This letter was addressed to Rabbi Yaakov Katz, one of the initial supporters of Lubavitch activities in America.

B”H, Thursday, 24 Sivan, 5704

Greetings and blessings,

I was temporarily constrained, because I was busy preparing Kuntreis Chicago, Kovetz Lubavitch, Vol. II, and the like for print. [Hence,] I have not answered your letter [sent] before Shavuos until now. I ask your forgiveness.

The booklet [entitled] Shavuos had a great effect. This motivates us to publish a series of similar booklets. In the name of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, I would like to thank you for taking a major role in spreading [these publications].

Three years ago, when my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita,founded Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, many people protested: “In America, such an organization cannot exist. America is different. Many things which we are forbidden to do must be done in America. In America, [everything] is permitted.”

Our activities have shown us, however, that in America, we can and we must have an educational system based on purity and holiness, textbooks and reading material that are totally pure from heresy, clubs of children born here in this country who work [to spread the observance of] Shabbos and Yiddishkeit, etc.

We must, however, have people who share the burden, because the task is immense and of great importance.

For this reason, it is very important for us that every devoted friend and supporter bring his friends [to join in these efforts].

This week’s Torah reading tells the story of the spies. The spies were “leaders of the Jewish people,”1 and “at that time, they were honorable.”2 Even afterwards, they began by saying: “[The land] is flowing with milk and honey, but the people who inhabit it are fierce... Amalek dwells in south”;3 all of which are true statements. Nevertheless, their conclusion, “We cannot ascend against that people for they are too strong for us,” was false. Moreover, as the Talmud (Sotah 35a) clarifies, it involved heresy. The intent was that even the owner (G‑d) is not capable of removing his furnishings (the nations He placed there) from there.

Similarly, there are those who claim that America is “flowing with milk and honey”; we have all the material pleasures and we are engrossed in them. We are surrounded by Amalekites. Thus how is it possible to speak to a person who is far removed from Judaism about conducting himself according to a strict Torah and mitzvos lifestyle? Here [— they claim —] is not the place for this.

Such an approach runs directly opposite to our faith. We must have the inner resolve, as Calev said: “Let us surely ascend” and as a result, “it [will be] within our capacity.”4

With the blessing “Immediately to teshuvah; immediately to Redemption,”

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee