By the Grace of G‑d
11th of Nissan, 5732
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere

G‑d Bless you all

Greeting and Blessing:

In these days on the eve of Pesach, the festival that marks the “birth” and initiation of our Jewish people, one’s mind turns to reflect on the question: What and how should be this nation’s way of life in order that it realize, in the surest and best possible manner, the purpose and goal of its existence?

This is a broad and multi-faceted subject, and only one aspect of it will be dwelt upon here: Should this nation strive toward a state of life in which it can enjoy the maximum pleasure with the minimum effort; or should it prefer a life of toil and maximum achievement, a life of much action and much accomplishment?

The question is just as pertinent to the individual and his personal life as an individual.

Needless to say, this is not an abstract question, for in resolving this question one way or the other, the foundation is laid for the individual’s concept of the pattern of his life, and how he will respond to what is happening to him and around him, even in matters not directly relating to him, and certainly in matters which directly affect his life.

At first glance, and on the basis of our faith and our Torah, called Toras Chaim and Toras Emes (“Law of Life” and “Law of Truth”), by which we are committed to the principle of the Creator and Master of the world, - including the “small world,” namely, man - is the Essence of Goodness, and that “it is the nature of the Good to do good,” it would appear reasonable to suppose that the highest perfection is to be found in a state where the maximum pleasure - true pleasure - is obtainable without difficulties and without travail; for in such a state “the nature of the Good to do good” would be perceived in fullest measure.

Yet, the Torah, which is Torah - Or (showing things in their true essence), declares, “Man is unto travail born.”

Even the first man (Adam), and before his downfall, was placed in the Garden of Eden wth the assigned task “to till it and guard it,” and only after that did G‑d tell him “of all the trees of the Garden you may eat.”

The explanation of the matter, which also resolved the apparent contradiction indicated above, is also given in the Torah:

Precisely because G‑d desires that man should enjoy the good in its perfection, and human nature is such that a person derives true pleasure only if he is a partner in its attainment, through his own exertion and travail; whereas, on the contrary, if he receives it entirely gratis it is degrading to him, as though he was receiving charity (“bread of shame”) - precisely because of this, the good in its perfection is enjoyed only when a person earns it through hard work, and the harder the effort, the sweeter tastes the fruit of achievement.

This is how it was at the birth of our Jewish nation. The plan of Yetzias Mitzraim (liberation from Egypt) was revealed in G‑d’s words to Moshe Rabbeinu: “When you will take out the people from Egypt, you (all) will serve G‑d at this mountain (Sinai).” To be sure, Yetzias Mitzraim itself was an act of Heavenly grace, and in a manner of wonderful and obvious miracles. However, it was conditioned from the start on serving G‑d (as a hard-working servant). This was the contribution of the nation, its participation in its newly won liberty from Egyptian bondage.

And as it is with the Jewish nation as a whole, so it is with the individual. A person’s striving should be to act and to achieve results; and not merely to act, but to do so with exertion, in terms of “travail” as defined by Toras Emes. Only in this way does a man rise from the state of “Man (adam) being dust (adamah)” to the state of “Man (adam) emulating G‑d (adameh l’Elyon).

Indeed, the birth and whole life of a person are constantly attended by miracles. Even when it appears that everything is proceeding in the “natural course”, our Sages of blessed memory remind us that “a person is unaware of the miracles that happened to him.” This is why we thank G‑d three times a day, in our daily prayers, “For Your miracles that are with us every day.”

So also David, the Sweetener of the Hymns of Israel (and King of Israel) declares on behalf of every Jew, and on behalf of all Israel: “From my mother’s bowels You too me out (Midrash. This refers (also) to the delivery of the Jewish people from the power of Egypt).. I am a wonder to many (Midrash: Many miracles You have wrought for me)..I will enter into (the years of) strength..and to this day I will declare You wondrous works (Midrash:.. In every age, time, and moment)..You will revive me (Midrash: You will take me out of Exile).”

In conclusion: The entire life of a person, from birth and on, as also the entire history of our Jewish nation, thrives on continuous miracles (though these are not always clearly seen), which will culminate in the miracle of the true Geulo of the individual as well as of Klal Yisroel.

And by virtue of our actions and our service throughout the period of Golus, in the daily life of both the individual and Klal, in compliance with the Divine imperative - the ultimate perfection of the whole world is being realized.

The true and complete Geulo through our righteous Moshiach, the fulfillment of the Prophetic promise:

“As in the days of your liberation from the land of Mitzrayim, I will show you wonders.”

With blessing for a Kosher and happy Pesach

/Signed Menachem Schneerson