The text of this letter was sent to various individuals, personally addressed to each one. The notes that follow are personal messages that were sent to particular individuals.

B”H, the day preceding the holy Shabbos, 13 Elul, 5710

Greetings and blessings,

Enclosed is the kuntreis for the approaching day of Chai Elul. 1 You will also surely share it with people at large, bringing life to yourself and them in a manner appropriate to the two adages associated with Chai Elul: 2 a) “Chai Elul is the day which infuses vitality into Elul,” and; b) “Chai Elul is the day which infuses vitality into the Divine service of ‘I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.’” 3

On this date, “the luminaries were placed in the heavens;” 4 it is the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe who introduced inner vitality into the Divine service of “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” They sacrificed themselves so that both Torah scholars and ordinary people would be attracted to this inner vitality and could [actually] make it part of their lives.

My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, explained (as cited at length in the preface 5 to the accompanying kuntreis) that the special preparations for the coming year begin from Chai Elul. In another source, 6 he explains that [Chai Elul] also begins the three months of preparation for the Divine service of the Rosh HaShanah of Chassidus;the holy day of Yud-Tes Kislev.

The founders [of Chassidus] were the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the teachings of Chassidus in general, and the Alter Rebbe, the founder of the teachings of Chabad Chassidus.

Those who carried it forward and were its masters were the Nesi’im who succeeded them, up to and including my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ.

On this luminous day, the day of Chai Elul, every man and woman to whom the words of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, reached and [who received] his explanation of the nature of this day will certainly begin, with inner vitality, spiritual stocktaking (cheshbon hanefesh) of everything that transpired with him in the previous year, 7 regretting one’s past [shortcomings] and resolving [to change] in the future, and thus making proper preparations for Rosh HaShanah as understood at large and also for the Rosh HaShanah of Chassidus.

All of this will be, in the words of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, preparation to receive a kesivah vachasimah tovah in [both] material and spiritual matters.

With wishes for success in your task of bringing merit to people at large and with blessings for a kesivah vachasimah tovah,

M. Schneerson

* * *

Regarding your question whether to pray early when you were awake all night or to sleep some beforehand so that you can “prepare to greet your G‑d”: 8 [The answer] is dependent on the degree you can strengthen yourself so as not to be overcome by sleep. I have not heard a directive 9 concerning this, but according to my understanding, since the concept of kavanah (concentrated intent) in prayer [is important — to the extent that] a lack [of kavanah] invalidates one’s prayer 10 — in general, one should follow the second approach. In particular, this applies to chassidim and members of our brotherhood who heard or studied about the concept of prayer.

* * *

I was shocked to hear that you thought about attending studies at a college or the like.

It is [both] my hope and trust that you will abandon this thought entirely and will put my spirit at ease with the good news [that you made] such [a decision].