By the Grace of G‑d
In the Days of Preparation
5720—200th Anniversary of
the Histalkus-Hilulo of the
Baal Shem Tov, of blessed
memory. Brooklyn, N.Y.

“To the House of Jacob”—the Women
“And to the Children of Israel”—the Men

G‑d be with you

Greeting and Blessing:

The Days of Preparation for the Receiving of Our Torah call for special, deepfelt reflection on what the Torah is.

The holy Torah is not a collection of laws for special occasions. It embraces the totality of the Jew, from his first moment to his last, and in all the minute aspects of his day-to-day life.

This is the essential meaning of the Torah, Toras Chayyim, the “Law of Life.”

Furthermore. Our Sages of blessed memory explain that the Torah embraces the totality of Creation, citing the example of an architect who, before erecting a building, draws up blueprints and plans, covering every detail of the structure. So the Creator used the Torah as a “blueprint,” as it were, for the Creation, down to the minutest particle in the inanimate material world.

This, indeed, is one of the basic doctrines of General Chassidus as expounded by the Baal Shem Tov, based on his interpretation of Scripture: Forever, O G‑d, Thy words standeth firm in the heavens (Psalms 119:89), and explained at length in the teachings of Chassidus Chabad by the Old Rebbe, of blessed memory, author of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch, especially in his Shaar Ha-Yichud Veha-Emunah

Everything—in the heavens above and down to the earth below, in all their particulars—exists only by virtue of the “word” of G‑d (“Let there be a firmament,” and the other Divine fiats), which created, creates and vitalizes all things continuously, every instant, without interruption.

From this follows the next basic doctrine—

Hashgocho Protis—G‑d’s direct knowledge of, and Providence for, all particular things—extends to each and all minute details of the Creation, from individual man, the supreme creature, to the lowest thing in the inanimate world.

From the above there follows yet another corollary, which is likewise basic to the teachings of Chassidus and which was especially emphasized by the Baal Shem Tov, although it is, of course, a law in the Shulchan Aruch, namely, that—

It is incumbent upon the Jew to serve G‑d in and with all details and aspects of his life and surroundings, beginning with the study of the Torah and the fulfillment of the 613 Divine precepts, down to the simplest acts and conditions of the daily life, and that

Everything in one’s surroundings is a lesson in love of G‑d and fear of G‑d, the primary wellsprings from which the Jew draws the proper inspiration to fulfill the Torah and Mitzvoth, the positive commandments (Mitzvoth-Asseh) and prohibitions (Mitzvoth-Lo Taaseh), permeated with true vitality and fulfilled with perfection.

The concentrated reflection on all that has been mentioned above, reflection with intensity, animation and illumination,

Especially in these auspicious days, on the eve of Mattan Torah, which is also the anniversary of the Histalkus-Hilulo of the Baal Shem Tov, and

Transforming it into the detailed aspects of the daily life, both in one’s personal life as well as in one’s surroundings, and in all aspects of the world, according to the dictum—

Let thy fountains spread forth outside, whereby the fountains of Chassidus, that is, the Inner Light of the Torah, will overflow and irradiate even the “outside”—the external and most distant details and aspects of the entire Creation—

Will speedily bring the true and complete Geuloh, the Redemption through our righteous Moshiach, when the whole Creation will recognize and experience the meaning of I am the L-d, thy G‑d.

With prayerful wishes to receive
the Torah with joy and Pnimius
(inwardness), and a Happy Yom Tov