Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
770 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11213

3rd of Nissan, 5723 [March 28, 1963]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mr. Shneur Zalmon Jaffe
Salford, England

Sholom uBrocho:1

You have no doubt received my cable, advising you that the loan has been arranged. The terms are outlined in the enclosed letter, and may G‑d grant that it bring you an abundant measure of Hatzlocho2.

I duly received your recent letters, and the reply that follows is in the main an extension of my previous letters to you in reply to yours.

Specifically, I wish to refer to the differences of opinion which you write have arisen between you and Mrs. Jaffe in regard to your Tzedoko3 contributions relative to your financial position, etc.

The increase of your Tzedoko contributions should be at least proportionate to the increase in the volume of business Generally speaking, one should give Tzedoko of his own money. However, I do not quite agree with your evaluation of your business results, and your position in general calls for a special approach. I will outline my views:

1) A part – and not a small part, at that – of the profits is consumed by exorbitant interest, and this is not warranted by the business, which should run on normal commercial credit and interest. Incidentally, it is not quite clear from your letter whether you acted on my suggestion to obtain credit from another bank, though I assume that you did obtain credit from a second bank, and for a substantial sum.

2) What is perhaps even more important is to remember that your business turnover has grown quite remarkably since we began to discuss your Tzedoko contributions. I believe I mentioned to you that sometimes the order is “asseir” first, and then comes the “tisasheir,”4 and sometimes it is reversed, namely, G‑d extends His “credit” first, increasing the turnover of business and a proportionate increase in profits, expecting confidently that the “asseir” will follow in a commensurate measure. In your case the latter order was followed. Hence, the increase of your Tzedoko contributions should be at least proportionate to the increase in the volume of business, especially, as in your case, bli ayin-hora, the volume increase has been lma'alo miderech hateva5.

3) Though what follows here is entirely not in my field, nor can I base it on “statistics,” it seems to me that your mark-up on the goods (as I gathered from a word dropped by you during one of our conversations) is rather low. Of course, if this is the standard profit margin prevailing in this line in England, or even if your mark-up is intended as an initial incentive to gain new customers, no objections could be raised. But if both considerations do not apply in this case, a revision of policy is indicated. I repeat, however, that this is outside my competence, and I have made this observation only for what it is worth.

With the increase of business and profits in an unusual way, I do not think it is justifiable to approach the question of Tzedoko with precise calculations 4) A further essential point is this, namely, inasmuch as the business and profits have, thank G‑d, increased in an unusual way, I do not think it is justifiable to approach the question of Tzedoko with precise calculations, etc.

5) It is self-understood that a person residing in a community is obliged to participate in the community charities, especially on whom Divine Providence has bestowed a position of prominence and influence, which must be reflected in every aspect, including philanthropy. Needless to say, when I speak of an increase in Tzedoko, I do not mean at the expense of the Tzedoko which has been practiced before, but an increase in Tzedoko which is indicated by the growth of the business, as mentioned above.

All that has been said above is relative to financial profits. Important as they are, they are by far exceeded by gains which cannot be measured in terms of money. And thank G‑d, you have been blessed with such a fine Shidduch6 for your Bas Yechida7, and quite unexpectedly, and you have been blessed also with true Yiddish Nachas8 from your Ben Yochid9 (G‑d bless them both), in a way which you also recognize was quite unexpected. One of the ways for you and Mrs. Jaffe as the blessed parents to say to G‑d “Thank You” is by a greater devotion to all matters of Torah and Mitzvoth in general, and Tzedoko in particular, since Tzedoko is “weighed against all the Mitzvoth.”

To turn now to the other “matter of contention”, namely, Mrs. Jaffe's complaint that you are doing too much community-wise and exerting yourself too much, etc. Needless to say, it is difficult to express an opinion at this distance as to what should be the time limit allotted to communal responsibilities. Besides, it is difficult to make a hard and fast rule, since the need is not the same in a uniform way, in every matter and at all times. However, the way of the Torah is, generally speaking, the golden rule, avoiding extremes, but occasionally to lean over “to the right.” As to what should be the “golden mean” in your case in terms of actual time, I trust you will both together be able to arrive at an acceptable solution...

...I will no doubt have occasion to write to you again before Pesach, but in any case I will wish you and everyone of your family a kosher and happy Pesach.

With blessing,

M. Schneerson