By the Grace of G‑d
16 Cheshvan, 5723 [November 13, 1962]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greeting and Blessing:

In addition to my letter of yesterday's date which was confined to a purely scientific discussion, it is this second letter which will express my real approach to you, the Torah approach of one Jew to another.

It is surely unnecessary to emphasize to you that the basic principle of the Jewish way of life is "Know him in all your ways." This principle has been enunciated in the Talmud, Early and Late Responsa, until it has been formulated as a psak-din in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, sec. 231). It is there explained that it is the life's mission of every Jew to acknowledge G‑d even in the simplest pursuits of daily life, such as eating, drinking, etc. How much more does this apply to the more essential aspects of one's life, especially in the case of one who has been endowed with special qualifications, knowledge and distinction, etc., all of which place him in a position of influence. These are gifts of Divine Providence, which the Jew is duty-bound to consecrate to the service of G‑d, to disseminate G‑dliness through the Torah and Mitzvot to the utmost of his ability, in compliance with the commandments "You shall surely rebuke" and "You shall love your neighbor like yourself"--the great principle of our Torah. And since, according to the Torah view, everything in the world is ordered and measured and nothing is superfluous, the duty and zechut (privilege) of every Jew are commensurate with his capacities and opportunities.

I have seen you only briefly, but I have formed some impressions, which have been augmented by your book, the only one I have been able to obtain so far, and by what I have heard about you and your station in the academic world and otherwise. I have no doubt that you have unusual opportunities to disseminate the Torah and Mitzvot among wide circles of Jewish scientists, students and laymen.

In recent years, especially in the U.S.A., we have witnessed among Jewish youth, two tendencies striving in opposite directions. On the one hand there has been an intensified quest for truth, a yearning for closer identification with our people and our eternal values. At the other extreme, the pull of assimilation, intermarriage, etc. has been gaining, too. Aside from the colleges and universities in a few major cities, the situation on campuses in regard to the observance of kashrut, Shabbat, etc., is too painful to contemplate, not to mention the widespread confusion and misconceptions in respect to the most basic tenets of our faith.

If the first of the above-mentioned tendencies were to be stimulated and fully utilized at this auspicious time, the chances are very good that it would gain momentum and grow wider, and in time also deeper. If, as our sages say, to save one soul is to save a whole world, then how much more so, to save so many lost Jewish souls.

I want to express to you my fervent hope—and, if necessary, my urgent appeal as well, that you put the whole weight of your prestige as a leading scientist behind a resolute effort in the cause of Torah and Mitzvot. I am informed that you have been elected as this year's President of the Organization of Jewish Orthodox Scientists. By your example you could set the pace of the entire organization, individually and collectively, and set in motion a "chain reaction."

I will conclude with a well-known saying of the Baal Shem Tov, which I frequently heard from my father-in-law of saintly memory: "G‑d sends down to earth a soul, which is truly a part of G‑dliness, to sojourn, in a body, for seventy or eighty years on this earth, in order to render a favor to another Jew, materially or spiritually." If a single favor justifies a whole earthbound life, how great is the merit of a consistent effort to help one fellow-Jew, or many of them, to find their true way, the way of Torah and Mitzvot, in their day-to-day living.

May G‑d grant that your words which come from the heart will penetrate the many hearts which are ready and eager to respond, and may G‑d grant you success in this, as in all your other endeavors for yourself and your family.

With Blessing,

(Editor’s Note: Although the name of the recipient has been omitted from the copy of the letter we received, nevertheless it is our belief that recipient was Professor Elmer Offenbacher, Ph.D., who served as President of the AOJS in 1962)