This letter was sent to a chassid in Australia.

B”H, 8 Elul, 5710

Greetings and blessings,

In reply to your letter of 24 Menachem Av in which you [write about] your son, stating that my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, agreed that he should spend some of his time working in the fields. 1 He asks whether to continue this because he regrets the time [involved], that he was forced to interrupt his studies, and that he is not doing the same as all his friends who are studying in Tomchei Temimim. 2 You add that you and he both regret [the previous choice] and that your son possesses good potentials. You ask my opinion whether he should, nevertheless, continue what he was doing previously or whether he should go to the U.S. to study in Tomchei Temimim.

My opinion is that, at least for the remainder of the year, until the coming Yud Shvat (5711), your son should continue his work in the fields, while maintaining fixed times for Torah study, as he was directed by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ. [He should maintain] a special study session in the teachings of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ.

You should explain to your son — and to yourself — that you are [both] needlessly feeling distress because some of your son’s time is being devoted to physical work and only a few hours are left for him to study Torah. [There is] a well-known statement of our Sages, 3 quoted in [Tanya,] Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 22: “A person does not know how he will earn his livelihood... and when the Davidic dynasty will return.” The Alter Rebbe concludes there that an equivalence has been established between the two.

There is a well-known statement of the Shelah 4 that the Torah speaks about the higher realms and alludes to what happens in the lower realms. 5 This means that our Sages’ statement: “A person does not know how he will earn his livelihood...” applies also — and primarily — to his spiritual earnings and livelihood. And this is also equated with the time [of Mashiach’s coming], concerning which our Sages said: 6 “The heart did not reveal it to the mouth.” This also refers to the sublime heart and the sublime mouth; 7 i.e., even the sublime mouth is not aware of the time [of Mashiach’s coming]. And according to the Alter Rebbe, this also applies with regard to one’s spiritual earnings and livelihood.

Think for a moment: Why must we go around with our own reckoning, thinking what is better for ourselves spiritually, when with regard to spiritual matters we know — hopefully — the externals [if that], and [certainly,] not their inner nature? When one has a directive from the Nasi of the generation — and the Nasi is the heart of the entire nation 8 and that is higher than “the mouth”; moreover, in Chassidus it is explained that the Nasi, the Rebbe, is the intermediary that bonds [one] to the essence and nature of the Ein Sof — and he has shown one the place where his spiritual livelihood lies, this is certainly the best possible place for his soul and for the health of his body. [For] the health for one’s soul [comes] when it serves as a medium to carry out the sublime intent and the sublime will.

This will also serve as a general answer to all the members of the chassidic brotherhood who are found in Australia and who never cease complaining about their lot which appears to them as bitter — to be far away from a particular place and particular people. This is nothing but the counsel of the yetzer [hara] to confound them in their Divine service and to prevent them from fulfilling the mission with which they were charged by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, who is a comprehensive soul, who — as explained in Chassidus — represents the collective as it is above the particulars, even as they are included in the collective. 9

There is a well-known adage of the Rebbe Rashab 10 that the temimim 11 are “candles to illuminate.” From this simple statement it appears that this is their fundamental nature. From this we learn several things; [to cite] two:

a) When one lights a candle from another candle, the first candle does not suffer any loss.

b) Since the purpose of this candle is to shine forth light, when it fulfills that purpose and shines forth light, it reaches the highest level possible for a created being [to attain] in that it fulfills the commandment of the Creator. For by doing so, it bonds with Him. This is the meaning of the term mitzvah — a bond and a connection, as explained in Chassidus in several places. 12

The loneliness one feels in Australia is clearly appreciated. In particular, [this applies] when one remembers the settings in which everyone was together, with a large congregation, and it was as bright as the sun in the afternoon. [Then,] of what benefit is a candle in the sunlight? 13

That, however, seems to have been merely a preparatory stage, to imbue you with powers so that you can illuminate the darkness and make your present place and country a place of light, which is identified with Torah, 14 and in particular, with the luminary in it, 15 the teachings of Chassidus, 16 that its wellsprings spread outward to all the ends of the earth. Then we are assured that the Davidic dynasty will return, as explained at length in the sichos of Simchas Torah, 5690. This is the greatest reward that could possibly be, both in a spiritual sense and in a physical sense, as indicated by the Alter Rebbe’s statement that there is an equation between [a person’s] reward and the return of the Davidic dynasty.

Concluding with blessings for a kesivah vachasimah tovah for you and your entire household, and for all the members of the fellowship. Would you be so kind as to share the contents of this letter to the other members of the chassidic brotherhood who are complaining because of the mission with which my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ , charged them. From the outset I thank you for your troubles.

Menachem Schneerson