By the Grace of G‑d
23rd of Tammuz, 5712 [July 16, 1952]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sholom u'Brocho:

I was pleased to receive a letter about you from your friend Avrohom Yitzchok Shemtov, in which, he informs me of your learning at the Yeshiva and also at school. I hope you will give more time to your studies at the Yeshiva, especially during the summer vacation from school, and that you will apply yourself with growing diligence and devotion to your studies at the Yeshiva.

It is surely unnecessary to emphasize that the purpose of studying at the Yeshiva is not merely to gain knowledge, but principally to gain proper guidance how to conduct one's daily life. At the same time, inasmuch as the study of the Torah is one of the greatest Mitzvoth (Talmud Torah kneged kulom), it will surely bring you blessing and success in your needs: to make up for lost time in the study of the Torah and the observance of the Mitzvoth; to continue your Torah studies successfully, and that your heart's desires to see your father, brother and sisters come closer to Yiddishkeit be fulfilled.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

It would be a good idea to write occasionally of yourself and to explain to them the proper approach to these matters: In the beginning it is necessary to start observing the Mitzvoth, and eventually comes also, most certainly, a better appreciation of the significance and truth of the Mitzvoth. To approach this matter from the opposite direction, that is, to understand first and then do them, is wrong on two scores. First, the loss involved is not to be retrieved. Second, the very observance of the Mitzvoth, which creates immediate bonds with G‑d, develops additional powers the sooner to understand and appreciate them. Take, for instance, a person who is run down or ill, for whom vitamins and medicine have been prescribed by a specialist. Would it not be foolish for him to say that he would not take them until he knew how the vitamins and medicine can restore him to good health? In the meantime he would remain weak and ill, probably get even worse. It is senseless because knowledge as to how the vitamins and medicine do their work is not necessary in order to benefit from them. Moreover, while taking them, he will get a clearer head and better understanding to learn how the prescription helps him.

Should you want additional explanations, you can surely get them from the deans of your Yeshiva, and friends, particularly the Mashpia in Chassidus Rabbi I. Dubov, whom I know personally, and your friend Shemtov. I trust you say some kapitlech Tillim every day. Wishing you success in your Tora studies with Yiras Shomaim, and hoping to hear good news from you in any language yon find most convenient,

With blessing,
M. Schneerson