This letter was sent to Rabbi Ben Tzion Shemtov, one of the active members of the chassidic brotherhood.

B”H, 15 Shvat, 5709

Greetings and blessings,

A letter was finally received from you (from 4 Shvat). Since you did not write how long you will be staying in Paris, I am sending my response there.

a) Enclosed is a kuntreis for Yud/Yud-Gimmel Shvat, which you will no doubt make available to people at large.

b) The letter that you mention from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, from the year 5670, is not in my posses­sion. Hence, I do not know to what you are referring. There are at least two points in which I do not agree with what you write:

i) Why do you offer me excuses concerning all the matters that are not as they should be? Your work and my work is not our own. Instead, it is fundamentally G‑d’s work, as our Sages state in the Mishnah at the conclusion of tractate Kiddushin:“I was created solely to serve my Creator.” ([This statement is] explained according to Chassidus at the conclusion of the second maamar entitled VeSamti Kadkod in Likkutei Torah. It is self-evident that this does not represent a contradiction to the statements in the beginning of the maamar entitled Taamah in the enclosed kuntreis.) As such, of what benefit will it be if I accept your excuses? For our Sages have taught:1 “The day is short, the task is great, and the Employer is pressing.”

I do not want to elaborate, since presently you are not in the place of your fundamental mission. I will make use of a lead [pencil],2 but you will forget about the matter by the time you get back to England. May it be G‑d’s will that from this time onward, there will be no need for rebuke and the like and you will serve G‑d with happiness3 continually, throughout the day.

ii) Why do you continually postpone the enhancement of your work? What will be with the days that pass and will never return? “[A fixed number of] days have been created”4 and “[Man has] a fixed time [upon the earth].”5

As above, I am only writing now with extreme brevity and with a hint for the wise.6

c) Since you are presently staying in Paris, that no doubt relates to your identity as the Rebbe’s emissary. I am enclosing a copy of a letter7 that I wrote to someone there concerning nifneh8 in Paris and its surroundings because I remember that you would always find commendable things to say about work that was performed and work that was not performed.9

Awaiting favorable tidings about action which is of supreme importance; with good wishes to all those who seek our welfare,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson