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 A Dollar for Tzedakah Counting of the Omer

Birthday Presents

12th of Nisan, 5741 [1981]
Greeting and Blessing:

On the occasion of the forthcoming Yom Tov Pesach [Passover holiday], I send you my prayerful wishes that the Festival of Our Freedom brings you and yours true freedom, freedom from anxiety, material and spiritual, from anything which might distract from serving G-d wholeheartedly and with joy, and to carry over this freedom and joy into the whole year.

Wishing you and yours a happy and kosher Pesach.

With blessing,

P.S. It was a pleasure to see you at the farbrengen [Chasidic gathering] on the occasion of the 11th of Nisan, and exchange l'chayim blessings.

Although it is not customary nor proper to ask for a birthday gift, but considering our special relationship, I venture to do so, being confident that you will treat it in the proper spirit.

The birthday gift that I have in mind, which I would consider an honor, as well as a great pleasure, is that you devote a quarter of an hour of your time every weekday morning and dedicate it for the sacred purpose of putting on tefilin, with the appropriate prayer that goes with it, such as the Shema and the like. The latter need not be necessarily recited in Hebrew. If you can manage this in ten minutes, I am prepared to forego five minutes and let it be only ten minutes of your time.

In addition to the thing itself, being one of the greatest mitzvot, as our Sages said that the whole Torah was compared to it, the mitzva of putting on tefilin on the left arm, facing the heart, and on the head, the seat of the intellect, has the special Divine quality of purifying the heart and the mind, emotion and reason, and bringing them into the proper balance and harmony. While this is important for every Jew, it is certainly of special significance to one whose normal activities involve a great deal of mental and emotional strain, and it is highly important to have them in the proper balance for the utmost degree of efficiency.

The above is of additional significance in your case as chairman of the board of ........, in which you have had such remarkable hatzlacha [success], with G-d's help, and have been able to involve many others to follow in your footsteps. Thus, this "birthday gift" would also have a salutary effect on the institution, its administration and students, and further widen the channels for all concerned to receive G-d's blessings materially and spiritually.

I trust that you put on tefilin every morning in any case, and the reason I am asking you the above is only that you should make it a definite point on your calendar to make sure that your preoccupation with your personal business and the business of the Rabbinical College would not distract you even once to overlook the putting on of tefilin. And this will be my reward.

P.P.S. Although in matters of ........, I usually send a copy to our distinguished mutual friend Rabbi ........, I am not sending him a copy of this letter, considering its personal nature. I leave it to you whether you wish to show it to him.

 A Dollar for Tzedakah Counting of the Omer

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