This letter, like the previous one, is of a general nature. Nevertheless, it is specifically addressed to yeshivah studentsand outlines their unique responsibilities. 1

The First Day of Selichos, 5710

To the Students of the Yeshivos:
May G‑d’s blessing be upon you.

Greetings and Blessings!

With the sanction of the learned Rabbis who head your yeshivos, I would like to address myself to you — my loved ones, students of the yeshivos — in particular, in addition to my letter of Chai Elul. 2

The happy privilege with which Divine providence has enabled you to be counted among those whose portion in life is G‑d’s Torah, and the unique characteristic with which G‑d has endowed young people, giving them unusual strength and energy — these two gifts charge you with a distinctive responsibility: to stand in the forefront of those who are active, and who activate others, in giving spiritual tzedakah to those who are poor in understanding, dispensing this tzedakah with a generous eye and an open hand.

Our Sages have stated decisively: The positive commandment of studying Torah is superior, in itself, to the other mitzvos. It is considered their equal because study leads to deed. 3 However, if a particular mitzvah cannot be carried out by others — for example: if a person knows that his words will be heeded more, or if what others are doing does not suffice for the mitzvah in question — then he is obliged to interrupt his study, perform the mitzvah, and only then return to his study.

In the days of the approaching month of Tishrei (May it come to us with blessing!), the month during which every Jew is obliged and privileged “to renew his deeds and improve his deeds,” 4 it is the task of every yeshivah student to gird himself with ever-increasing vigor:

(a) In avodah that relates to himself: to rouse himself in true teshuvah, accepting upon himself the yoke of G‑d’s sovereignty, the yoke of studying the Torah with the fear of Heaven, and the joyful fulfillment of the mitzvos; 5

(b) In avodah that relates to others: to bring those who need to be brought near close to the Torah, and to lend strength to those who need to be strengthened — in the avodah of teshuvah, in the study of Torah, and in the fulfillment of the mitzvos. What is called for, above all, is an extensive campaign in every appropriate manner — that all Jewish boys and girls, children and adolescents, should be given an authoritatively Jewish education (chinuch hakasher) in the time-honored traditions of our people, without compromise.

“The 6 Holy One, blessed be He, said to His people: ‘If you better your ways, I shall rise from the Throne of Judgment and take My place on the Throne of Mercy; for you I shall transform the attribute of stern justice to the attribute of mercy.’”

From one who blesses you and who seeks your blessing — that we all be inscribed and sealed for a good year,

Menachem Mendel ben Chanah Schneerson

Son-in-law of the Nasi, his holy honor,
Our master, mentor and Rebbe (of Lubavitch);
זצוקללה"ה, נבג"ם, זי"ע, הכ"מ