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I Will Write It In Their Hearts - Volume 1
Letters from the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The spiritual sequence of Rosh HaShanah, the Ten Days of Teshuvah, and Yom Kippur

Translated by: Rabbi Eli Touger

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  An inspirational letter to Jewish soldiers for the coming new yearTable of contentsThe importance of learning the alef-beis together with nikud, the vocalization marks  

No. 102

The following letter was addressed to the students of the Lubavitcher Yeshivah in Montreal.
B"H, Between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, 5704
Greetings and blessings,

In response to your blessings for the coming year, I accept your blessings and respond with blessings[1] for a chasimah and a g'mar chasimah tovah, that you be sealed for a year of overt and apparent goodness in both material and spiritual matters.

These days fall between Rosh HaShanah and "Rosh HaShanah," for Yom Kippur is also referred to as Rosh HaShanah (Tosafos, Nedarim 23b). Several concepts can be derived from a comparison between the two [holidays].

Among the differences between the Rosh HaShanah of Rosh HaShanah and the Rosh HaShanah of Yom Kippur, is that the first (Rosh HaShanah) involves the external dimensions, while the second (Yom Kippur) involves the soul and inner dimensions (Likkutei Torah, beginning of the maamar entitled VeHayah BaYom HaHu).

This can be understood on a simple level. These days are characterized by the Divine service of teshuvah, as our Sages (Rosh HaShanah 18a) comment on the verse (Yeshayahu 55:6): " 'Seek G-d...,' these are the ten days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur." Thus it is obvious that they all lead to and prepare for Yom Kippur. For that day reflects the true and ultimate teshuvah, as it is written (Vayikra 16:30): "And you shall be purified before G-d." And our Sages state (Shvuos 13a): "The essence of the day brings about atonement."

See also the maamar entitled Tzohar Taaseh, 5702, which states that "Rosh HaShanah is the root and the source for fear... and Yom Kippur is the source for teshuvah."

Similarly, when considering the inner dimensions of these matters, we are forced to say that all of the Ten Days of Teshuvah - aside from the particular dimension of each individual day - are preparations for Yom Kippur. This is the process through which we proceed from the external dimensions to the internal ones.

This relates to the general concept of teshuvah, for teshuvah involves the inner dimensions of the soul. This applies even to the lower rung of teshuvah (vt,, vcua,) (see the beginning of the maamar entitled Amar Rabbi Eliezer, 5691). Certainly, this applies with regard to the higher level of teshuvah (vtkhg vcua,). See the end of the second maamar entitled Shuvah in Likkutei Torah which states: "During the Ten Days of Teshuvah, until Yom Kippur, when 'you shall be purified before G-d,' i.e., we reach the level of the inner dimension of G-d,[2] [as it is written:][3] 'I seek Your inner dimension, O G-d.'" The second maamar entitled Ki Seitzei, sec. 3, explains that "I seek Your inner dimension, O G-d" leads to "Seek My inner dimension,"3 the essence of His inner dimension, the very point of a Jew's heart (not merely a radiation from it).

It is possible to explain that [these three periods] - Rosh HaShanah, the Ten Days of Teshuvah, and Yom Kippur - reflect the entire sequence of man's creation. Rosh HaShanah commemorates the anniversary of man's creation. Our Sages (Bereishis Rabbah, ch. 14) state that man was created from the place from where he will be granted atonement. This, however, represents merely the potential, not the actual fact.

[Then follows the phase of] Divine service of every particular individual. As [his or her] soul descends [to this earthly plane], it is given an oath (Niddah 30b). This is interpreted[4] to mean that it is satiated with powers from above. The ultimate intent is for "the spirit to return to G-d who granted it."[5] This reflects [the Divine service of] Yom Kippur, the day of teshuvah, and the Yovel.[6] (All of this is explained at length in the first maamar entitled Haazinu in Likkutei Torah; see sec. 2.)

Note that Yom Kippur is referred to as Rosh HaShanah, primarily because of the Yom Kippur of the Yovel (Arachin 12a; the commentaries to Yechezkel 40:1).

A person reaches this level through Divine service from the depths of his heart, i.e., the inner dimension of his heart, the ten levels of depth that exist within the soul.

May G-d motivate us to turn to Him in complete teshuvah in the near future. {See the conclusion of the explanation of the maamar entitled Vilo Ava in Likkutei Torah, [which states that this level is achieved] during Neilah. See also the explanation of the maamar entitled Ki Seitzei [which states that] Neilah represents the level of nisuin[7] (an inner bond), not merely erusin (an external connection).}

And may we then merit immediately (as the Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 7:5, and the Alter Rebbe, Iggeres HaTeshuvah, ch. 11, state) the complete Redemption, led by Mashiach.

With blessings for a chasimah and a g'mar chasimah tovah,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee



  1. (Back to text) [In the original Hebrew, the Rebbe's wording borrows the wording of Bamidbar 23:20.]

  2. (Back to text) [This concept is based on the interpretation of the words in the original Hebrew. hbpk, translated as "before," shares the same letters as the word hbp, meaning "inner dimension" or "face."]

  3. (Back to text) [Tehillim 27:8. This psalm, which begins L'Dovid A-donai Ori, is recited from the beginning of Elul, through Hoshana Rabbah.]

  4. (Back to text) [For the Hebrew term mashbi'in, "compel to take an oath," employs the same letters as the term masbi'in which means "satiate."]

  5. (Back to text) [Cf. Koheles 12:7.]

  6. (Back to text) [The Jubilee Year, when the shofar is also sounded.]

  7. (Back to text) [According to Jewish Law, marriage is a two-staged process involving erusin, when a woman is consecrated as a man's wife, and nisuin, when the marriage bond is consummated.]

  An inspirational letter to Jewish soldiers for the coming new yearTable of contentsThe importance of learning the alef-beis together with nikud, the vocalization marks  

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