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Publisher's Foreword

Devotion to Task

Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch & Machne Israel Must Not Falter

A Lifeline

Being Alive and Communicating Vitality

Yud-Beis Tammuz: To Be Every Inch a Chassid

The Month of Av: Mercy in Disguise

Chaf Menachem Av: Holding Tight to the Rebbe's Doorknob

Parshas Re'eh and Elul: Making One's Own Animal Kosher

A Letter for Chai Elul

Sharing with Paupers in Body and Soul

Chai Elul: A King in the Fields

United We Stand

A Letter to Yeshivah Students

Rosh HaShanah: A Healthy Nerve-Center for the Coming Year

Founders of Chassidism & Leaders of Chabad-Lubavitch

Glossary and Biographical Index

Proceeding Together Volume 2
Talks by the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
After the Passing of the Previous Rebbe,
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn
on Yud Shvat 5710 [1950]


Sharing with Paupers in Body and Soul

Translated from Toras Menachem by Uri Kaploun

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  A Letter for Chai ElulChai Elul: A King in the Fields  

Chai Elul, 5710 [1950]
Brooklyn
To [580] our brothers and sisters,
the sons and daughters of Israel,
wherever they may be:

May G-d's blessing be upon you.

Greetings and Blessings!

As we stand on the threshold of the new year (May it bring us and all of the sons and daughters of Israel goodness and blessings!), every man and woman among us is aroused to take stock of everything that has happened with him in the course of the passing year -- everything that he has done and everything that was done with him. Each of us resolves to improve his ways, and turns in prayer to our Father in heaven with the request that He inscribe and seal each of us and ours for a good and sweet year, materially and spiritually.[581]

Our Sages have taught[582] that in the wake of tzedakah given to a needy person, prayer secures and draws down a good life, redemption and salvation, livelihood and sustenance.

Now man,[583] like all created beings and including even heavenly angels,[584] has a body and a soul, and just as a man can be poor in body and in the needs of the body, so, too, a man can be poor in soul and in the needs of the soul. This is reflected in tzedakah: there is material tzedakah and spiritual tzedakah. As our Sages teach (in Tanna dvei Eliyahu Rabbah, sec. 27): "How does one fulfill the obligation [Yeshayahu 58:7], 'When you see the naked, clothe him'? If you see a man who has no words of Torah, bring him into your house, teach him Kerias Shema and prayer; teach him..., and encourage him to observe the commandments."

Just as each man and woman among us asks to be inscribed and sealed for a good year materially and spiritually, so should each one of us exert himself in extending both material tzedakah and spiritual tzedakah, particularly in the days of Elul and Tishrei.

And as we stand during these days before the King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, each man and woman among us will have in hand a large account[585] -- large in proportion to his ability -- of acts of tzedakah that he has undertaken to save the pauper in body, and of acts of tzedakah that he has undertaken to save the pauper in soul.

Just as with material tzedakah[586] even a person who is poor materially is under an obligation, for there is no poor man who cannot find a way to help a fellow pauper, so, too, with spiritual tzedakah: even a person who is poor spiritually is under an obligation -- for there is no Jewish man or woman who cannot influence the sons and daughters of the Jewish people, and bring them nearer to the awe of heaven and to the Torah and its mitzvos.

"The burden matches the camel"[587]: those who are wealthy materially and those who are wealthy in spirit -- i.e., Torah scholars and yeshivah students -- should disburse their money and their knowledge generously, in order to save, heal and rehabilitate the soul and the body of their brothers and sisters.

May our Father, the All-Merciful Father,[588] inscribe and seal every man and woman among us, together with all of Israel, for a good and sweet year -- with good that is visible and overt, materially and spiritually. And may He bring us, speedily and in our very own days, the true and complete Redemption through our Righteous Mashiach, Amen.

From one who blesses you and who seeks your blessing -- that we all be inscribed and sealed for a good year,[589]

Menachem Mendel ben Chanah Schneerson
Son-in-law of the Nasi, his holy honor, Our master, mentor and Rebbe; May the memory of a tzaddik be a blessing, for the life of the World to Come; His soul is in the hidden realms on high; May his merit protect us; And may I serve as an atonement for his resting place.[590]

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) The above is the first of many letters of the kind known as michtav klali ("a public letter"), addressed to "the sons and daughters of Israel, wherever they may be." At the time, this letter was reproduced extensively by mimeograph and in print. Before it was reprinted as a Preface to Sefer HaMaamarim 5711 [1951], the Rebbe reviewed the text and added footnotes 581-588 that are translated below.

    The letter has since appeared in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, p. 404, and elsewhere, as well as in Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe, Vol. III, p. 462 (on which this footnote is based).

  2. (Back to text) Cf. Haggahos Maimuniyos on Hilchos Teshuvah 3:3; Likkutei Torah, [Sefer] Devarim, p. 56a.

  3. (Back to text) Bava Basra 10a, explained at length in Tanya -- Iggeres HaKodesh, [Epistle 8; see Lessons In Tanya, Vol. IV, p. 139ff.]; in the Introduction to the Siddur [Im Dach]; and elsewhere.

  4. (Back to text) See at length in the series (hemshech) of maamarim of Rosh HaShanah, 5710 [1949].

  5. (Back to text) Even angels of the World of Atzilus (see Tanya -- Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 20). See Etz Chayim, Shaar 50, ch. 8. See also Pardes, Shaar 24, sec. 11, 15. So, too, Ramban (cited in Torah Or, p. 4b, and Likkutei Torah on Parshas Berachah, p. 98a). From what Rambam writes in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 2:3 (cited by Ramban at the end of Shaar HaGemul) and in Moreh Nevuchim, Part I, sec. 49, it is certain that he rules out a material body. See also Moreh Nevuchim, Part II, sec. 6, and Pardes, Shaar 6, sec. 6. [The stance of Rambam] requires further examination.

  6. (Back to text) Bava Basra 9b; see Tanya -- Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 3.

  7. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah, sec. 248, and see references there.

  8. (Back to text) This is necessarily so. Regarding retribution for the neglect of this principle, see Kesubbos 66b.

  9. (Back to text) [In the original, Av HaRachamim.] See Likkutei Torah, s.v. Shir HaMaalos MiMaamakim, beg. of sec. 2; and the Biur on the verse that begins Shechorah, beg. of sec. 6.

  10. (Back to text) In the original, hamevorech umisborech b'kesivah v'chasimah tovah.

  11. (Back to text) In the original, chasna dvei n'siah kvod kedushas moreinu v'rabeinu ztkllh"h nivgam ziy'a hakam.


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