Mr. ——
Hartford, Connecticut

Greeting and Blessing:

I just received your letter in which you write about your and your wife’s forthcoming trip to the Holy Land. I am glad to note that your plans include visits to Kfar Chabad and other Chabad institutions.

I wish you and your wife a very pleasant and successful trip. In your case it is surely unnecessary to remind you that the transportation should be arranged in a kosher way, which excludes going by a Jewish ship which travels on Shabbat. As you are no doubt flying, may G‑d grant that it be a safe flight there and back, and that your stay in the Holy Land should be truly inspiring. And I mean inspiring not only to you, but also to others with whom you will come in contact. May you bring a goodly measure of this inspiration back with you, to use it to good advantage in your personal and public affairs.

I would also like to add the following point, which again is no doubt superfluous, yet is one that can stand repetition. If going to a foreign country necessitates obtaining a visa from the government of that country, then when one desires to visit a land which is called “The Palace of the King”—the King of the Universe—a special “visa” is surely required. There is this difference, however. In the case of the requisite formal visa for any country, the conditions for a successful application may or may not be fulfilled. However, with regard to the “visa” to the Holy Land—which is in the form of an addition in matters of holiness—this is always within reach.

Since your trip is taking place in the week of the portion of Kedoshim, there is a rather significant message in the general theme of this portion, as pointed out in the Ramban at the beginning of Kedoshim. There we find the famous comment that the commandment “You shall be holy” refers to self-discipline in the area of the permissible, for otherwise, since the Torah does not set limitations in the area of the permissible, a person might feel free to indulge, and overindulge, in permitted pleasures, to the extent of becoming a disgrace, while remaining within the “letter of the Law.” And inasmuch as the Torah commands us, “You shall be holy”—by practicing holiness even in regard to permitted things—it is clear that this too is within the reach of every Jew and Jewess. And, needless to say, there is always room for progress in all matters of goodness and holiness.

With blessing,