By the Grace of G‑d
28th of Sivan, 5738
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dr. I. Gersh
4917 – 14th Ave.
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219

Greeting and Blessing:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of June 28th, in which you ask whether it would not be appropriate to commemorate certain miraculous events that occurred recently.

In general, the attitude of our Sages of blessed memory in such matters is well known. It is that, although we must express gratitude to G‑d for miraculous events, and indeed Hakoras HaTov is one of the most important obligations, they have generally refrained from making public national and permanent commemorations of all miraculous events in Jewish history, except for specific cases. Needless to say, our long Jewish history has seen very many miraculous events, and as is mentioned in the Haggadah of Pesach, “in each and every generation there arises those would annihilate us, but the Holy One blessed be He saves us from their hands.” Therefore, except for the three major festivals, as well as Purim and Chanukah, and certain other cases, we have no precedent of commemorating other miraculous events on a national scope. This is not the place to go into the reasons for this.

On the other hand, as mentioned above, Hakoroas HaTov is very important, and we certainly must not forget the miraculous occurrences which G‑d’s benevolent Providence shows our people from time to time in a most obvious way. But the important thing about such remembrances is that they should express themselves in actual deed, namely, in the fulfillment of G‑d’s Mitzvoth which regulate our everyday life, with greater devotion and Hiddur. While this is the constant obligation of every Jew, it is certainly even more so in regard to those who have a position of influence in their surroundings, especially those who are in the field of teaching, who come in contact with young Jewish people who need guidance and encouragement and direction, especially in this day and age.

I therefore trust that you, on your part, are doing everything you can to disseminate the Torah and Mitzvoth among those whom you can influence. As I have had the occasion to mention it before, there is the imperative of “Know Him in all your ways” - בכל דרכיך דעהו. This means that regardless of what one’s particular field is, a Jew is to disseminate the knowledge and practice of G‑dliness to the fullest extent of his ability, and should regard this as his first duty and privilege.

Wishing you Hatzolocho in all above,

With blessing,

M. Schneersohn