What started as a modest, 30-day hachlata turned into 11 years of learning the Rebbe’s Igros, completing the final volume this week. Shliach Rabbi Levi Greenberg tells what helped him reach the finish line.
By Rabbi Levi Greenberg, Shliach to El Paso, Texas.
Eleven years ago, I was having breakfast with a friend in the Oholei Torah ballroom on the Sunday of the Kinus Hashluchim. As the room emptied, Rabbi Shmuel Lew, a veteran shliach to London, England, joined us at our table. During our conversation, he mentioned that on Gimmel Tammuz 5754, when he was at the Ohel he made two firm hachlatos, one of which was to learn the Rebbe’s Igros Kodesh every day.
Two months later on Yud Shvat I felt compelled to make a hachlata. Remembering our conversation with Rabbi Lew during the Kinus, I decided to learn 3 letters in the Rebbe’s Igros every day – for 30 days. In general, I have a hard time with keeping hachlatos, but I figured learning 3 letters for 30 days was sustainable. I approached my bookshelf, pulled out Igros Kodesh Chelek Yud Alef, and started learning.
This may sound sensationalist, but it became addictive. 30 days turned into approximately 11 years. Baruch Hashem, this week I finished learning through all the volumes of the Rebbe’s Igros Kodesh just by learning 3 letters every day.
After celebrating this special siyum with my family I shared the news on my WhatsApp status to encourage my friends to consider doing the same. Among the numerous “Mazel Tovs,” many thanked me for sharing the news. Some even suggested I share the news with the broader public to inspire more people to avail themselves of the tremendous treasure of the Rebbe’s Igros Kodesh. So upon their encouragement, I’d like to share some tips that helped me keep this hachlata.
1) First and foremost, my initial hachlata was not to learn the entire set. It was a daily ritual of connecting to the Rebbe by learning Igros Kodesh every day. I therefore chose a random volume and did not start from the first volumes which have much longer and more difficult letters to understand when not learning in-depth.
2) The only rigid part of the hachlata was to learn a minimum of 3 letters every day.
3) I mostly learned in order, but if I was very tired and the letter I was up to was long or difficult, I skipped ahead and returned to the letter when I had more time, etc.
4) There are many letters the Rebbe wrote to authors of seforim that might be difficult to understand without having the specific sefer on hand. I tried to learn something from every letter but moved on.
5) I generally did not travel with seforim. If the sefer I was currently learning was not available at my destination, I learned 3 random letters online, or from a Dvar Malchus, Likkutei Sichos, wherever I could find them.
A friend asked me what is the theme of all the letters in Igros and after 11 years I can say with confidence that the common theme is “Ein Oid Milvadoi.”
The Rebbe’s Igros Kodesh is perhaps the greatest expression of how the Rebbe, as the faithful shepherd of our generation, nourishes every Jew with everything we need, physically and spiritually. The kaleidoscope of people the Rebbe communicated with and the vast spectrum of topics is staggering and can be summarized as the Rebbe educating Klal Yisroel on the foundations of Yiddishkeit, guiding our path to the Geulah.