This letter was sent to R. Matisyahu Yechezkel Goodman, a Rabbinical author.

B”H, 13 Sivan, 5710

Greetings and blessings,

I received your postcard after much delay. As per your request, [some of the] kuntreisim and sichos of the teachings of Chassidus that were published by Kehot were sent to you under separate cover. You will undoubtedly acknowledge their receipt and, as you said in your letter, send your books to the library of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch. Thanking you in advance.

I had the opportunity to peruse briefly your book entitled Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov (Tel Aviv, 5709). I was not able to read it at length. However, [from what I read,] it appears that at the time you wrote the book, you did not see the sichos of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ. For example:

On page 3, you write that the Baal Shem Tov was born around the year 5060. It is known according to family tradition that the Baal Shem Tov was born on 18 Elul, 5058.

On page 5, you mention [the Baal Shem Tov’s] father’s [final] words to him before passing away. It is an accepted family tradition that he spoke to him not only about the fear of G‑d, but also immediately thereafter about ahavas Yisrael which is one of the fundamental dimensions of the Baal Shem Tov’s approach and conduct.

The Baal Shem Tov passed away on the first day of Shavuos.

[In your book,] there are almost no details about the hidden tzaddikim and [the conduct of] the Baal Shem Tov before he was revealed and, in particular, [his] interchange with R. Adam [Baal Shem] and his son, and other [details].

Regarding all these matters, see the printed sichos of 20 Kislev, 5693; 18 Elul, 5700; 18 Elul, 5701; 18 Elul, 5703; 18 Elul, 5705; and the letters from the [Cherson] Genizah published in HaTamim (it is apparent that you relied on them, because you cite them on p. 21 of your book); et al.

Parenthetically, [I would like to make] a general comment: I saw you cite in your book many sayings from the Baal Shem Tov, quoting from his books and the books of his students — and from Professor Hopland, Lazarus Kant, M. Nordau. And you are amazed that “the secret of the great philosopher Kant was revealed by the Baal Shem Tov, lehavdil,1 to his veteran disciple.” And there are other similar statements.

Note that I was the one who added the word lehavdil!It was not in your book.

A technical point: It would seem that your book would be improved by adding a bibliography at the end and a list of books that you used.

With wishes for all forms of good,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson