By the Grace of G‑d
18 Sivan, 5719 [June 24, 1959]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greeting and Blessing:

In reference to the letter that I wrote in answer to your frank question-

"Is there any way that we, as skeptics, might be utterly convinced of the existence of G‑d, without equivocation or the possibility of equivocation?"

-I feel a need to add the following lines, for the following reason:

In my previous letter, I confined my reply to the context of your question, whose wording ("utterly convinced... without equivocation...") implied that you desired a "proof" based on logic and reason.

As is self-understood, this approach was not entirely satisfactory to me, and for two primary reasons: a) Man, in general, is more deeply influenced by his feelings and convictions than by conclusions he arrives at logically. b) With a Jew, in particular, whose soul is "literally a part of G‑d above" (in the words of the Alter Rebbe, author of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch), of which the intellect is but an external "garment," it is most effective to address the soul, and not necessarily via the intellect. Indeed, we see in our own experience that feelings more deeply influence the soul than the intellect.

Despite the above, I did not touch upon this in my first letter, because of the way your question was posed, and mainly because I did not want to give the impression that the contents of the letter do not suffice on their own, or can be refuted logically, etc. This is why I am writing the following in a separate letter.

Surely I need not emphasize that I regard you as Jews who, whatever their logical conclusions might be, believe in justice and integrity; indeed, who believe strongly enough to make sacrifices, including sacrifices in their personal lives, for the sake of justice and integrity and for the sake of aiding one’s fellow, especially when the need is not only of a single individual but of a society great in number and quality.

Thus, discarding the inhibitions imposed by the wording of your question, I allow myself to turn to you, heart to heart, with the following words:

I see from your letter that you are young—young, at least, in verve and vigor; young also in the sense that you are capable of challenging the prevalent norms and making drastic changes in your lives, if only you were to be convinced of the necessity to do so. Surely your world-outlook includes the awareness of what our people have experienced in recent years during the Holocaust and the decrees of annihilation, when several million of our brethren were killed in the war years; and, on the other hand, of the emergence of new roles for our people that were nonexistent, or that existed in only a limited form up until now.

Surely you are also aware that the blurring of principles and the confusion of minds have not lessened in our generation, but, on the contrary, have increased alarmingly. Darkness is called light and the bitter is lauded as sweet with extreme fanaticism, to the point that thousands and millions are literally compelled to accept darkness as light and bitterness as sweet.

At such a time, the call resounds to the innermost core of every Jewish soul: it is not enough to fulfill your personal duty-you must also act in the stead of the finest and most potent of our people annihilated in the Holocaust. You must become front-line activists, who not only combat the above-mentioned breakdown in values but also disseminate the eternal values of our people, the Jewish nation, decisively, energetically, and with youthful vigor, so that you each serve as a spark that kindles the soul-flame of all those in your surroundings. Is now the time for polemics? In the meantime, irretrievable days, weeks, months and years go by, and opportunities which shall never return are lost!

If this call is addressed to every man and woman, it is addressed with even greater urgency to the youth and young adults, whose role is most crucial. The younger generation is far more accepting of, and far more influenced by, words of direction and inspiration coming from people of their own age, than those voiced by an older person.

As I said, I do not intend to logically "prove" what these eternal values of our people are, and what is the nature of the new roles that have emerged. I rely on each of you to recognize them on your own, when you open the book of Jewish history-a history that stretches without interruption over thousands of years, saturated with blood and persecution as no other, and with challenges the like of which, or anything remotely resembling them, no other nation or people have experienced. And when you study Jewish history, you will find only one set of values which have been preserved through the generations, to this day, without alteration. It’s not a question of "proof": these are facts-events and deeds that irrefutably attest that not language, not dress, culture or external lifestyle, nor political or economic systems, are our eternal values, for all these have undergone many and extreme changes from time to time and from place to place. What has remained steadfast and unchanged in all times and places is the Torah, our guide to life, and the practice of the mitzvot in daily life, which are the eternal essence of Israel.

May the Almighty grant that these (quantitatively) few lines awaken in you the inner potentials implicit in every Jewish soul, so that they are brought into actuality, continually and increasingly. And if there is need for reward, certainly the deep satisfaction and fulfillment you will experience shall be reward enough; in addition, the Creator and Master of the world will certainly reward you in your personal lives, each in accordance with his or her circumstances.

With esteem and blessings for good tidings,