The name of the recipient of this letter was not released.

23 Sivan, 5711,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greetings and blessings,

On the occasion of your bar mitzvah,which is called for Shabbos Parshas Shelach, I would like to repeat the blessings that I gave you verbally when you visited me: that the day of your bar mitzvah should be the beginning of a full Jewish life of Torah and mitzvos, for on the day of your bar mitzvah, you become a full-fledged, adult Jew, with all the privileges of other Jews and also, with all the obligations in the study of the Torah and the observance of the mitzvos that are connected with a Jew.

One of the first bar mitzvahs about which we know is, as described in the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah, sec. 53), the bar mitzvah of Yitzchak, our Patriarch. The Midrash relates that our Patriarch Avraham made a great feast to which he invited many people. Since our Patriarch Avraham was a king, he invited the other kings of his time to the feast, including Og, the king of Bashan.

The Midrash relates that seeing the happiness of Avraham, our aged Patriarch, who was 113 years old at the time, and his only son, Yitzchak, the mighty Og, king of Bashan, said: What can be accomplished by Avraham and Yitzchak and all that they stand for and all that they are striving for? They are so small and weak in number. With one finger, I can obliterate them.

G‑d answered his [boast]: There will come a time when Og, king of Bashan, will see tens of thousands of Jews that will descend from this one child, and they will vanquish him.1

Each of us must derive an individual lesson from the [above story]. At times, one may think that among the other nations, the Jews are — in a material sense — a small and weak people. In particular, this is true, because all those matters for which Jews are prepared to give their lives are not that popular [in the world at large]. And in every generation, there are the Ogs, i.e., great and mighty giants — both physically and materially — who laugh at the Jews and tell [their leaders]: What can you accomplish? With one finger, I can obliterate you and all your Jews.

Our Patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, taught us not to be affected by them. “Avraham was one”2 — he was alone in the world when he started teaching about G‑dliness. He was not ashamed and he did not go into hiding. He went forward with an upraised head. Wherever he went, “he proclaimed the name of G‑d there.”3 He taught everyone about G‑d and showed them how to proceed in His paths.

Therefore, when his only son; i.e., the only son born to Sarah, became bar mitzvah, regardless of the fact that in the world at large there were so many children from other nations, with other faiths and other life-styles, Avraham made a great feast. He used this as an opportunity to spread [the awareness of] G‑dliness.

So that one does not think that self-sacrifice will be unrewarded, the Midrash relates that when one has the true strength not to be affected by jests and not to hide one’s Torah and mitzvos, ultimately, one will be victorious, not only morally, but also, in a material sense, just as Og, king of Bashan, fell in the war that he waged against the Jews, the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.

I hope that you will proceed with the appropriate strength in the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos. Then, G‑d will bring you success and you will have a positive influence on your surroundings, bringing others closer to the Torah and its mitzvos, and spreading light in all your surroundings.

With the blessing that your parents, your grandfather, and your grandmother will receive much nachas, Yiddishe nachas, from you.