By the Grace of G‑d
22nd of Adar II, 5733 [March 26, 1973]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mr. Mordechai Shoel Landow

Greeting and Blessing:

Your letter of March 1st reached me with some delay. I regret that my acknowledgment has been unavoidably delayed by the intervening days of Purim. Please accept my apology.

First of all, I want to express my gratification at your response to the suggestions which I proposed to you during your visit here. It was, of course, a pleasure to make your personal acquaintance.

Frankly, I had wondered what your reactions might be to my "un-American" manner of welcoming you. For, the accepted American way, if I am not mistaken, is to greet one with a shower of compliments and praise, even if not always fully merited. In your case, of course, it would have been very well deserved credit, for I was fully aware of your accomplishments and generosity in behalf of the Lubavitch work in your community, given in the best tradition of inspiration and dedication, even to the extent of getting your friends involved in it. Yet, instead of verbalizing my appreciation at length, I glossed over it briefly, and immediately challenged you with new and formidable projects.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

However, the fact is that I felt impelled to use the precious time at our disposal to discuss with you those matters which, in my estimation, are of vital importance, namely the expansion of our program in Miami and also the project in our Holy Land, knowing that however much we could extend the late hour, the time would still be too short to discuss the vital need of these matters in all their ramifications.

My guiding principle in this case, as when meeting with people in general, is the bon mot I heard from my father-in-law of Saintly memory: "When two Jews meet, they should not be content with the benefit that the meeting brings to each of them, but they should immediately be concerned with the prospect of bringing a benefit to a third Jew, a fourth, and to as many Jews as possible." Moreover, I was hopeful that you would accept my suggestions in the right spirit, precisely because you have already made a magnificent start. And as I wrote to you in my previous letter, quoting our Sages of blessed memory, "He who has 100 desires 200," etc., or, in other words, since achievement is the greatest incentive to further and more ambitions achievement, I had reason be believe that your achievement in the past will widen your horizons and intensify your desire for even greater things. Hence, without losing time, I embarked upon the practical aspects of our meeting for the benefit of so many of our fellow Jews. This, I felt, would ensure also our share of the benefit, yours and mine, and yours even more than mine, since the actual implementation of these projects is something which Divine Providence has entrusted in your hands.

As for the projects themselves, I can hardly overemphasize their importance. The development of the educational facilities in Miami on all levels up to and including the highest, goes beyond the thing itself, for, as the point was mentioned, Miami is a showcase for American Jewry from all parts of the U.S.A., so that every accomplishment there, in the area of Torah education and revival of Yiddishkeit, has the significance of a "pilot" project for others to emulate. Similarly, giving new direction to the networks and other media, would trigger off beneficial repercussions on a global scale.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Thus even a small accomplishment in these areas could be multiplied on an unforeseen scale; how much more so a substantial accomplishment.

As Miami is the showcase for American Jewry, so Eretz Yisroel is the showcase for world Jewry, due to the considerable and growing tourism. Add to this the fact that it is the "Holy Land" also for other faiths, and attracts non-Jewish tourists, too, in growing numbers. Eretz Yisroel must therefore serve as a model for all. The project has still greater merit because it is directly connected with the influx of the new immigrants.

In the light of all that has been said above, you can well understand that your letter has greatly relieved my mind, for you have indeed shown yourself big enough to overlook the scanty praise and to give your serious and favorable attention to the tasks at hand. I feel certain that the Zechus of your good deeds already accomplished has stood you in good stead.

I am very gratified to note that the activities in Miami are proceeding at an accelerated pace. No doubt these include the summer camp and day camp which came up in our conversation, as well as making your influence increasingly felt in the networks and news media, after the promising start you made.

As for the third project, namely, the one for Eretz Yisroel, may I say, with all due respect, that I do not agree with your contention that you are not equipped to develop it. I am certain that you are. However, it would in any case have to wait until the Miami program is well advanced, so as not to detract attention from the latter. Actually, I regret to say, there is also a different factor, which makes the present moment not very opportune for the immediate implementation of the Eretz Yisroel project. For, such a project must, of course, have the utmost cooperation of various departments of the Israeli government. But, unfortunately, for various reasons, the present moment is not very auspicious to embark upon the project, so that it must be postponed for the time being.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Finally, with reference to the conclusion of your letter, on the subject of ritual observance, I need not emphasize to you, a successful businessman, that although knowledge and motivation etc. are very desirable things, the essential thing, after all, is the actual deed. As for the "disappointment" at the lack of greater progress, I would like to cite a basic Chasidic principle, actually deriving from the Alter Rebbe, in his classical work, the Tanya. It is to the effect that inasmuch as a Jew must utilize to the full all his capacities towards increasing the good and the holy within himself and the environment, "disappointment" (which usually is a negative factor, being closely linked with discouragement) can also be converted into a positive force, to redouble one's efforts in the right direction. Indeed, it can be made into a springboard for an even greater accomplishment, as in the case of a person who has to make a wide leap, which he can do only by going back, in his feelings of sophistication - not, G‑d forbid, in doing Mitzvos, a few steps in order to gain momentum for that extra leap. May G‑d grant that your hope for complete observance will be realized even sooner than you expect, and the Zechus Horabim (the benefit for many) will help you, since your way of life and conduct will surely be an inspiration to many.

With esteem and with blessings for good tidings,
M. Schneerson

P.S. I was pleased to receive personal regards from you through Prof. Yirmyahu Branover, who informed me that he gained the distinct impression that the Eretz Yisroel project has become much closer to your heart, not just theoretically, but also from the practical viewpoint. And while, as mentioned above, the time now is not opportune, the situation might change at any moment, though the Miami program must have top priority, as above; and, hopefully, the other project will have its turn at the proper time.