This letter was addressed to R. Shmaya Krinsky, a ritual slaughterer in Boston.

B”H, 19 Tammuz, 5708

Greetings and blessings,

Your son-in-law, R. Yehoshua Goodman, conveyed your questions to me. In response to them:

a) What is the source for our Sages’ statement quoted by Ramban in his Commentary on the Torah, Bereishis 2:9: “Three told the truth and perished from this world: the snake, the spies, and Doeg the Edomite”?

It appears that his source is the Midrash, Pirkei Rabbeinu HaKadosh, ch. 3, sec. 47. Nevertheless, the version of Ramban differs from the version before us [in the present edition of that text]. For in the text I saw (at the conclusion of Sefer Kolbo and in Otzar HaMidrashim, [edited by R.] Eizenstein), the wording is: “Three told the truth and perished from this world and the World to Come: the spies, Doeg the Edomite, and the sons of Rimon of Baeros.”

[Some points] to note: i) The Alter Rebbe cites this statement of our Sages in his letter of Tuesday, [Parshas] Nitzavim, 5571 (printed in Beis Rebbe, ch. 20).1 It is, however, impossible to verify which version [he favors], since he mentions only [the person] relevant to the point under discussion [there], Doeg.

ii) One should not question this statement of our Sages on the basis of the statements of Bereishis Rabbah, ch. 19, which state that the snake spoke falsehood. For both points are true. He perished from the world because he told the truth, but in order that his lures be accepted by Chavah, he also spoke lies. See also the maamar entitled VehaNachash Hayah Arum in Torah Or and in Toras Chayim.

b) You question the fact that in some letters that you saw, the day of the week is not mentioned, merely the day of the month, while Ramban (Shmos 20:8) states: “The Jews count all the days for the sake of the Shabbos, the first day of the Shabbos,the second day of the Shabbos, etc. For this is part of the mitzvah we have been commanded concerning it (the Shabbos), to remember it always, every day.”

I do not consider the above problematic, [because]:

i) Even according to Ramban, the mitzvah [to recall the Shabbos] does not apply throughout the entire day, like the mitzvah of Torah study. Instead, by recalling it once, one fulfills his obligation. And one says before the Song of the Day: “Today is the first day of the Shabbos.

ii) In my humble opinion, it is clear that Ramban’s opinion is not to obligate one to count every day for the sake of the Shabbos, but merely if it happens that he is counting the days of the week, he should count them for the sake of the Shabbos, paralleling the mitzvah of [constructing] a guardrail.2 [In Ramban’s statement that] this applies “continually, every day,” “every day” means “not only on Shabbos and Friday.” This explains why the dates mentioned in the Tanach do not mention the day of the week (see Rosh HaShanah 3a).

c) It appears that Ramban’s opinion is not accepted even as an initial preferred approach, for he, nonetheless, forbade counting the days of the week in any manner other than for the sake of the Shabbos. And I have never heard people taking care not to say or not to write Sunday, Monday, etc.

Our emissaries, R. Uri Mashtilin3 and R. Noson Gurary are presently in your community. They have certainly told you about the sichos of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, with regard to the great importance and necessity of these travels. There is no doubt in my mind that despite your other involvements, you will lend assistance and endeavor that this visit to your community will bring about the desired outcome to the fullest extent, involving all details, indeed even minute details. I am writing about this only as an additional measure.

Concluding with wishes for everlasting good in all matters,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson

Afterwards, I found our Sages’ statement: “Three told the truth...,” in the Machzor Vitri, in the portion of the manuscript printed at the conclusion of Menoras HaMeor by R. Y. Alnakavah (Vol. IV, p. 568). There it states: “Three acknowledged the truth and perished from this world and the World to Come. They are: Doeg the Edomite, the sons of Rimon of Baeros, and the spies. Rabbi Meir states: ‘Also the son of the Amalekite convert.’”

The notes there cite Avos DeRabbi Nasan, version 2, ch. 45; Pirkei Rabbeinu HaKadosh, Sheinblum Publications (in the text Sheloshah Seforim), p. 27a; Akad HaAggados, Horowitz Publications, sec. 133.