The Mishloach Manos Sent by the Rebbe’s Father

R’ Shlomo M. Hamburger, a Washington, DC, lawyer and a member of Chabad on Campus Advisory Board, provided the community with a translation and explanation of the 1932 letter that R’ Levi Yitzchok  sent as mishloach manos to his son, the Rebbe.

Every year, we find more and more goodies to send in our Mishloach Manos gift boxes, baskets, Russian dolls, and other Mishloach Manos delivery packages. They are all no doubt delectable treats for our bodies. But what do we send to reach the souls of our fellows?

In 1932, the Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, was in Denepropetrovsk, Ukraine and the Rebbe and his youngest brother Yisroel Aryeh Leib were in Berlin, Germany. It came time for Purim and Rabbi Levi Yitzchak could not be with his sons. Sending a basket of food was not feasible; nor was it appropriate. Instead, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak sent his sons a beautiful letter and pamphlet filled with deep Kabbalistic messages and heartfelt greetings that could only come from such a father to such sons.

Reb Shlomo Hamburger (author of Unlocking the Code, The Letters of Rabi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson) has provided the community with a translation and explanation of the 1932 letter as his own Mishloach Manos gift.

In the letter, one can see how Rabbi Levi Yitzchak explains in detail the theme of Hagadol v’hakatan gam yachad (great and small together) in the context of Megillat Esther. We can learn how one reaches the level of equivalence between otherwise opposite ideas. We can also reach a place where “cursed is Haman” and “blessed is Mordechai” are equivalent – we cannot tell the difference – and all value judgments are put aside. 

The letter also shows how much Rabbi Levi Yitzchak longed to be re-united with his sons (which was never to happen in the physical world). We also get a glimpse into the writing process and how Rabbi Levi Yitzchak actually wrote his letters and other material to the Rebbe over the years.

This letter was reviewed and edited by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Keller, Rabbi Chaim Dalfin, and Rabbi Mendel Bluming. 

After reviewing the translation, Rabbi Asher Crispe commented: “This is an excellent translation wonderfully wrapped in helpful explanatory notes. … It would be a great service to the world if more of this were made available as the source texts have an impacted density which renders them largely unapproachable to all but the most dedicated student of Kabbalah and Chassidut.”

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman commented: “I don’t know that there’s anyone alive today that can explain these letters fully, but [Hamburger] seem[s] to have unfolded much of it.” 

As the Rebbe wrote in a letter from Motzoei Tisha B’Av 5744: “It is my obligation and great zechus to suggest, request, etc., that everyone study from {my father’s} teachings…” Hamburger’s translation and explanation will certainly help advance that goal.

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