This letter was addressed to R. Avraham Eliyahu Axelrod, an active communal Rabbi in Baltimore.

B”H, 11 Nissan, 5706

Greetings and blessings,

Last week, we were visited by your uncle, Gershon b’reb Meir Sofer from Valdosta, Georgia. There was an initiative in his community to send a Torah to Europe. Your uncle charged us to act as the agents to accomplish this mitzvah. We have already purchased the Torah scroll and it will be sent in the coming days.

When [your uncle] visited my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, he was aroused with a good-spirited feeling to endeavor to participate in the efforts that are being directed by my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, through Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch and MachneYisrael to afford spiritual assistance to our brethren in Europe whose lives were saved. When I saw the great reverence and feelings of dearness your uncle held in his heart for my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, I said that I would ask you to write to him to motivate him and strengthen [his resolve] in the above with the additional power.

Parenthetically, [your uncle] told me that his father (i.e., your grandfather) wrote a Torah scroll at the time of the birth of one of the Rebbeim. Do you know any particulars about this?1

You have certainly seen my notes at the conclusion of the text Toras Shalom and the Haggadah Im Mareh Mekomos.2 If you have any comments with regard to the above, please notify me.

After the printing, I became doubtful with regard to the statement I made that the intention associated with the letters of the name [Havayah] in the Great Hallel3is a matter relevant to people at large.4 (There are few other instances [where Kabbalistic intentions are mentioned] in the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur.) Now certainly, the Alter Rebbe did not copy the psalm into the Siddur by hand. Instead, he indicated that it should be printed in this place in the Shabbos prayers. If so, it is possible to say (although [this supposition] is slightly forced) that the printer inserted the letters of the name [Havayah] on his own (copying the psalm from the Siddur of the AriZal [where it is printed] with these letters). [Indeed,] I have heard similar statements with regard to the vowelization of [G‑d’s] name in the Shemoneh Esreh.

With blessings for a kosher and happy Pesach,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Executive Director