The following note was written to serve as a Publisher’s Foreword to Kuntreis Bikkur Chicago that was printed at that time. At the time of publication, this foreword was not included in that kuntreis.

[The beginning of the summer, 5704]

In the past, requests have been made of us to publish the sichos, maamarim, and letters of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, in connection with his visit to Chicago in Shvat, 5702. For various reasons, the matter has been delayed until the present date.

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I would like to use this opportunity to respond to many who ask questions and raise difficulties with regard to the sichos and the maamarim.

By and large, the sichos should be understandable to everyone, even those who do not have previous familiarity with Chabad teachings. Nevertheless, they do contain concepts — particularly those mentioned parenthetically — that cannot be understood thoroughly without first studying these teachings or at least knowing the foundations of this approach which are not [necessarily] explained in this sichah. As the well-known general principle states:1 “The words of the Torah are lacking in one place, and complementary in another.”

It is readily apparent that the simile drawn by Rambam in his Introduction to his Commentary to the Mishnah, in his discussion of the study of the secrets of the Torah, can be employed to describe [people in similar circumstances]. For example, a person may raise a difficulty with a sichah or a maamar and dismiss it, because he does not know how to resolve the difficulty he raised, even though his entire knowledge of the teachings and intellectual foundations of Chabad was spawned on that very day. [Indeed,] frequently even this superficial knowledge is erroneous: To quote [Rambam]:

When a person who has mastered the science of medicine, mathematics, or music... but is utterly unknowledgeable when it comes to the sciences of geometry and astronomy is asked what he thinks about the idea that the orb of the sun... is in fact many miles in size....

This clear-thinking person will certainly think that this statement is of no consequence.... When, however, he will train himself to study geometry... he will appreciate that the concept is undoubtedly true... and he will believe it with utter faith.

Certainly this applies with regard to one who has no knowledge at all and has not studied... and has progressed [only] from the wisdom of his mother to the wisdom of his wife. When he is asked about a concept that involves Divine knowledge that is hidden in homilies, there is no doubt that it will be as distant from him as the sun is from the earth, and his mind will be unable to grasp it.

When a person has a medical problem with his feet, he will not go to an architect to seek a cure. Although the architect may have built large and beautiful buildings because of his wisdom, [that does not qualify him in this instance at all]. Instead, the person will ask a podiatrist, for he is an expert in that field.

Indeed, if the architect is honest, he will himself tell the sick person that although he — the architect — is a genius when it comes to building houses, he has no understanding when it comes to medicine. Therefore the sick person should see a doctor.

Similarly, a person who has a difficulty with an entire concept or a particular issue mentioned in a maamar of Chassidus should seek an explanation only from those who study Chassidus and occupy themselves with it.

If despite this, a person will err and direct his question to someone who is not an expert in the teachings of Chassidus, should the person to whom the question was directed be forthright and earnest, he will acknowledge [his inability to deal with the subject], saying: “Although I have achieved prominence in another field of Torah study, I have not occupied myself in the study of Chassidus as one should. Therefore you should turn to a person who is an expert in this field.”