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Why do Jews remain loyal to their faith after so much persecution?
During these three summer weeks - The Three Weeks" period, we remember and take to heart the many tragedies that have befallen our people during this time, from the time of our exodus from Egypt over the millennia until our present time. The Rebbe explains in this comprehensive letter the reason why Jews have never wavered from their faith and commitment to G-d and His Torah.
By the Grace of G-d
16 of Shevat, 5714
West Olive, Michigan
This is to acknowledge your letter in which you describe the various phases of your religious experiences and convictions, which finally led you to discover the truth of the Old Testament and to a leaning to “Old Testament Hebrewism”, as you call it. In your search for the truth you began to study Hebrew, in order to be able to study the Old Testament in the original. Incidentally, you include Greek and Hebrew as the “original Languages” of the Old Testament. But surely you know that the Greek text is not the original, but a translation, as the name “Septuagint” indicates. (The Translation of the Seventy Elders).
Since you invite my comments, I offer you the following:
The difficulty in the search for the Truth is to find the right approach to this problem. I suggest, in your case, the following “stages”. Any normal thinking person is aware of the universe as a cosmic unit governed by law and order, indeed a strict regularity and conformity of behavior is clearly evident even in inert matter (the “lowest” of the four kingdoms), where the behavior of atoms and molecules, as all other physical laws, clearly point to the fact that the universe is governed by “something” which is outside and “above” the universe, an immanent as well as a transcending Supreme Being.
In such a Divine order as the cosmos represents, everything must have its place and function, for it would be unthinkable otherwise, since even in a well organized human system, such as an organization or a machine, everything has its place and purpose, and it would be absurd to credit the Supreme Being with less wisdom than a human being.
To continue with the illustration, a humanly organized system offers but two ways of approach: a) cooperation and harmonious adjustment within the system, which is beneficial both for the system as well as for the part or individual concerned, or b) the other extreme – non-cooperation, i.e. excluding oneself from the system, which not only deprives the system of service, but creates disharmony and causes direct harm to the system, and necessarily also to the part or individual concerned; moreover, since the part or the individual is the cause of such disharmony, the harm done to himself is much greater than to the system in question. Most important of all, the very fact of not adjusting oneself to the order of the system is in itself the greatest loss and penalty.
To follows from the above, that no man has a right to say “I will do as I please, and it is no one’s business.” For by harming oneself one harms also the whole system.
The same is true, and infinitely more so, of the whole universal order. However, being part of the inner order, man cannot grasp the tremendous structure of the intricate cosmic order, but for the fact that the Architect and Ruler of this universe revealed a part of the laws and workings of the system, the part that concerns man to enable him harmoniously to fit into and adjust himself within the universal order.
Obviously, desiring to give man free choice of action, the Architect of the world order did not create a race of mechanical robots, but endowed man with an intellect and ability to choose his way. At the same time, however, being the Essence of Goodness, He surely revealed those laws in such a way as to leave no doubt in the right-thinking mind as to the origin of these laws.
To satisfy even the most skeptical and doubting mind, the Divine Revelation was made not the experience of a single man, nor of a group of men, no matter how trustworthy, since in such a case the interpretation might be tinted with conscious or unconscious subjectivity common to the particular group. But the Revelation was presented to a mass of people, of varying interests, views, ages and so on. When such a mass of people simultaneously experience the same experience, receive the same message, in the very same form, there can be no room for doubt as to the authenticity of the experience and message. Thus, the Revelation at Mount Sinai must be considered as the most authentic and scientifically most proven fact. Does this truth hold good also for the successive generations, to the present day? The verification may be deduced by a similar method: if, in generation after generation the message is transmitted in the same form, the same wording, the same minute detail, etc., and followed and adhered to by a very great number of people, of varying strata, interests, backgrounds, environments etc., there is irrevocable testimony of the authenticity of it.
The only set of laws and instructions, i.e. the only religion, that satisfies the above conditions, is the Jewish traditional faith, the tradition of which can be traced from our own time, through a successive and uninterrupted course, back to the Revelation at Sinai. At no time was it limited to a single person, or to a group of twelve persons, or even to a larger group. There is no weak link in the chain of Jewish tradition, leaving no doubt as to its authenticity.
Herein lies the answer to the question which you refer to in your letter, why, after thousands of years of persecutions, massacres and all forms of “persuasiveness”, the Jews remain loyal to their faith. The explanation is not mystical alone, connected with spiritual ties between the Jew’s soul and G-d, but also logical and scientific, based on personal experience, based on direct Divine authority, which s accepted even if not understood. No transient human power can challenge this conviction and strength derived from the All, the Eternal.
As an integral part of the Revelation, (which for reasons known to the Creator Himself was given to the children of Israel), the gentiles also were given laws and instructions as to their course in life, in the general “Seven Laws of the children of Noah”, with their ramifications.
