This letter was addressed to the directorate of Collel Chabad andin particular, to R. Shlomo Yehudah Leib Aliazarof, the head of the Collel.

B”H, 23 Teves, 5705, Brooklyn

Greetings and blessings,

I received your letter of condolences at the appropriate time. I waited before responding in the hope that I could clarify the exact date of the passing of my revered father הכ"ם. I have not, however, been able to do so as of yet. The telegram was sent from [Russia] on Aug. 12, i.e., 23 MenachemAv.

My deepest and heartfelt thanks for establishing sessions of study and prayer in memory of my revered father הכ"ם, and also, for the prayers for the health and welfare of my mother for long life and years of well-being.

[Our Sages] (Sukkah 48b) state: “Acts of kindness surpass [charity],” for they reflect a profusion of good (Moreh Nevuchim, Vol. III, ch. 53, quoted in Derech Emunah of the Tzemach Tzedek in his comments on the verse:1 “And G‑d, the L‑rd, made...,” sec. 1, p. 67b).

To explain the practice of comforting mourners according to Chassidus:

As is well known and [explained] in several sources,2 [Divine influence is expressed according to the following pattern]:

a) an arousal from above (which calls forth and provides the strength for an arousal from below);

b) an arousal from below (which must be appropriate for and a repository for the arousal from above [which follows it]);

c) the arousal from above which follows the arousal from below and is delineated by the arousal from below;

d) an arousal from above which transcends both the arousal from below and the arousal from above [which follows it]. (See Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim, the maamar entitled Lehavin Inyan HaTaam, and other sources [where these concepts are explained].)

With regard to the comforting of mourners (which the Baal Halachos Gedolos considers to be a Scriptural commandment; according to Rambam, it is a Rabbinic commandment, see Sefer HaMitzvos, General Principle 1, and commentaries), we find a similar pattern:

a) an arousal from above: As Sotah 14a relates, the Holy One, blessed be He, comforted mourners. (We are told about this and it is revealed to us because this empowers us. And since we are empowered, we also have an obligation) to comfort mourners.

b) an arousal from below, the actual act of comforting [the mourners]. The wording used is: “May the Omnipresent comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” (This includes a preparation for the arousal from above that will follow it.) Just as one comforts mourners [on the earthly plane] through an arousal from below, [there will be]

c) an arousal from above. The Holy One, blessed be He, will comfort the mourner and all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem through rebuilding Zion and Jerusalem and resurrecting the dead. Moreover, there will be

d) an arousal from above that transcends the second arousal from above. For the comfort which the Holy One, blessed be He, grants will be of a multiple nature (not merely a return to the previous state), as implied by the repetition in the verse:3 “Take comfort, take comfort, My people.” For “the glory of this later house will surpass that of the first house.”4 As interpreted by the Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 8, this refers to the Beis HaMikdash of the Era of the Redemption. This interpretation is seconded by Emek HaMelech, Shaar Kiryat Arba, ch. 152. There is no room for one to raise questions, [arguing that] the simple interpretation of the verse [is otherwise as to be explained].

(Bava Basra 3a interprets this as referring to the Second Beis HaMikdash. Nevertheless, a correlation between the two interpretations can be made based on the Midrash as cited in Rashi’s commentary to Yechezkel 43:11, quoted in the introduction of the Tosafos Yom Tov to the tractate of Middos; see also Berachos 4a. For it would have been appropriate for the Beis HaMikdash [of Mashiach] to have been built when the Jews returned from Babylonia; it is only that sin had an effect.)

Note also the conclusion of sec. 3 in the maamar entitled Sos Osis and secs. 5 and 7 of the maamar entitled Lehavin Inyan HaTaam... cited above with regard to the connection between a multiple comfort and the third level of arousal from above [mentioned previously].

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

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson

P.S. Please notify me with regard to all of the expenses associated with the above.