By the Grace of G‑d
In the Days of Selichos 5715. Brooklyn, N.Y.

To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere,

G‑d bless you

Greetings and Blessing:

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah I extend my prayerful wishes to my brethren, every Jew and Jewess in the midst of our people Israel, the time hallowed traditional blessing of “Shono toivo umesuko”—a good and sweet year.

The celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the year, has been ordained by our Torah to take place on the anniversary of the Creation, but not on the first day of Creation. It has been made to coincide with the sixth day of Creation, the day when Man was created.

The significance of this day, and of this event, is not in the fact that a new creature was added to Creation, a creature one plane higher than the rest of the animal kingdom, as the animal is superior to plant, and plant to mineral.

The significance lies in the fact that the new creature—Man—was essentially different from the others.

For it was man who recognized the Creator in and through Creation, and, what is more, brought about the elevation of the entire Creation to that recognition and thus to the fulfillment of its Divine design and purpose. Since such recognition and appreciation of the Creator is the ultimate purpose of the Creation.

One of the main distinguishing features which set Man apart from all other creatures, is the free choice of action which the Creator bestowed upon him.

Man can use this special Divine gift in two opposing directions he may, G‑d forbid, choose the way leading to self-destruction and the destruction of everything around him; or, he can choose the right way of life, which would elevate him and the Creation with him to the highest possible perfection.

And to help us recognize and choose the right path, we were given the Torah, which is Divine and eternal, hence its teachings are valid for all times and in all places.

It is not possible for man to make his choice unaided, merely by virtue of his intellect, for the human intellect is limited. The intellect can only serve to discover and bring forth that inner absolute intuition and faith in things which lie beyond and above the realm of the intellect; the faith and intuition which are the heritage of every Jew, therewith to illuminate his entire being and to guide him in his daily living to a life inspired by Torah and Mitzvoth.

On Rosh Hashanah man stands not only before the Divine Judgment, but also before his own.

The verdict of his own judgment, with regard to the future, must be: that he takes upon himself to fulfill his duty, that is, to work for the fulfillment—in himself and in his surroundings—of the call:

“Come, let us worship, bow down and kneel before G‑d our Maker,” a call for absolute submission to G‑d first sounded by the first man, Adam, on the day of his creation, on the first Rosh Hashanah.

This can be attained only through a life inspired and guided by the Torah.

And that he must once and for all abandon the opposite road, which can only lead to destruction and doom.

Let no one think: who am I and what am I to have such tremendous powers of building or destruction.

For we have seen—to our sorrow—what even a small quantity of matter can do in the way of destruction through the release of atomic energy. If such power is concealed in a small quantity of matter—for destructiveness, in denial of the design and purpose of Creation, how much greater, is the creative power entrusted to every individual to work in harmony with the Divine purpose, for in this case one is also given special abilities and opportunities by Divine Providence to attain the goal for which we have been created: the realization of a world in which

“Each creature shall recognize that Thou didst create him, and every breathing soul shall declare: ‘G‑d, the G‑d of Israel, is King, and His reign is supreme over all.’”

With the blessing of

Kesivo vachasimo toivo,

/Menachem Schneerson/