By the Grace of G‑d
11 Nissan, Erev Shabbos p. Tzav
Shabbos Hagodol, 5740.
[March 28, 1980]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To The Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere—
G‑d bless you all!

Greeting and Blessing:

Pursuing the theme of the letter of Rosh Chodesh Nissan concerning the special emphasis on this coming Pesach on being “Good to Heaven and good to the creatures”—in view of the fact that the day of Yetzias Mitzrayim [the exodus from Egypt] which ushers in the festival, as also the day of Rosh Chodesh which ushers in the Month of Geulo [redemption], occur this year on the third day of the week, “the day blessed twice with good,”

A further point will be discussed here, as follows:

In general, although the world was created in four distinct “kingdoms”—“mineral, vegetable, animal, and man,” each divided and subdivided into distinct orders, genera, species, etc., and each group comprising countless individuals, where each individual was created in its own image, so that it is difficult to find two specimens that are completely identical in all respects—this infinite diversity is particularly reflected in the creation of man, when G‑d created the first man (Adam) and “stamped” each and all human beings in his (Adam’s) “imprint,” yet there are no two persons in the world that are completely alike in their faces, opinions, etc.

So also in regard to Time, which G‑d created and divided into days, weeks, months and years, where each day, week, month and year has its own special qualities and (hence) special goals, or, to quote our Sages, “Each day has its own task.”

One of the basic purposes of all this diversity in the world, “which G‑d created” precisely in this way, is (as the text continues)—“to do,” i.e., “to improve,” in order that a person should each day improve his or her daily conduct in accordance with the Will of the Creator, as revealed in the Torah, Toras Emes [the Torah of truth], and thereby bring about an improvement (perfection) in the whole Creation, through eliciting the inner unity of the universe, and thus accomplish the intent of the Creator “to make this material world a fitting abode for Him, blessed be He,” the Absolute One.

The special aspect which distinguishes this year from other years—as it was discussed at length in the message for the New Year 5740—is that its first day, Rosh Hashanah, occurred on Shabbos, and the whole year is “the Seventh Year, a Year of Shemittah, a Shabbos unto G‑d”—a “Shabbos-like” (Sabbatical) year.

Now returning to the concept of the correlation and unity of “Good to Heaven” and “Good to the creatures” (brought out in the letter of Rosh Chodesh Nissan), we see that the same concept is also underscored, indeed even more forcefully, in the similarity of content of both the Shabbos day and the Shabbos year:

During the Shabbos day a Jew is expected to utilize the rest from all work for spiritual refreshment, to deepen and strengthen his bond with G‑d, through dedicating the released time to more Torah and more prayer, both quantitatively and qualitatively—in the fullest measure of “Good to Heaven.” At the same time the Jew is commanded to include in his rest “your ox (‘clean’ beast) and your ass (‘unclean’ beast) . . . and the son of your maidservant and the stranger”—in the fullest measure of “Good to the creatures.”

Similarly in the Shabbos year, when the Jew was released from his main pursuit of livelihood—which in the good old times, when Jews dwelt on their land, “every man under his vine and under his fig-tree,” was mainly from the field and orchard—was the released time to be dedicated to spiritual matters in terms of “a Shabbos unto G‑d,” as mentioned above—“Good to Heaven.” At the same time he renounced possession of his fields and orchards for the duration of the whole year, “in order that the poor and your people may eat, and what they left over, the beast of the field shall eat”; and he also released the debtor from his debt—“Good to the creatures” in all respects.

Which is only to emulate G‑d’s way of taking our people out of Egypt from bondage to freedom, “and they prepared no provision for themselves” and G‑d sustained them in the wilderness until they entered the “good and spacious land.”

The similarity of content which the Shabbos day and Shabbos year share with Pesach, the Festival of Our Freedom, is reflected also in this respect that all three—individually and jointly—are designed to engrave upon our hearts and minds the basic tenet of creation ex nihilo: that G‑d created heaven and earth and all their hosts in six days, and that He is the Master of the Universe. And just as each day of the week—“the first day of the Shabbos-Week,” “the second day of the Shabbos-Week,” etc., and certainly the day of the Holy Shabbos itself, remind us to “Remember” and “Keep” (the Shabbos day), this “Foundation of Foundations and Pillar of Wisdoms,”—so does also every year of the Shemittah cycle, and certainly the Shemittah Year itself, reinforce our belief that the Creator of the Universe is the Master of the Universe; and that all the produce that the earth produces year after year is not produced by the earth’s own power, but by the power of Him “who in His goodness renews each day continuously the work of Creation.” Which reminds us also that everyone’s Parnosso [livelihood] is not the result of “my power and the strength of my hand,” but the blessing of G‑d, “who feeds the whole world in His goodness.”

All this profoundly implants in the Jew both basic convictions: his faith and bond with the Creator and Master of the world, and his commitment to do everything possible that all around him should be in a state of true freedom (freedom from all want and anxiety) and inner peace—in the highest and fullest measure of both “Good to Heaven” and “Good to the creatures” together.

And with this inspiration we proceed from Chag HaMatzos, the Festival of Our Freedom, like our liberated ancestors, eagerly counting the days and weeks to the longed-for day of Freedom in its true completeness—the day we celebrate as the Festival of Mattan Torah, when we received our Torah from G‑d at Sinai, beginning with the Ten Commandments, from “I am G‑d, your G‑d . . .” to “You shall not covet . . . anything that is your neighbor’s”—thus embracing both “Good to Heaven” and “Good to the creatures”—all “in a single utterance.”

May G‑d grant that every one of us—man, woman, and child—in the midst of all our people Israel, should celebrate the festival of Yetzias Mitzraim, the Season of Our Freedom, in a manner that should illuminate and vitalize each day thereafter throughout the year, stimulating additional efforts in all matters of “Good to Heaven and good to the creatures,” in the fullest measure of true freedom, and this will hasten and speed the end of the dark Golus [exile], and the complete liberation of each one and all of our Jewish people, at the true and complete Geulo [redemption] through our Righteous Moshiach, in our own days, and we will be “happy in the restoration of Your city and rejoicing in Your service,” “and we, Your people and the sheep of Your pasture, will praise You for ever, for generation after generation.”

With esteem and blessing for
a Kosher and joyous Pesach,

/Signed: Menachem Schneerson/