This letter was sent to the sailors and the officers of the ship Misgav who were visiting in the United States.

Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5711,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greetings and blessings,

I was happy to hear from your friend Mr. Yitzchak Gittleson about your visit to the US. I am sending via him greetings of “May you come in peace,” greetings, and good wishes.

It is self-understood that one of the purposes of your visit to the US or to other countries is to gain honor and praise for the settlement in our Holy Land, may it be rebuilt, by serving as an example and a symbol of the development of the lifestyle in our Holy Land. You will present before all [the people] the best of the strengths of our people, that which is most important and most elevated.

What do we possess that is most important and most elevated in the eyes of all the nations?

From the time that Israel became a nation, i.e., from the time of the Giving of the Torah — the event that we celebrate in the approaching Shavuos holiday to be celebrated in the coming days — Israel was always “the least among the nations”;1 “the least” in a quantitative sense. Nevertheless, from that very time, [the Jews] served as an example and a guide for the entire world in a qualitative sense, i.e., in a spiritual sense, [through] spreading the idea of the oneness of G‑d and through keeping “the path of G‑d, to perform charity and justice,”2 and the like.

From that time until the present, in every generation, [nations] have risen up against us. Despite that, the Children of Israel are alive and exist, while those who rose up against us — Assyria, Babylonia, Greece, and Rome — were ultimately destroyed without leaving any remnant or trace.

From all the above, it is clear that the secret of our nation’s existence is not dependent on quantity, but on quality. [We exist] not because of physical power, but because of the eternal spiritual values that our nation internalized and became one with — to quote the verse:3 “You who cleave to G‑d your L‑rd are all alive today.”

This also applies to your visits in every place you go. You desire to present the uniqueness of Jewish life and the fundamental thrust of the Jewish nation. In this manner, it is distinguished and this is its unique positive quality. You must call attention to and emphasize the spiritual powers of the Jewish people, [their ability] to bring out the power of spirit over matter, to recall the wording of our Prophet:4 “‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit,’ says G‑d, Commander of legions.”

With blessings for a happy holiday and for success in fulfilling your true mission and your soul’s responsibility in this world.