The name of the recipient of this letter was not released.

B”H, 17 Kislev, 5711,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greetings and blessings,

Because of many preoccupations, time does not allow [all] letters to be answered immediately upon receipt, nor with the fitting length. To a certain extent, during a farbrengen on Shabbos Mevarchim, or the like, I attempt to answer common points raised in several letters that have been received. You will also certainly be able to find answers to several of your questions in my introductions to the kuntreisim1 that are being published and in the digest of [the farbrengen of Shabbos] Bereishis, and of Shabbos Lech Lecha that is enclosed.

In particular, with regard to your letter and your request that I answer your letters, it is obvious that I will endeavor to do so to the degree possible, provided you will not object if my answer is delayed due to great preoccupations.

a) With regard to your statements in your letter that the Conservative and Reform movements are becoming stronger and more successful: On several occasions, we heard from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, based on what is written in several of our sages’ texts,2 that the existence of kelipah3 is one of non-being, and there are two modes in which it exists: one requiring birur, refinement, and the other, involving nisayon, challenge.

In the first, the opposing force has certain positive qualities which must be refined and elevated. In the second, [there is no positive quality. On the contrary,] it is corrected by breaking it and rejecting it. When one stands in opposition to it with all one’s strength, it becomes nullified as a matter of course. Then it can be seen even with our physical eyes, that even originally, it had no substance; it exists only to pose a challenge.

Similarly, I saw several aspects which you considered to be opposing forces that fight against you, but all of this was nothing more than a challenge. At the outset, there was no foundation for worry. Moreover, with the appropriate fortitude, the kelipah would have been negated without havingleft any trace of sorrow, Heaven forbid.

b) With regard to your statements [in your letter] that you desire to carry out the will of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ: I never had any doubt concerning that. There are times, however, when, through several ploys, “the clever one”4 cunningly tries to explain that it is impossible to fulfill his will because there is no capacity to do so, because of various reasons (that have no substance). According to my understanding, there has to be a fundamental change in the approach to the matter. [It must be a given that] since this is the will of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, you are certainly able to fulfill it. It is merely necessary to seek plans and ways how to fulfill it in a manner where there will be a minimum of friction and in a peaceful manner to the greatest degree possible.

c) There is a general directive regarding your conduct that you must clearly know: My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, desired that you have an influence on the city of ... [and] be their spiritual leader, and, primarily, of the Jews who live in ... and, merely as a secondary matter, [to involve yourself] in.... Unfortunately, according to reports, you are involving yourself with the second matter, when proportionate to your potential, you are carrying out few activities with regard to the first matter. While it’s true that the activities of another person among those who are living could be less than yours, that is not a sufficient answer, for [our Sages teach]:5 “Load a camel according to its [strength].” See the conclusion of sec. 25 of the digest of [the farbrengen of] Shabbos Parshas Lech [Lecha].

I am certain that you will forgive me for these words. It is just that it hurts to see a city where there are several hundreds of thousands of our Jewish brethren, may their number increase, and in it, there is a broad platform for activity and there are people capable of performing that activity, and, nevertheless, there is a lack with regard to a lot of what could have been accomplished with regard to Yiddishkeit, the Torah and its mitzvos, and obviously, with regard to Chassidus....

f) Regarding what happened the past Simchas Torah in your synagogue:6 I already told you by telephone that according to my opinion, you should endeavor that every day, after the [morning] prayers, three (or five) chapters of Tehillim should be recited in addition to those that are otherwise recited. Similarly, on one of the coming communal fast days, [the next being] the tenth of Teves, (because BaHaB7 has already passed), you should endeavor that an entire minyan of those who attended the synagogue should fast.

g) A communal letter and a kuntreis associated with Yud-Tes Kislev were already sent out. Certainly you possess Megillas Yud-Tes Kislev.8 You will surely share good tidings of the celebrations of Yud-Tes Kislev, the holiday of redemption, [held] in every place where your influence reaches. In places where it is difficult to gather a large crowd in the middle of the week, in addition to the celebration of Yud-Tes Kislev, it is perhaps valuable to arrange some type of event on the following Shabbos and to emphasize that this is associated with Yud-Tes Kislev.

I hope to hear good tidings from you with regard to general and individual matters and particularly regarding the health of your wife.

I conclude with the words of blessing [for Yud-Tes Kislev] coined by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ:9 “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year in the study of Chassidus and the paths of Chassidus.

Awaiting good tidings,

Menachem Schneerson

The list of [the names of the members of] your minyan was now received. Without committing myself by vow, I will read them at the gravesite tomorrow.