This letter was sent to Rabbi Chayim Hillel Azimov.

22 Iyar, 5711,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greetings and blessings,

I duly received your letter from 12 Iyar in which you describe the nature and manner of your work in the Talmud Torah1 in your community and also your tutelage of the students whom you teach in their homes.

It would be appropriate for you to send here a list of the names of the students — both those who study in the Talmud Torah and those with whom you study at home — and their mothers’ names so they can be read at the gravesite 2 at a time of favor.

It is superfluous to explain the value of this lofty work or to elaborate on the concept that the efforts [to increase] the number of students have no limits. One should not remain content with the number that are studying at present, as evident from our Sages’ comments3 on the verse:4 “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand.”5 And it is also known that “Whoever maintains one Jewish soul is considered as if he maintained the entire world.”6 Certainly you are doing everything possible in this regard. Nevertheless, “encouragement should be given only to the eager”7 and therefore I made the statements above.

You have certainly heard the adage of the Rebbe Maharash: “Though good is good, is not better, better?” The time has come to seek counsel as to how to direct the students — and particularly the students who come to the Talmud Torah — and teach them not only “the light of the Torah and the candle of mitzvah,”8 but also [expose them to] “the luminary of the Torah,”9 i.e., the teachings of Chassidus and conduct according to the ways of Chassidus. [It is] understood that this should be applied to every individual in a manner appropriate to his present situation and standing, as explained in the sichah of Lag BaOmer that is included.10

I ask you to convey my blessing — a blessing for success in your work — to all those who join together with you in the above matters. May our Sages’ statement:11 “One who comes to purify is assisted,” be fulfilled on your behalf and may you be given powers that come as a result of the assistance of the Torah and its mitzvos. (See Likkutei Torah, the maamar entitled Havayah Li B’Ozri for Shemini Atzeres, sec. 5.)

May everyone who makes an increase be granted an increase,12 an increase of strength and vitality with regard to both general and individual matters.

In response to your note regarding [the description of the G‑dly soul as] “an actual [part of G‑d] from Above”:13

a) The Alter Rebbe would call Atzilus, Elyon, “the sublime”; this is stated in the maamar entitled Oteh Or KaSalma, 5672.

b) [With regard to] “From Above”: see Sefer HaKitzurim LeTanya, p. 73, which states that it refers to Atika Kadisha. Thus it is obvious that this is a level above Atzilus and that need not [be clarified] by the word mamash, “actual.”

c) In a letter from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe (from the year 5698,14 with G‑d’s help it will be printed over the course of time), he relates at length how the Tzemach Tzedek meditated extensively over the meaning of these words, for “from Above” means “above any level of which we would think there can be nothing higher than it.” If so, what is meant by the addition [of the word] mamash, “actual,” something tangible that can be felt? Seemingly, this represents a contradiction.

The Alter Rebbe answered him: “‘From Above,’ refers to ratzo, [the inherent desire within the soul and the world to rise upward]. ‘Actual’ (mamash) refers to shov, [the return to the material plane based on the awareness that this is G‑d’s intent].”

My understanding of the meaning of this is that the shov enables the soul to reveal two opposite tendencies:

a) [a connection to] actual substance, things that can be felt; and

b) a lofty level that transcends all possible ascents, as reflected in the well-known explanations of the advantage of shov over ratzo. See also the explanations of Tanya by R. Shmuel Gronam [Esterman]15 — printed in mimeograph — p. 144.

With blessing for success in your work and for good health,