I take the liberty of one further remark, in reference to your writings about the incompatibility which has arisen between you and your wife on religious grounds, which has led to your separation. You do not mention all the circumstances, however, despite your statement that you had no “brera”, separation of husband and wife is not a desirable solution, and should only be resorted to after all other attempts have proven futile.
With the prayerful wish that the Creator of the Universe guide you in the right path, the path of Truth, that you may be able to fulfill your function in this life on earth, and thus enjoy spiritual contentment, so necessary also for physical wellbeing.
The Rebbe's letter of blessing and encouragement to President Reagan
On the occasion of the swearing in of the new president of the USA - we present a timely message of the Rebbe to president Reagen - blessings and a message as relevant today as it was a few decades ago. The words of the righteous are indeed everlasting.
By the Grace of G-d
12 Nissan, 5745
President Ronald Reagan
The White House
Greeting and Blessing:
I am immensely impressed with your letter and deeply appreciative of your most generous sentiments. I welcome your encouraging remarks particularly as a tribute to the Chabad –Lubavvitch movement, which I am honored and privileged to head, and which has found such fertile soil since its Headquarters was transferred to the USA forty five years ago, where it has thrived and developed at an unprecedented pace in its 200 year history.
In the name, therefore, of our movement no less than in my personal name, I extend to you Mr. President and to the First Lady a heartfelt “thank you.”
I sincerely reciprocate your good wishes in the words of our Sages: “Whoever blesses others is blessed by G-d Himself, the Source of all blessings.” May G-d continue to bestow His generous blessings on you and all yours – which includes all of us who are privileged to live in this blessed land, so generously favored with an abundance of blessings, materially and spiritually, as to giving it an extraordinary historic role to lead the world, particularly in these sadly confused times, when scientific and technological advancement has outpaced moral and spiritual advancement.
You, Mr. President, have consistently and vigorously worked to bridge the said gap, which is so necessary for the achievement of the proper balance and harmony between might and right. I believe, Mr. President that these efforts and notable success you have attained in this direction, will surely rank among your highest historic achievements.
With prayerful wishes for your continued success in carrying out the awesome responsibilities of your most exalted Office in good health and prosperity, with joy and gladness of heart and in all respects – “going form strength to strength” (Psalms 84:8),
With esteem and blessing,
When will my master come?
In Honor of the 19th of Kislev, New Year of Chassidus
We present the Rebbe's letter that explains the answer which moshiach gave the Baal Shem Tov to his question "When will my master come?" The answer points to the critical importance of Chassidus, and Chabad chassidus in particular, in bringing the world to its ultimate completion.
By the Grace of G-d
28th of Teveth, 5726
This is in reply to your letter, the delay being due to a backlog of correspondence.
You ask - what is the meaning of the Baal Shem Tov’s words aimosai kossi mar/when will the master come? and what is the interpretation of this in regard to Chabad Chasidus?
The meaning of the first part of the question is simply “When will the master (Moshiach) come?” In other words, “What could be done to speed up your coming?”
To this, Moshiach answered – and this is the answer to the second part of your question: “When your fountains will be spread forth abroad (literally, ‘outside’)/lich’she’yofutzoo ma’ayonossecho chootzo.
The meaning of those words is that Moshiach promised to come when the fountains of the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings, i.e. the life-giving teachings of Chasidus, will be spread far and wide among the Jewish people, even among those who are as yet “outside” and removed from Torah and mitzvos.
In other words, Chasidus is the way which has been revealed by the Baal Shem Tov not only to bring life and vitality into the observance of Yidishkeit among the observant , but it has the power also to bring back into the Jewish fold those who for various reasons have been brought up in total ignorance of the Torah and mitzvos.
Why is it that Chasidus has such power to inspire and infuse and illuminate a Jew’s heart and soul? This is connected with the very nature and teachings of Chasidus, which cannot here be discussed; we can only say, Go and study it for yourself. One quality may be mentioned here briefly: Chasidus, with its emphasis on love of G-d, love of the Torah and love of fellow-Jew, touches the innermost fibers of the Jewish soul, in which these qualities are already there from birth; hence it finds a ready response. In Chabad the teachings of Chasidus are expounded and explained systematically and deeply, in a way that appeals both to the heart and mind, bringing both into true harmony. Chabad therefore has a particular appeal also to the individual with a bent for deeper thinking. Nevertheless, the emphasis is always on the actual deed, the practice and fulfillment of the mitzvos, which is the first step on the journey into Chasidus, as into Yiddishkeit in general, since, as Chabad explains at length, the very act of a mitzvah unites the Jew with G-d and enables him, the Jew, to break though the barrier of his otherwise finite and limited mind (as every human brain has its natural limitations), opening up new horizons and insights, many of which have been revealed in Chasidus in general and in Chabad Chasidus in particular.
A New Beginning
With the start of a new year we begin the Torah reading from "the beginning" Bereishis - with the creation of the world. The letter of the Rebbe we present, refers to the Zohar describing the movement of the sphere of the earth.