This letter was addressed to Rabbi Avraham Hecht, a graduate of the Lubavitcher Yeshivah, who was serving as a Rosh Yeshivah in Dorchester, Mass., at that time, on the occasion of his engagement.

B”H, 2 Nissan,
the Hilula (yahrzeit) of the Rebbe (Rashab) [5704],
may his soul rest in Gan Eden

Greetings and blessings,

In response to your invitation to take part in the celebration in honor of your engagement: I would like to extend my blessings that [the good wishes] in the tenaim (engagement contract) become manifest for you, as it is written:1 “A man who finds a wife finds goodness and evokes favor from G‑d who is good.”

This refers to all types of goodness, both material and spiritual, as evident from our Sages’ statement (Yevamos 63b): “ ‘A man who finds a wife finds goodness.’ If the verse is speaking about [the woman] herself.... If the verse is speaking about the Torah....”

Just as a person’s [makeup] includes two elements: his soul (which is the primary and inner element) and his body (which is secondary — see Tanya, Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah, ch. 6 — and external); so, too, his needs are divided in two:

a) the needs of the soul, the Torah and its mitzvos, which are therefore called eating and drinking, [e.g.,] Koheles Rabbah (2:24), and are [as necessary] for the soul as eating and drinking are for the vitality of the body; and

b) the needs of the body which include all material matters.

Our Sages state that Torah study is equivalent to all the mitzvos (Peah 1:1) and that study is great, because it leads to deed (Kiddushin 40b). As Rashi states, [this will cause] a person to possess both [positive qualities]. {Note carefully the wording of the Alter Rebbe, Hilchos Talmud Torah, ch. 4, laws 2-3. See also the commentary of Rambam to the mishnah in Peah, loc. cit., and the statements in Likkutei Torah, the maamar entitled Vayidaber... Anochi in Parshas Bamidbar.} This refers to the needs of the soul.

And with regard to the needs of the body, our Sages (Yevamos 63a) state: “In which manner does a woman help a man? A man brings wheat. Can he chew wheat? [He brings] flax. Can he wear flax?” These, [food and clothing, are general categories] including all of a person’s needs, as reflected in Ramban’s commentary to Devarim 10:18.

[As one looks] from a more inward perspective, [he sees that] through the Torah, one draws down all the revelations both with regard to one’s spiritual life and with regard to one’s physical life. In this vein, our Sages (Berachos 61b) compare the Torah to the setting for our lives.2 [These revelations] are drawn down to the physical plane — “caus[ing] blessing to rest within your house”3 — and become actual through a woman’s [influence] (Yevamos 62b; note the explanation in Likkutei Torah, the conclusion of the parshah VeZos HaBerachah).

If that is not sufficient, [the verse continues:] “And evokes favor from G‑d who is good.” For with regard to Torah study, our Sages (Yoma 72b) state that if a person does not merit (— [zocheh, Hebrew for “merit” also relates to the term] zichuch, meaning ““refinement” —) the Torah becomes [a potion of death].”4

This statement should not be questioned on the basis of our Sages’ statement (the beginning of Eichah Rabbah) that [even if a person studies the Torah after having “abandoned G‑d,”] the light of the Torah will cause him to revert towards good. As [the Alter Rebbe mentions in] Hilchos Talmud Torah, loc. cit, and in the Kuntreis Acharon, [the apparent contradiction can be resolved].

Similarly, in Sotah 17a, as Rashi explains: “And thus....”5 And with regard to material matters, our Sages state (Pesachim 119a) and the Rashbam explains: “Through this....”6 See Kuntreis U’Maayon, maamar 6.

For this reason, our Sages (Yevamos 63b) immediately explain the blessing [associated with the discovery of a wife, focusing on the continuation of the verse, “A man who finds a wife finds goodness”]: “and evokes favor from G‑d” which they interpret as implying that “his sins are shut off.”7 Avonosov, the term used for “his sins,” can be understood as meaning “his crookedness and meandering, i.e., his straying from the path of the King.

[As the verse implies, the correction of this tendency] comes “from G‑d,” and more particularly, from the name Havayah [which the verse uses]. As explained in the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah 5666, and in the maamar entitled Anochi Havayah Elokecha, 5688, [influence from the name Havayah causes a person] not to deviate right or left and to focus on the ultimate truth both in Torah study and in his Divine service.

With regard to Torah study, this is accomplished through studying Pnimiyus HaTorah. Simply put, [this refers to] studying Chassidus and laboring on it until one understands, as is explained by the Rebbe whose hilula we commemorate8 today in Kuntreis Etz HaChayim, and as alluded to in Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 26. See also Likkutei Torah, the maamar entitled Velo Tashbis.

With regard to Divine service, this is accomplished through Yiras Shomayim, the fear of G‑d, and through gentle, accommodating [humility].9 As the maamar entitled Anochi cited above states: “Although [the School of Shammai] were sharper... because of the bittul which characterized [the School of Hillel], they were able to become mediums to appreciate the ultimate truth.”

With blessings of mazal tov and [with the blessing] “Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption,”

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee