The following letter was written to Rabbi Moshe Pinchas Katz, one of the leaders of the Lubavitch community in Newark.

B”H, 2 Kislev, 5703

Greetings and blessings,

As you suggested, inspirational letters of thanks have been sent to Rabbi Kahan, and to Mssrs. Shalom Yaakov Friedman, Chayim David Friedman, Mink, and Fingerman. Certainly you will try, at the appropriate time, and in the appropriate manner, to influence these people to translate [this encouragement] into actual deed. [As stated:]1 “Today we must perform them.”

In response to your letter asking that we motivate the members of Machne [Israel] not to remain satisfied with easy tasks, but instead for every individual to become involved with projects that [challenge] him and his potentials:

a) Machne [Israel] is structured so that its activities are carried out without any inducements of honor or pride. Therefore, as the Rebbe shlita desires, the names of the members and the staff are not publicized. This makes it…

b) very difficult, even for the directorate to inspect precisely the activities of the members, and to determine whether they labored according to their potential, as their environment enables them, or if they in fact, remained satisfied with the minimum, doing only what is necessary to fulfill their obligation. Therefore, the directorate…

c) relies on the assumption that anyone who, without any self-concern, joins the camp of those working for the sake of the importance of strengthening [the observance of] the Torah and its mitzvos, in particular in this era of ikvesa diMeshicha, when the birth pangs of Mashiach can be felt, surely endeavors that his efforts reflect his potential.

d) In particular, this is true in light of our Sages’ statement,2 that one who does not perform his Divine service according to his capacity is considered as one who “does not fulfill the will of G‑d.” Note there also the extent of the punishment given for such conduct. See also our Sages3 who apply the malediction, “It is as if he does not have a G‑d” to a person, because he [did not devote himself to deeds of charity] according to his capacity. See also the statements of Tanya, ch. 30: “Anyone who has not reached this [standard, to wage a strenuous battle]… What difference is there whether it involves ‘doing good,’ or ‘turning away from evil.’4 In truth, [if he is a scholar … his guilt is increased].” Awesome words indeed.

As such, the directorate can only…

e) give encouragement from time to time, as our Sages commented:5 “Encouragement should be given only to those who are eager.” [This involves stressing] the obligation which they accepted, although not as a vow, to perform at least four positive activities every month.

(See Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 14, which emphasizes how as time proceeds, more elevated Divine light is revealed at all times. Implied by this is that our Divine service must also constantly be enhanced.6)

With blessings for the fulfillment of the promise “Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption.”

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee