This letter was addressed to R. Yaakov Pearl.

171 Sivan, 5711,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greetings and blessings,

In connection with your recent visit, I would like to again express my blessing that you and your wife be granted good and long years.

For Jews, the true meaning of “good and long years” are years that we fill with good activities while enjoying tranquility of the body and tranquility of soul; i.e., we fill the days and the years with activities that are connected with the Torah and its mitzvos and which express [and put] into action the three loves [stressed by Chassidus]:2 the love of G‑d, the love of the Torah, and the love of one’s fellow Jew. Such a life brings success and blessing, both to one’s own home and to the homes of one’s children and grandchildren.

As I said when we spoke, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe זצוקללה"ה, נבג"ם, זי"ע,3 had on many occasions shared a teaching from the Baal Shem Tov4 that a Jew must learn a lesson in his service of G‑d from everything that he sees or hears. It is self-understood that we must learn a lesson from ongoing practices [with which we come in contact].

Before we put on clothes or undergarments, they are entirely clean and pressed; everything is found in precisely the proper place. When, however, they have been worn for some time, they become wrinkled, dusty, or dirty. Nevertheless, there is no need to throw away such clothes or such undergarments. Instead, we give them to a laundry or a cleaner. The laundry man places the garment into a container or a machine that holds either warm or hot water, some chemicals and/or soap, which washes off the dust or the dirt. Afterwards, the garments are pressed by putting them under a weight or in a presser that enables the garment to be worn again.

Similar concepts apply to a Jewish soul. When G‑d gives the Jews — whether men, women, or children — their souls, the soul is pure, “finely pressed” and “finely tailored” for every individual, as we say in our morning blessings, “The soul that You placed within me is pure.”

With the passage of time, as we use the soul for worldly matters, the soul becomes “wrinkled” when it is not used for the things that G‑d desires. As such, it is possible that dust or filth becomes attached to it when one does not perform a mitzvah which he must perform, or when he violates a transgression that is forbidden.

Nevertheless, the Torah teaches us that we must not lose hope for the purity of a soul and its fitting place in the life of a Jewish person. We must put it in a place where the temperature is warm; i.e., heat it with the warmth of the Torah and its mitzvos, that it should “cook” in them and feel vitality in them. The warmth must be moist. It should bring about a moist feeling and an attachment to all holy matters. This is brought about by praying with heartfelt sincerity about which it is said:5 “Pour out your heart like water”;6 and through heartfelt Torah study, of which it is said:7 “Yea! All who are thirsty go to the water,” and “the sole meaning of water is Torah study,”8 not ordinary water.

Several other ingredients must be mixed into this water:9 giving tzedakah, keeping kosher, and observing other mitzvos. In this manner, a soul becomes entirely pure once again. [More­over,] if a weight of Torah is placed upon it, even though it may appear that this is a burden, not only does it not cause a disturbance, it presses [the soul] out [like a garment] so that everything is in its place, with its appropriate form and shape. In the analogue, it is through the Torah and its mitzvos that the soul is shaped into what it should be.

I conclude with a wish for long life and good years for you and your wife. May you have much Yiddishe nachas fromyour children. With blessing,