This letter served as an introduction to the kuntreis published for Rosh HaShanah, 5711.


It is explained in various sources in Chassidus 1 that Rosh HaShanah is called the head of the year rather than the beginning of the year, because its relation to the other days of the year parallels the relation of the head to the body and the other organs. Just as the vitality of all the organs is subsumed in the head, and this then finds overt expression in the fact that the vitality of every particular organ is drawn down from the head, 2 so, too, Rosh HaShanah comprises within itself the vitality of all the days of the forthcoming year. They are all subsumed in it in potential form, and eventually their vitality branches out into individual days and becomes apparent.

It may be assumed that this is one of the reasons why we have been earnestly urged to be exceedingly vigilant in cherishing time on Rosh HaShanah — for the hours and the minutes of these days are comprehensive; they are superior to those of the rest of the year not only in quantity, but also in quality, like the tissue of the brain in comparison with the other physical organs.

As understood from the analogy between the head and the organs of the body: When is a person healthy? When the vitality centered in his head is intact and channeled to each organ according to its nature. The same is true of the avodah of Rosh HaShanah. These days should be fitting to their spiritual position as the head of the entire year. Moreover, they should be connected with the ensuing days of the year, imbuing them with the vitality that stems from the acceptance of G‑d’s sovereignty, in the study of Torah and in the fulfillment of the mitzvos.

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One of the factors that facilitates avodah in general, and in particular, the avodah of connecting Rosh HaShanah with the following days of the year, is — being connected with “the head of the myriads of Israel, whose soul is like a head and a brain relative to the souls of his contemporaries: 3 through him they derive their nurture and vitality, and through him they are bound and unified with their original essence and root.”

This is the case with the hiskashrus of every man and woman among us with the Nasi and head of our generation, namely, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ. As he has stated clearly, hiskashrus is attained by studying his teachings, and by proceeding down a straight path, the paths that he has shown us, and walking in his ways. 4 It is this hiskashrus that will promote the avodah of the days of Rosh HaShanah 5 and their connection with the rest of the days of the year.

This will constitute the conduit through which people will be inscribed and sealed for a good year, with good that is visible and manifest, both materially and spiritually — during the days of Rosh HaShanah and later throughout the entire year.

Menachem Mendel ben Chanah Schneerson