The second installment of Vaad Talmidei Hatmimim’s collection of Igros Kodesh contains letters from the Rebbe on how to cope with and overcome any challenge that comes our way.
By Anash.org writer
Vaad Talmidei Hatmimim’s newest project is off to a strong start with their second installment of Igros Kodesh addressing topics that concern challenges we all face.
In recent weeks the Vaad Hatmimim initiated a unique project to bring the Rebbe’s perspective on various topics to the forefront of a bochur’s mind. For 7 weeks, they will be releasing a collection of the Rebbe’s letter on a different topic each week.
In this week’s installment, the Rebbe’s letters address the proper way to deal with struggles and challenges that come up in one’s life.
“These are powerful letters,” one of the organizers told Anash.org, “possibly the most important letters in the entire Igros Kodesh.”
In one poignant letter, the Rebbe writes that he “could not believe his eyes” when reading the letter sent to him. “Hashem…[made it] your lot to educate the children of Israel in the paths of Chassidus…You received a clear directive from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ”מ, to study shechita… Instead of all the above, you are thinking about amulets, divination based on the form of the face, the lines of the palm, handwriting analysts, soothsayers, and those who attempt to foretell the future using sticks…”
The Rebbe goes on to write how this individual should deal with the challenges in his life, and on what his focus should be to overcome his struggle.
Read the full translation below.
B”H, 15 Teves, 5711,
Greetings and blessings,
In response to your letter of the 27th of Kislev: I read and reread your letter and could not believe my eyes. G‑d has granted you a good portion. Without any investment of effort on your part, He has given you the merit of knowing about the teachings of Chassidus and studying them, and yet you are absorbed in doubts as to whether you should study the Torah of life; i.e., the Torah’s inner dimensions, the light of the Torah, the Torah’s hidden dimensions that connect the hidden dimensions of the Jewish people with the hidden dimensions of the Holy One, blessed be He. And you offer several rationales concerning this.
G‑d brought about a series of causes [and effects] until it became your lot to educate the children of Israel in the paths of Chassidus, i.e., to draw down to them vitality, warmth, and light. And yet, you are absorbed in doubts as to whether to continue this work. And for this as well, you find “holy rationales.”
You received a clear directive from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ”מ, to study the profession of ritual slaughter (and from your letter itself, it appears that your hands are fit for this [task]) and yet you are in doubt whether you should do this. And, of course, there is no lack of reasons [why not].
Instead of all the above, you are thinking about amulets, divination based on the form of the face, the lines of the palm, handwriting analysts, soothsayers, and those who attempt to foretell the future using sticks, etc., etc.
“Days have been created.” As explained in the teachings of Chassidus, each person has been granted a fixed number of days to fulfill the mission of the Holy One, blessed be He, on this earth. Every hour and every day spent on matters that are not relevant to him also constitutes a lack in the fulfillment of his mission. Conversely, “the Holy One, blessed be He, does not come with overwhelming demands to His created beings.” Since you have been entrusted with a mission, you have certainly been given the potentials to fulfill it.
If you will heed my voice, you will forsake all soothsayers, oracles, and divination, etc., as mentioned above. Moreover, over the course of several weeks, you should divert your attention from thoughts about your own spiritual standing: that you have doubts concerning your faith in G‑d (that is certainly not true, because you are “a believer, the son of a believer), that you cannot focus your thoughts (this is only the laziness of the yetzer hara that does not want to strain itself), that you are empty of Torah (the advice to counter this is Torah study, not sadness and wasteful thoughts), that you must correct yourself (according to Chassidus, this is achieved through teshuvah, prayer, Torah study, and tzedakah, not through amulets or [trying to foretell the future with] sticks), and the like.
Over the course of the coming weeks, you should be happy that you merited to be among those who are called “children of G‑d, your L‑rd,” that you merited to grow up in the tent of the Torah (and not among those who sit on the street-corners), that you merited to see the lights of the inner dimensions of the Torah and to cling to the Tree of Life. You should recall Rambam’s ruling in Hilchos Deos 4:1 that “the body being healthy and intact is among the paths of G‑d.” You should continue your work at the yeshivah if the administration thinks that you are fit for this. You should study out loud and from a text or manuscript. After you have studied for about an hour, you should stop for five or ten minutes (to rest or to review the theme of the subject that you studied) and then you should continue.
If it does not create difficulties with the above, you should study the profession of ritual slaughter (and also [the laws concerning] removing the veins and tendons if [the subjects are studied] together in our Holy Land). You should interest yourself in a shidduch if such a matter is suggested. You should observe the daily study sessions of Chitas as explained in the introduction to HaYom Yom and the [Tanya] study schedule. Every day, you should recite kapitel 71 of Tehillim until the coming Yud-Beis Tammuz, and give several small coins to tzedakah every day. For about an hour before going to sleep, do not eat or drink. Before going to sleep, study the teachings of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ”מ, for at least a few minutes. It is understandable that all of the above should be carried out without committing yourself with a vow.
You should seek ways to attract the youth who are distant from the Torah and its mitzvos at present and draw them close to Divine service.
If “the disgusting one confronts you” again with thoughts about yourself, recall immediately that you are the servant of the Holy One, blessed be He, that your service involves motivating His children to repent, and your time is not your own.
With blessing, awaiting acknowledgment of the receipt of this letter,