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Publisher's Foreword

"Fathers Of Chassidus"
The First Three Generations

Reb Yitzchak Aizik Of Vitebsk

The Debate In Minsk

Letter By The Previous Rebbe

The Rebbe's Response To The Previous Rebbe's Letter

On The Subject Of Miracles

The Alter Rebbe's Later Years

The Previous Rebbe's Ancestral Tree

Founders Of Chassidism & Leaders Of Chabad-Lubavitch

Glossary

Geographic Terms

Branches Of The Chassidic Menorah - Volume One
Biographical Stories Based On The Essay
Fathers Of Chassidus
By The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn
First published in the classical columns of HaTamim


The Rebbe's Response To The Previous Rebbe's Letter

Translated by Shimon Neubort

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  Letter By The Previous RebbeOn The Subject Of Miracles  

[1]

B.H., Motzoei Shabbos, 2 Shvat 5692 [eve of Sunday, January 10, 1932].

To my honored and holy father-in-law, Shlita:

Your letter of the 24th of last month, containing the outline [for the essay], arrived here. From the depths of my heart, I thank you for this precious gift. At this favorable time, I will be so bold as to place my earnest request before you (if a request is needed, and if a request will avail). I am strengthened by the hope that you will honor me from time to time with the pleasure of receiving more letters like these.

There are many facts that I am missing, concerning the background of Chassidus, and the meaning of its historical context. Therefore, I am overjoyed with every new fact and concept I acquire in this area, as one who "finds a great prize."[2]

I cannot restrain myself from requesting additional explanation about a subject that has puzzled me for some time. Again and again, I hear people say that "In Chabad, we have no interest in miracles," and the like. I found this same sentiment expressed in your letter. [You write that chassidim] refrain from speaking of such things, and silence others who do speak of them, etc.

This was certainly appropriate for the early chassidim. They had no need of such stories, for their hearts and minds were refined. But in our present day, the pressures of the times have diminished people's hearts, and they are submerged in material concerns. They see only the material aspects of every concept, to the extent that their souls have no appreciation of anything sublime or lofty.

It seems to me that it would be difficult to correct this situation through intellectual endeavors alone. Such an approach would be ineffective, for at the start, the intellect is too delicate an instrument for this purpose.

On the other hand, miracles, and stories of the wonders performed by tzaddikim cause lofty feelings within the soul. They promote the desire to emerge [from one's lowly situation] and to divest himself (at least partially) from his focus on material matters. This will cause some movement even in a person with a lowly soul, or one in a low spiritual state.

    Again expressing my warm and deep gratitude for your letter, I remain, your son-in-law, who always seeks your welfare, and hopes to be blessed by the Rebbe.
Menachem.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) This letter does not appear in the official published collection of the Rebbe's letters, and is taken from a handwritten copy the Rebbe apparently made for himself.

  2. (Back to text) [Tehillim 119:162.]


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