By the Grace of G‑d
Motzoei Shabbos-Kodesh
18th of Elul,1 5733
Brooklyn, N.Y.

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

Greetings and Blessings:

At this time of preparation for Rosh Hashanah

The day when the First Man Adam was created, whereby the entire Creation was completed and perfected;2

The day which is the beginning and “head”3 of the whole year, which means that Rosh Hashanah is the source of instruction, guidelines, and direction for all the days of the year

—I wish to dwell on one particular teaching that has to do with the central place that man occupies as the “crown”4 of Creation, and the one on whom depends 5 the fulfillment of the entire Creation, as indicated above.

* * *

Rosh Hashanah teaches and reminds every individual about the tremendous powers6 which have been vested in him; powers which enable him not only to attain personal fulfillment in the fullest measure, but also to influence and direct—and transform, if need be 7 —the whole world around him.

Together with this comes also the tremendous responsibility not to underestimate the powers with which, he has been endowed, and to utilize them in the fullest measure 8 for his benefit and for the benefit of the world around him.

The very fact that Rosh Hashanah, which is also the Day of Judgement 9 of the entire world, has been set not on the day when everything was created yesh me’ayin 10 (ex nihilo), but on the day when man was created, clearly indicates that the outcome of the judgement of the entire creation depends on him,

From which it follows that he has been given the capacity to influence and direct the whole of Creation.11

All this is explicitly brought out and emphasized by our Sages of blessed memory in their narration12 (which is also Torah, “instruction”)13 about the first man, Adam, on the first day of his creation: No sooner was Adam created than he looked around and pondered on the Created world and recognized that it was all “Thy works, O G‑d”—everything is G‑d’s creation. Thereupon, he called (and called forth in all creatures): “come, I and you, let us go...and accept upon us the kingship of Him who created us!” This means that right at the time of his creation, man was given the extraordinary power to raise himself and all Creation with him to the highest level of perfection, through the fullest recognition that finds immediate expression in a basic and concrete manner.

And as explained in many places14 in our Torah, the manner of creation of the first man, Adam, and the details thereof, are duplicated in many respects15 in every Jew.

* * *

From what has been said above follows a crucial point, which though really self-evident, needs to be emphasized nevertheless, especially in the present day and age: The abovementioned conception in general, and the conclusions that follow from it as to the extraordinary Zechus (privilege) and responsibility—all of this is not a “private” matter which concerns the individual alone. For, as has been stated, it is the duty of every individual to elevate not only himself to the expected height, but to elevate also the whole of the created order, for which purpose he was created and endowed with tremendous powers.

As for the claim that the task of elevating the environment can be accomplished by others, leaving the utilization of his capacities as his private affair—the Torah tells us16 that the first man was created single in order to impress upon everyone of us that each individual is (like Adam at creation, an only one, hence)—the entire world,—

Consequently, just as Adam had no one to shift to the G‑d-given task of bringing the whole world to the realization of “Come, let us accept the kingship of Him Who created us,” so it is also with every individual regarding his responsibility; it is not transferable.

And when one comes to recognize this responsibility and privilege, all hindrances and difficulties encountered in the way become negligible. For, considering the far-reaching implication of every action of each individual, not only for himself, but for everyone else, reaching to the very end-purpose of creation—surely all difficulties must be trivial by comparison.

* * *

As in the case of other matters in Torah which are expressed in succinct terms, the teaching expounded above is likewise brought out in a few words in the Written Torah in conjunction with a brief explanation in the Oral Torah.

The very first verse in the. Torah, “In the beginning17 G‑d created the heaven (with all its hosts) and the earth (with all its hosts18 )”, thus embracing the whole of Creation, elicits the immediate commentary of Oral Torah to the effect that the first word Breishis implies that “For the sake of two things called reishis (inferred from the letter beis and reishis), namely, the Torah and the Jewish people, was the whole world created.” In other words, the whole world was created and is constantly renewed,19 vivified, and fulfilled by virtue of the conduct of a Jew in accordance with the Torah.

* * *

This—as mentioned above—is one of the basic teachings of Rosh Hashanah as the “head” of the year—in the sense of directing all the days of the year as the head directs the functions of all the organs of the body: That a Jew must every day be permeated with the awareness that his every deed, and even word, and even thought affects not only himself and the immediate environment, but also the totality of the world20, and into the highest worlds21. At the same time he must remember that being “A branch of My planting, the work of My hands,”22 he is given the fullest capacity to carry out, his task as it was given to the first man, Adam, “formed by G‑d’s own hands” 23 —the task of advancing himself and the world around him to the acme of their perfection,

And this power is given to him generously, the way G‑d generally gives, and even more so in the day and time of which it is written, “And G‑d saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good,” 24 —from His full, open, holy, and ample 25 Hand.

With blessing for a Kesivo vachasimo toivo,

For a good and sweet year,

/Signed: Menachem Schneerson/