This letter is addressed to Reb Moshe Zalman Feiglin, pioneer of the Lubavitch community of Australia.

B”H, Shushan Purim, 5706

Greetings and blessings,

Your letter of Feb. 19 was gratefully received. We are happy to hear of the funds you transferred, for the needs here are of course very great. Aside from the fact that we maintain 25 (Beis Sarah and Beis Rivkah) girls’ schools, the expenses for our publications are very great, for they are not printed for profit. Substantial quantities are transported to Europe and the like.1 ([In this,] Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, Machne Israel, and Kehot work hand in hand.) It is thus obvious that any help is timely.

With regard to the mitzvos of Purim, our Sages (Megillah 7a) [seek to define the following two obligations]: mishloach manos ish lerei’eihu — “sendingpresents of food, one man to another,” and matanos laevyonim — “gifts to the poor.” [Noting the plural and singular forms of these terms, they rule that the mitzvah is fulfilled by sending at least] two presents of food to one person and two gifts [usually of money] to two poor people.

According to Chassidus, this can be explained as follows: As is well known, the miracle of Purim involved the salvation of the Jewish people both bodily and spiritually (in contrast to Chanukah, which involved only spiritual salvation — see the maamar entitled Inyan Chanukah in Torah Or; see also Levush as quoted by Turei Zahav to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 670:3).

The Jews merited this [twofold salvation] because of their self-sacrificein sanctifying G‑d’s Name. They devoted themselves to G‑d with a simple will that transcends reason and understanding. For had they just been willing to sacrifice their faith, Haman would have done them no harm, for his decree was only against Jews, as explained in Chassidus, in the maamarim on Purim.

The ultimate goal of mesirus nefesh is that this self-sacrifice should influence a Jew’s day-to-day life; i.e., that his G‑dly soul alone should master his body and animal soul. The intermediary [that allows for communication] between the two is the intellective soul, as stated in the maamar entitled Rava Chazia (delivered by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, in 5690 [1930], when he first visited the U.S.), et al.

Now we know that “The only poor man is he who lacks understanding and the only rich man is he who possesses understanding.”2 Therefore we cannot describe the intellective soul (and certainly not the G‑dly soul) as truly “poor.” The body and the animal soul, by contrast, can be described in this manner.

This is the meaning of the mitzvos of Purim. After their self-sacrifice in that era, [the Jews] were given mitzvos which indicate that the G‑dly soul must draw down its mesirus nefesh both to the animal soul and to the body. The gifts of matanos laevyonim must therefore be given to two poor people.

With regard to sending presents to one’s friends: The intellective soul is called a “friend” of the G‑dly soul, and for that reason it can serve as its intermediary, as explained in the above maamarim. (This mitzvah, too, involves two presents, for any genuine intellectual idea is [twofold]. One arrives at a conclusion after considering both that idea and the opposing concept; [a perspective characterized by] Chesed and [one characterized by] Gevurah; a question and a resolution. This is the nature of intellect, as is explained in many sources.)

Just as these distinctions exist within an individual, so, too, there are parallel distinctions between people. There are people who concern themselves only with bodily things; there are some who have a natural feeling for others, or at least for their own relatives; and others who devote attention to contemplating their deeds and consider logically how they should conduct themselves; — but all this is based on mortal reason. They are, for the moment, not interested in learning about the Torah and G‑dly reason.

[Into this setting] comes the holy charge, given to every individual according to his potential — to see that all of the kinds of people mentioned above are brought to the truth of the Torah and its mitzvos. [This constitutes the giving of a spiritual] mishloach manos and matanos laevyonim to many people, as mentioned above.

This is the great merit that you possess — that, while living in a [spiritual] wilderness where there are at present so few who observe the Torah and its mitzvos, as reflected by your letter, you should be the one who disseminates and endeavors to fortify [the study of] Torah and [the practice of] Yiddishkeit through your personal example and speech, and by bringing them the light of the Torah through various books, articles, publications, and essays. The merit of the many is dependent on you.3

I am certain that you will continue to advance your above-described work with renewed energy and with the help of your family, and I conclude with blessings for a kosher and joyous Pesach.

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

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Executive Director