The text of this letter was sent to various individuals, personally addressed to each one.1

B”H, the days preceding the Shavuos holiday,2 5709

Greetings and blessings,

Your letter was received. I am [writing now] about a matter of present concern: the enclosed kuntreis for the coming Shavuos holiday. You will, no doubt, share it with others.

Among the concepts explained in this kuntreis:Our Sages state (Bava Basra 147a):3 “If the holiday of Shavuos is a clear day (without clouds), sow wheat. Mar Zutra says: “When Shavuos is partly cloudy, sow wheat.” And the passage con­cludes: “The intent is neither clear, nor partly cloudy, but even a partly cloudy day when there is a north wind blowing4 is considered as clear (and the crop of wheat will be successful).”

There are many points to be derived from the analysis of the passage; see the Talmud [and commentaries]. It is possible to offer the following explanation as a suggestion:

Wheat is “food for humans” (Pesachim 3b).5 [This concept and the analogy] are described according to Chassidus at length in the maamarim associated with the Counting of the Omer and Shavuos (in Likkutei Torah, et al.).

Behold, “Man is born like a wild donkey.”6 The yetzer hara and the animal soul within him have a pre-established claim.7 “On the eve of the fourteenth [of Nissan]” — [in the analogue, i.e., with regard to the soul,] before one becomes bar-mitzvah — “we search for chametz.8 Afterwards, due to an arousal from Above on His initiative, because “He desires Chessed,” one is granted powers from Above, ([as indicated by the expression] “the King of kings was revealed to them).9 [Afterwards,] he must count [the days] of the Omer, [an offering of] barley, “animal fodder.” The ultimate goal is that he become an adam, a man, given that name because he is adamah l’Elyon [i.e., he] “resembles the One Above.”10 This is accomplished through the Torah, [as it is written:]11 “This is the Torah: man...”; [this refers to] Shavuos, which follows the Counting of the Omer. [See] Likkutei Torah, et al., [for further details].

The Torah contains two opposite [thrusts]. From its own perspective, it comes as an arousal from Above without any [preceding] arousal from below at all. [This is indicated by the phrase:]12 “And G‑d descended,” [which refers to] the revela­tion of His essence, [a level] that an arousal from below cannot reach. Also, the refinement that it [brings about] comes as a revelation from Above.

The intent, however, is that the refinement and the Divine service should involve material things. Therefore the Torah was given to beings who have a yetzer hara and who descended to Egypt (Shabbos 88b),13 as explained at length in the enclosed kuntreis.14

This [explains] the allusions in our Sages’ words in the pas­sage from Bava Basra cited above. The order is extremely precise. [The weather on] the holiday of Shavuos serves as an indication of the nature of the crop of wheat that will be produced throughout the entire year. As the passage continues and explains: “If the holiday of Shavuos is a clear day....” [The reason the emphasis is on the heavens being clear is that] the Torah is a revelation from Above, unlike prayer. Rashi, in his commentary, makes an even more direct allusion, [citing the expression:]15 “Like the essence of the heavens in their purity.” This [points to] the refinement [brought about by] the direct light of the Torah as [it is revealed] from Above, as explained in Torah Or, Parshas Mishpatim, on this expression.16

“Mar Zutra”17 [whose name indicates a connection] to “small matters — the dialectics of Abbayeand Ravva” (“who asked many questions and resolved them” — Rashbam, Bava Basra 134a) states that, nevertheless, Divine service is necessary in a place where it is partly cloudy — a mixture of good and evil — where “the sun and its shield, Havayah and Elokim,18 are not entirely revealed.

[The passage continues:] “The Sages of Nehardea said” — [that city was so named because] it was “located on the river of the king” (Kiddushin 70b), i.e., the King of the world. (See Megillah 29a which explains that the Divine presence accompa­nied [the Jews into exile]. In Babylonia, it was revealed in Nehardea. This is also alluded to in Berachos 58b which states: “The paths of heaven are like the paths of Nehardea.”)

“In the name of Rav Yaakov” — ([The name] Yaakov implies that the Yud [identified with the Sefirah]of Chochmah is drawn down into the heel.)19 [These Sages agree that] ulti­mately, the day must be clear. However, [there is a possibility for success,] even if it is partly cloudy at the outset, i.e., one begins his Divine service in a place where there is a mixture of good and evil, provided “there is a north wind blowing.” [In the analogue, this refers to] a higher revelation from Above upon which the world depends and it is constant (Bava Basra 25a). The fundamental time for [this revelation] is midnight, at which time [the north wind] blows alone (Berachos 3b; as is well known, [midnight] is associated with the phrase “And he encountered them at night,”20 a revelation of the King of kings9 at midnight).21 This [revelation] scatters the clouds, creating a clear day, which causes the wheat crop to be successful throughout the year. There is room for elaboration, but this is not the appropriate place.22

With wishes for receiving the Torah with happiness and inner feeling,

Menachem Schneerson