This letter was addressed to David Leib Meckler, the editor of the Previous Rebbe’s Memoirs in Yiddish.

B”H, 22 Teves, 5708

Greetings and blessings,

I heard that you returned from your visit to Europe. I hope that it was fruitful in all areas. I am happy to send you a copy of Sefer HaZichronos (Memoirs)from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita. If you desire to receive more copies, let us know and we will send them to you.

[To add] several words with regard to the significance of the Memoirs: In the Torah, every detail contains great importance. [Indeed,] even the sequence of the Torah teaches us much.

The word Torah relates to the word horoah, meaning “instruction.” Implied is that the Torah is not a book of stories, but rather a text which teaches. The order of the Torah is that Bereishis comes first, and then Shmos, Vayikra, and the others. The reason for this is not merely that this was the chronological order in which these events took place. That would be sufficient for a history book, but not for a book which is intended to chart a path for [our] lives.

In addition, and perhaps this is most fundamental, the reason is that this reflects the pattern of instruction through which an individual, a community, and an entire nation structure their lives.

Such a pattern of instruction does not begin with positive commandments and negative commandments. Instead, it relates and presents real-life examples of individuals and entire generations, ancestors, relatives, and just ordinary people who lived in the desired pattern of life. They “cleared the path,” providing a clear example of how we should lead such a life, how we can overcome different challenges that arise, and that this alone is the correct path in life.

Only afterwards comes the directives — arise and do, abide and refrain from acting — as an almost self-understood conclusion from the previous examples of life experience.

The importance of the Memoirs is of a similar vein. The primary intent was not meant to be — however important that [goal] is — telling the life history of so-and-so and so-and-so, in order that we know the history or the personalities of the previous generations.

[Instead,] the primary intent is to show a living example of how a Jew — a Rav, a student, a merchant, a craftsman, or a beggar, each one in his own field a prominent Jew — carried out his life.

This will point out the proper direction for our times and make it easier to overcome the difficulties that are connected with proceeding in that path.

To conclude by again expressing a heartfelt yasher koach for your great efforts in this important endeavor.

With appreciation and greetings,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee