This letter was addressed to Rabbi Avraham Sender Nemtzov, a ritual slaughterer in Manchester.

B”H, 20 Kislev, 5708

Greetings and blessings,

Enclosed is a publication concerning Yud-Tes Kislev that just yesterday was brought from the printer. Similarly, we sent it to your colleagues, the ritual slaughterers, R. Yitzchak and R. Shmuel.1 Certainly you will share the text with many others in an appropriate manner. [In this way,] the merit of those many [others] will be dependent on you.

[The following concept can be explained with regard to] these days between Yud-Tes Kislev andChanukah: The Greeks made all the oil in the Sanctuary impure. The explanation of this is that the peripheral wisdom2 became overwhelmingly powerful, as is well known with regard to the sect of Hellenists that existed among the Jewish people at that time.

In our Divine service within our souls, this refers to the intellect of the animal soul, i.e., ordinary mortal intellect, that becomes so overwhelmingly powerful that it defiles the powers of Chabad within the soul. A person cannot comprehend or feel a G‑dly matter or idea, although when deliberating about a material matter, he conceives, comprehends, and grasps it thoroughly. Ultimately, however, a single cruse of oil with the seal of the High Priest is found. With [this oil], the Menorah — and “the lamp of G‑d, the soul of man”3 — is kindled.

On the surface, it is difficult to understand, after such a great descent in which all the oil in one’s soul was defiled, with what and who can elevate him from this deep descent. [In reply,] our Sages tell us that the hand of the High Priest is involved. The High Priest’s distinguishing quality is, that as stated in Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Klei HaMikdash 5:7: “His glory and his honor is to sit in the [Beis Ha]Mikdash the entire day. His home shall be in Jerusalem — “complete fear”4 — and he shall not depart from there.” In every person, and particularly, in the High Priest, this represents the essential point of Jewish [identity] within him, the yechidah of the soul for which no parallel exists within the forces of evil. Therefore it is always entirely intact. It is, however, possible that it will be on the level of sleep before coming to a challenge with regard to faith, as stated in Tanya, ch. 19.

The awakening from sleep before coming to a challenge [experienced by every individual] comes through connection with the High Priest, i.e., the leader of the thousands of the Jewish people, who “sits in the [Beis Ha]Mikdash the entire day and never departs from [Jerusalem,]” [i.e.,] complete fear. He grants all of those who connect with him the cruse of oil from which he can illuminate the lamp of his soul, even though, at the outset, “all the oils were defiled.”

These days must be set aside not only for giving thanks — this refers to the power of faith and acknowledgment alone — but also for giving praise (Shabbos 21b),5 i.e., comprehending and understanding G‑dliness: “Know the G‑d of your fathers.”6 This concept [is manifest through] the teachings of Chassidus Chabad for which Yud-Tes Kislev serves as Rosh HaShanah. [These teachings] draw down the light of the inner dimensions of our Torah. It is, [however,] necessary that they shine within the inner dimensions of our souls.

With wishes for everlasting good in all matters,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee