This letter was addressed to R. Shalom Mendel Kalmenson on behalf of a group of Lubavitcher shochtim, refugees from Russia, who were sent to work in Ireland.

B”H, 18 Elul, 5708

Greetings and blessings,

I was happy to receive your letter reporting your — i.e., the contingent of shochtim — successful arrival in Dublin.1 As you requested, enclosed is the kuntreis for Chai Elul that was brought from the binder yesterday afternoon. [It is being sent] to be made available to people at large and also to draw near those who are at present distant from the Torah and its mitzvos as a whole and the teachings of the Alter Rebbe and the Baal Shem Tov in particular.

Since it became your lot to spend a duration of time in “the outer reaches,” you will certainly use that [opportunity] to fulfill the vision of spreading the wellsprings outward as that relates to these “outer reaches.”

Certainly you have heard the adage of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita:“A shochet is not a butcher, ‘a man with a knife in his hand.’”2

These days between Rosh HaShanah and Rosh HaShanah — i.e., Yom Kippur, which is also called Rosh HaShanah, as stated in Tosafos, Nedarim 23b (see Sefer Chassidim, sec. 258 and the maamarim entitled BaYom Hahu Yitaka and Yechayeinu MiYomayim in Likkutei Torah) — contain several deep allusions. Among them:

Every living being — and the Jewish people are called “alive”3 — should take it to heart that G‑d has commanded us to observe and to celebrate Rosh HaShanah, not on [the anniversary of] the First Day of Creation when heaven and earth and all their components were brought into being (Bereishis Rabbah, ch. 1; see Tosafos, s.v., Zos, Chagigah 12b), nor on [the anniversary of] the Seventh Day of Creation which G‑d chose to sanctify above all the other days. Instead, G‑d commanded us to observe Rosh HaShanah on the anniversary of the creation of man, the created being who immediately, on the day of his creation, proclaimed: “G‑d is King; He clothes Himself in pride...,” “Come, let us prostrate ourselves and bow, bend the knee before G‑d our Maker,”4 as related by our Sages (Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar, ch. 11; Zohar I, 221b). Through this proclamation, Adam the first man drew down [bittul to all the created beings], elevating them to the level where they recognized that “G‑d is King; He clothes Himself in pride.”

This also reflects the concept of ritual slaughter (except that [Adam’s act] was performed in a different mode). For the term veshochat (“And he slaughtered”) is interpreted (Chulin 30b) as meaning umashach (“And he drew after”); i.e., [through ritual slaughter,] the animal is taken to an entirely different plane. This comes through taking its life (see Shabbos 75a), [i.e., removing] its vitality and vigor from the place where it was [focused] until now.

After this, [the meat] can be transformed into the blood and flesh of a man (adam) who is given that name because he resembles (adamah) the sublime man.5 The circumstances of the present time do not enable me to elaborate.

With wishes for a kesivah vachasimah tovah for you and the entire contingent in both material and spiritual matters,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee