enough, I would like an answer to.

Your letter is composed in two parts. One part makes reference to your blessing on occasion of Yom-Tov Pesach, and for which I and my family are most grateful.

The second part consists of a P.S., which makes reference to your request of a birthday gift and to my putting on Teffilin. If I may paraphrase your letter, that “the putting on of Tefillin is as our Sages said that the whole Torah was compared to it, the Mitzvah of putting on Tefillin on the left arm, facing the heart, and on the head, the seat of the intellect, has the special Divine quality of purifying the heart and the mind, emotion and reason, and bring them into the proper balance and harmony.”

In my humble opinion, then, the second part of your letter has much greater significance than the first part. Why then was that portion which carried so much substance included under P.S. rather than at the first portion of the letter?

Dear Rabbi, I am dictating this letter on the third day of my putting on Tefillin, and I guess perhaps that my curiosity in prying into what could be just pure circumstance is looking to an intellectual or preconceived reason, and based further on the statement in your letter that the head, the seat of the intellect, has the special Divine quality of purifying the heart and the mind, emotion and reason, is instrumental in my asking these questions.

In conclusion, I am most grateful for your letter and I will do my best not to overlook putting on Tefillin in the future.

May the Al-mighty bless you with continued good health and well being and may you continue to spread wisdom, kindness and goodness to your constituency,

Gratefully yours,

David Chase