By the Grace of G‑d
19th of Kislev, 5748
Year of Hakhel
Brooklyn, N.Y.

To all participants in the
Annual Event of the Rabbinical College
of America, Morristown, N.J.

Greeting and Blessing!

I take pleasure in extending congratulations and prayerful wishes to the honorary chairmen, worthy honorees, distinguished guests, and all participants in this outstanding dinner event. May it be blessed with a full measure of achievement both materially and spiritually, especially as it is taking place in a month of special significance for all Jews, and in the early part of the year Hakhel.

The Mitzvah of Hakhel, as ordained in the Torah, is that at the end of every seven years, immediately after the year of Shemittah, when Jews make their pilgrimage to the Bais Hamikdosh (Temple), during the festival of Succos, all Jews had to be gathered (Hakhel) – the men, and the women, and the children even babies, and the king read to them sections from the Torah, selected for their content to stimulate Jews in the observance of Mitzvos and strengthen them in their faith and in Yiddishkeit, and it made a profound impression on them, as if they heard it from G‑d himself.

Although the Mitzvah of Hakhel, in its concrete and plain form, is connected with the time of the Bais Hamikdosh, there is the well known principle that all matters that are connected with the Beis Hamikdosh, such as sacrifices and the like, are in their spiritual contet relevant at all times. This is why the daily prayers, which have been enacted in the place of the sacrifices, prayers, which have been enacted in the place of the sacrifices, substitute for them. A Jew prays with all his heart, offers himself completely in submission to his Creator, and is ready to sacrifice the best of his possessions and his most passionate interests (the “fat and the blood”) to the will of G‑d – and it is acceptable to G‑d as a “burnt offering” in the Beis Hamikdosh. Indeed, also during the times when Jews had a central Sanctuary and Mikdosh and actually offered sacrifices there, it was the Jewish heart that He desired most, in accordance with His imperative, request, and promise: “Let them make for me a Sanctuary and I will dwell within them” – in their most innermost Jewish hearts.

It is also obvious how strongly the Mitzvah of Hakhel emphasizes the Torah-education of our children. It follows that also those who are grown in years but still “children” in Yiddishkeit; all those “who know not,” who, for one reason or another, did not get the proper Jewish education, and even those who belong to the category of “one who knows not to ask,” namely, those who do not know, and do not feel, that they miss something and should ask and seek help – these also must be assembled to let them hear and learn what Torah is, what a Mitzvah is, in a manner of learning that would imbue them with the fear of G‑d, and , most importantly, that they should “observe and do all the words of this Torah,” the Torah from Sinai that shall never be changed – all of the above with such impact, “as if they heard it from G‑d himself.”

The Rabbinical College of America – as part of the Lubavitch movement worldwide – is dedicated to helping young Jews become even more fully and intimately aware of Torah and Mitzvos in their everyday experience.

I feel confident that all of you who actively support the various programs of the Rabbinical College consider it a privilege as well as obligation to be partners in this vital cause. A “Partner” is, of course, much more than a “supporter”.

With prayerful wishes to each and all of you, both materially and spiritually, and

With esteem and blessings of Chag Hageulah and for a happy and inspiring Chanukah
M. Schneerson