Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
770 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11213

By the Grace of G‑d
Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, 5741
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dr. David Tuvia Chase
Hartford, Conn.

Greeting and Blessing:

Many thanks for your letter of June 24, with enclosures. I should have acknowledged it immediately, except that I was waiting for the Tefillin, which are accompanied by this letter.

Needless to say, since the Tefillin are a gift, my first thought was not to cash the check. I decided, however, that when a Jew desires to give Tzedoko,1 he should be encouraged, not deprived of the Zechus2 of it. Accordingly, I have earmarked it for a sacred cause, as per enclosed receipt. May the Zechus of the Tzedoko bring you and yours additional blessings from HaShem3 in all your affairs, particularly in the matters about which you wrote with such heartfelt sentiments, of which more is no doubt contained in between the lines.

Now, to answer your question in reference to my previous letter, namely, why the Pesach blessings came first, and the subject of the Tefillin second, and in a P.S.

The answer, in plain terms, is that the subject of Pesach had precedence because of its specific timeliness. Moreover, it was entirely within my prerogative, whereas the matter of Tefillin was a request on my part and depended on your good will and resolve.

In a more significant sense (which will also explain the P.S. instead of a separate letter on such an important subject as you well recognize), the order corresponds to the Torah, where the Mitzvah of Tefillin is introduced in connection with, and following, the exhortation concerning the remembrance of Yetzias Mitzrayim4 and the annual celebration of Pesach. Thereupon the Torah declares: “And it (Yetzias Mitzrayim) shall be for a sign unto you on your hand and for a reminder between your eyes, in order that G‑d’s Torah be in your mouth; for with a strong hand HaShem brought you out of Mitzrayim" (Exod. 13:9).

In this section (Exod. 13: 1-10), which is one of the four Parshiyos5 contained in the Tefillin “houses,” the Torah emphasizes that although Yetzias Mitzrayim is to be celebrated annually in the spring month for seven days (eight in the Diaspora) as Chag HaMatzos,6 the event should be remembered every day in a tangible way, through the Mitzvah of putting on Tefillin. What is the connection?

As I mentioned briefly in my previous letter, it is explained in our sacred sources, especially in Chabad, that the putting on Tefillin stimulates the proper balance and harmony between the heart and the mind, emotion and reason. This is the way by which a person can overcome his natural constraints (his “inner Mitzrayim”7) – constraints which an imbalance between the emotional and intellectual faculties would further aggravate.

The terms “balance” and “harmony” imply a blend, not the exclusion of one or the other. Emotions uncontrolled could carry a person to extremes, while pure intellect is by nature completely detached and “cold,” lacking vitality. Only when the two are blended in the proper balance, the person attains inner harmony and can function most efficiently and productively. Such a person is inwardly unfettered and spiritually free.

It may be wondered how these two opposite and contrary paramount human faculties, personified by the brain and heart, each called a “sovereign” organ ruling all the other organs of the body, can be reconciled and brought into true and lasting harmony.

The answer is that the Creator has given man the capacity to achieve such harmony, and He has made certain that the Jewish people, who had been chosen to receive the Torah and spread the light of G‑dliness on earth, would have the wherewithal to achieve this balance and harmony through the Torah and Mitzvos, particularly the Mivtzah of Tefillin.

The historic event of Yetzias Mitzrayim brought freedom to our Jewish people from bondage, both physical and spiritual, through attaching themselves to HaShem and His servant Moshe, culminating in Kabbolas haTorah.8 It is the forerunner and counterpart of the personal “Yetzias Mitzrayim” of every individual Jew. This is why the Mivtzah of Tefillin is so central in Jewish life.

To conclude with a prayerful wish based on the Torah principle that “G‑d’s reward is in kind, but in a most generous measure.” When a Jew makes the effort to break through his natural limitations, and succeeds with HaShem’s help, His blessings come in a similar manner, transcending the natural order, so that the Parnosso9 exceeds all expectations, one’s health and vigor is inordinately better than the birth certificate would normally indicate, and so on. May this be so with you and yours in the fullest measure.

With esteem and blessing,