This letter was written to the members of the chassidic community working as educators under R. Yitzchak Aharon Goldin in Europe.1

B”H, 28 MarCheshvan, 5711

Greetings and blessings,

I read with satisfaction the letter of our friend, the chassidic communal activist, R. Yitzchak Aharon Goldin, concerning the course of action for your work in educating Jewish boys and girls and your influence on the homes of their parents, illuminating them with the light of the Torah and mitzvos as they are explained in the teachings of our Nesi’im, i.e., the teachings of Chassidus.

It is obvious that you could possibly imagine that you are not successful in arousing the recipients of your efforts to positive deeds in each and every activity that you perform. This, however, is not true. This is well known from the talks of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, who explained, [even] while he was still in Russia,2 how important even one movement of a Jew is [Above]. And he would bring proof from the words of our Sages concerning the greatness of baalei teshuvah, that even perfect tzaddikim cannot stand in their place.3 He questions that statement, noting that since a tzaddik spent his entire life in the service of the Torah and its mitzvos and the baal teshuvah [did not] — indeed, included in the category of baalei teshuvah is one who turned to G‑d in teshuvah one moment before his death, as occurred with R. Eliezar ben Durdaya4 — if so, how is it possible that a baal teshuvah will be greater than a perfect tzaddik? The resolution to this question is that we see how precious a Jew’s actions are, that in one measure of time, with one turn,5 he can acquire his [portion in] the World [to Come].

Similar concepts apply regarding work [with others]. Sometimes the effects of one’s efforts are not obvious on the students or in their parents’ homes even though one is working with the appropriate effort. Nevertheless, we do not know what is happening inside the heart of the other person and it’s possible that [inside], his heart turned. And with one turn, he can acquire his [portion in] the World [to Come].

It is obvious that [these positive results] are not dependent on the strength of [your] desire to carry out your work as is fitting. [Instead,] what is important that, as our Sages say,6 there should be “words that come from the heart,” simply put, heartfelt speech.

What is relevant to each person is carefully keeping track of time. [This is beneficial] both with regard to the students, for this teaches them and trains them to keep a schedule, and with regard to your visits to the homes, for keeping an organized schedule in this helps that one’s words will be listened to and accepted in a superior manner.

I have not come to offer words of reproof. Perhaps the matters have been corrected without my having written. Nevertheless, I felt it my obligation [to write] how they appear to me, and it is my hope that my words will have a positive effect.

It is certainly known to you — and it is superfluous to elaborate on the matter — the extent to which my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, sacrificed himself for Jewish education and for strengthening Yiddishkeit, even with regard to the most basic matters, although he could have used the opportunity to [instead] involve himself in the study of the Torah’s mystic secrets and indeed, in the most profound mystic secrets.

This serves as instruction to each one of us. It is possible that the yetzer hara will dress up in the clothes of a faithful tzaddik7and argue: “Why do you have to busy yourself with teaching others alef-beis and saying Modeh Ani, in particular, when there is a question what effect your efforts will have? Instead, you could occupy yourself with the teachings of Chassidus, teachings that are ‘the words of the living G‑d.’ You can be sure that there will be a positive effect from doing this because you are a chassid and bonded to the Rebbe. If so, you can be certain that the study will have an effect on yourself.”

Through his own conduct, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, showed [how to respond to this argument]. He was not sparing with his time and energy and [did not] consider what he could have achieved with his own self [if hehadoccupiedhimself] with the most elevated matters. [Instead,] he devoted his greatest powers to spreading proper [Jewish] education, beginning with alef-beis and the like, among even the most simple Jews. This was a matter of self-sacrifice. Note the talks of 20 Kislev, 5693 [1933], sec. 17:

The Tzemach Tzedek said: “All of grandfather’s — the Alter Rebbe’s — self-sacrifice is nothing compared to the self-sacrifice of tearing oneself away from [the love of G‑d to the extent that] “I do not desire being [merely] with You”8 and devoting oneself to doing a favor [for another person], desiring that another Jew will turn in teshuvah on his own initiative and become a genuine servant of G‑d.

Apparently, this is also being demanded of us, and the potential and the strength for this is granted to us. The matter is dependent only on our will.

Concluding with blessings for success in being genuinely bonded with my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ; [then] as a natural consequence, each one of us will, with pleasure and desire, fulfill the mission with which he charged us, “spreading the wellsprings outward” [until “Those who lie in the dust] will arise and sing joyous praises”9 and my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, will lead us upright to our land, speedily, in our days, Amen.