By the Grace of G‑d
10th of Kislev, 5714 [November 17, 1953]
Brooklyn N.Y.

To my brethren everywhere G‑d bless you all Sholom u 'Brocho:

In connection with the Day of Liberation (19th of Kislev) of the Founder of Chabad, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady, author of the Tanya, whose release from imprisonment for the dissemination of Chabad established freedom of thought and practice for the ideology and way of life of Chabad Chasidism, in particular, and of general Chasidism as a whole,

I wish to express herewith my inner wish, that every one of us be liberated, with G‑d's help and by determined personal effort, from all handicaps which arrest the good and noble in everyone's nature, so that this part of one's nature reign supreme, giving fullest expression to the three-fold love: love of our people Israel, love of our Torah, and love of G‑d, which are all one.

Our Sages said that "Each and every soul was in the presence of His Divine Majesty before coming down to this earth," and that "The souls are hewn from under the Seat of Glory."

These sayings emphasize the essential nature of the soul, its" holiness and purity, and its being completely divorced from anything material and physical; the soul itself, by its very nature, is not subject to any material desires or temptations, which arise only from the physical body and "animal soul."

Nevertheless, it was the Creator's Will that the soul which is "truly a 'part' of the Divine Above," should descend into the physical and coarse world and be confined within, and united with, a physical body for scores of years, in a state which is absolutely repulsive to its very nature. All this, for the purpose of a Divine mission which the soul has to fulfill: To purify and "spiritualize" the physical body and the related physical environment by permeating them with the Light of G‑d, so as to make this world an abode for the Shechinah. This can be done only through a life of Torah and Mitzvos.

When the soul fulfills this mission, all the transient pain and suffering connected with the soul's descent and life on this earth are not only justified, but infinitely outweighed by the great reward and everlasting bliss which the soul enjoys thereafter.

From the above one can easily appreciate the extent of the tragedy of disregarding the soul's mission on earth. For in doing so one condemns the soul to a term of useless suffering not compensated for, nor nullified by that everlasting happiness which G‑d had intended for it. Even where there are brief moments of religious activity in the study of the Torah and the practice of the Mitzvos, it is sad to contemplate how often such activity is tinted by the lack of real enthusiasm and inner joy, not realizing that these are the activities which justify existence.

Aside from missing the vital point through failure of taking advantage of the opportunity to fulfill G‑d's Will, thus forfeiting the everlasting benefits to be derived therefrom, it is contrary to sound reason to choose that side of life which accentuates the enslavement and degradation of the soul, while rejecting the good that is inherent in it, namely, the great ascent that is to come from the soul's descent.

It will now become eminently clear what our Sages meant when they said, "No man commits a sin unless he was stricken with temporary insanity." No profound thinking is required to realize that since "life is compulsory," and since the soul which is a "part" of the Divine Above is compelled to descend into "a frame of dust and ashes," the proper thing to do is to make the most of the soul's sojourn on earth; only a life in which every aspect is permeated by the Torah and Mitzvos makes this possible.

It is also abundantly clear that since G‑d, Who is the essence of goodness, compels the soul to descend from its "sublime heights to the lowest depths," for the purpose of the study of the Torah and the fulfillment of the Mitzvos —how great is the value of Torah and Mitzvos.

Furthermore, the descent of the soul for the purpose of ascent shows that there is no other way to obtain the objective except through the soul's descent to live on this earth. If there were an easier way, G‑d would not compel the soul to descend from the sublime heights of the Seat of Glory down to this nether world, the lowest of all worlds.

For only here, in the lowest depths, can the soul attain its highest ascent, higher even than the angels, and as our Sages say, "The righteous precede the foremost angels."

Reflecting upon the greatness of the Torah and Mitzvos, specifically pertaining to this life, reflecting also that the Torah and Mitzvos are the only means to attain the soul's perfection and the fulfillment of the Divine purpose, one will experience a sense of real joy at his fate and destiny, despite the many difficulties and handicaps, from within and without, which are inevitable on this earth. Only in this way can one live up to the injunction: "Serve G‑d with joy," which the Baal Shem Tov made one of the foundations of his teachings, and which is expounded at length in Chabad, and pointed out by its Founder, whose Liberation we commemorate on the 19th day of Kislev, in his monumental work, the Tanya (chapters 26 seq., 31 seq.).

With blessing,