The name of the person to whom this letter was sent was not released.

B”H, 13 Nissan, 5711,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greetings and blessings,

Among the matters which our Sages state1 come “against a person’s will” is “against your will, you live.” Implied is that life is not a string of pleasures, or even restful matters — or even gentle difficulties. Instead, from time to time, a person has to repeat to himself, forcefully and continually, that “Against your will, you live” and “Everything that G‑d does is for the good.”2 See also the letters of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, printed in Kuntres נ"ט, p. 33 ([published for] Yud-Beis Tammuz, 5708).3

We see in actual fact that to a large extent, the impression that the events of a person’s life make on him are dependent on the person himself — with what degree of gravity does he accept them and respond to them. Do we have a greater example than Rambam! The external dimensions of his life were filled with difficulties, unfavorable surprises, suffering, and accidents, Heaven forbid, that extended beyond the norm. Nevertheless, his perspective on life, as expressed in his book Moreh Nevuchim, was extremely positive. He was an optimist. Conversely, we see many other people whose external dimensions of life appear to be successful. Nevertheless, it is only on rare occasions that they appear satisfied.

Such distinctions are found in people’s natural emotional makeup. In this, each and every person is aided by the teachings of Chassidus which, from the time of the Baal Shem Tov [onward], proclaimed the concept: “Serve G‑d with happiness.”4 Even at the time of teshuvah for sins that one certainly committed, there need not be any contradiction to “happiness [being] implanted in his heart from this side,” as explained in Tanya,5at length.

In particular, this applies to matters that are not dependent on one’s own choice. Certainly, the teachings of Chassidus grant the potential to find in them, even in a manner comprehensible by human logic, an element of happiness or at least a way in which they correct one’s past conduct. Consequently, this should reduce the upsetness, the bitterness, and, needless to say, the sadness caused by such events. See Tanya, ch. 26.

We have already been promised in the works of our Sages and in [Tanya,] Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 22: “Then6 G‑d will grant goodness and will shine His countenance with revealed love. Previously, it was enclothed and veiled in revealed rebuke. [In this way,] the [sublime attributes of] gevurah will be sweetened in their source and all [severe] judgments will be nullified forever.”

(Even so, in one of his talks, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, commented on the initial statement there: “Like a merciful, wise, and righteous father who strikes his son.” There the adjective chassid, “kind,” is not used, although it is used later on when speaking of “his merciful, righteous, and kind father.” [He said,] since [the text] speaks of a father striking his son, even though [his act] is an expression of [the father’s] hidden love for [his son], nevertheless, the adjective chassid, “kind,” is not appropriate.)

It is obvious that all the above is not being said as a rebuke. Moreover, it is difficult to convey these ideas to another person when one is aware of what that person went through. I am only coming to point out to you which Torah concepts can relieve the burden you are carrying and calm your spirits, at least somewhat, until you see the fulfillment of the aforementioned promise in Iggeres HaKodesh that G‑d will grant you good and will shine His countenance to you in everything that you need.

You will certainly inform me if there were any changes in the matters mentioned above, particularly if you will have good tidings in one — or several — of the above matters.

With blessings that you establish yourself properly in the near future,