This letter was addressed to R.Z.

B”H, Erev Rosh HaShanah, 5709

Greetings and blessings,

My letter and the kuntreis for Chai Elul certainly reached you. [Please] acknowledge your receipt of it.

At the end of the year, as I was reviewing your previous correspondence, I saw a question of yours that I had not answered as of yet. I ask forgiveness for delaying until the present.

The question: Rashi’s commentary to Michah 6:9 states: “‘The perceptive [man] discerns Your name’ — This is the source for [the teaching] that everyone who recites each day a verse which begins and concludes with the same [letters] as begin and conclude his name will be saved by the Torah from Gehinnom.” You ask: What is Rashi’s intent in this statement?

[Rashi] is referring to the custom cited in many Siddurim — and it is also Chabad custom — to recite each day a verse that begins [and concludes] with the same letters as begin and conclude one’s name. We, however, add to Rashi’s teaching and recite this verse at the conclusion of [the passage] Elokai netzor in the Shemoneh Esreh. Thus [we recite the verse] several times each day.

As of now, I have found this custom mentioned1 in Sefer HaZechirah, Vol. I; Avodas Yisrael... ([which states that] even a woman [should follow this practice]); Siddur Nihora HaShaleim. As of yet, however, I have not found it in the Shelah, the Kitzur Shelah, and the Siddur Yaavetz, although these are cited as sources by others.

With regard to [what we do in] practice, I asked my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, and he told me that when he learned — and began — to pray, the Rebbe [Rashab נ"ע] — to differentiate between the living and those eternally alive — directed him to recite at the conclusion of the Shemoneh Esreh the verses:2 “May G‑d bring to consummation on my behalf...,” and “He leads them out from darkness...”3 (although [there is another verse] listed as a sign for the name Yitzchak: “G‑d, O L‑rd,... You protected... armed battle”).4 [He also told him] that [these verses] should be recited [after] every Shemoneh Esreh, on all days.

This must be made known: There are those who question whether the parenthetic statements in Rashi’s commentary to the Tanach were authored by Rashi himself or by a later authority on Jewish customs. Support [for the latter argument is that] these customs are not cited by the Rishonim, nor in the texts of Rashi’s disciples.

I found it stated that the notes of ר"ע were included in Rashi’s commentary in the Amsterdam printing of the Tanach from the year 5460. In the Introduction, it explains that the intent is R. Ovadiah the prophet.5 This text is not accessible to me to clarify the matter. Perhaps the above note to Rashi’s commentary in Michah is among these notes.

To conclude with blessings for a kesivah vachasimah tovah for you and the entire company,

M. Schneerson

[The dispatch of] my letter was delayed until after Rosh HaShanah. Enclosed are 3 maamarim of Chassidus. Pleaseacknowledgeyour receipt of them. They are for the entire company which you headed from before. With blessings for a gmar vachasimah tovah.

M. S.