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 The Adar Announcements Fusion of Matter and Spirit


Who's The Outcast?

8th of Adar 2, 5727 [1967]
Mrs. A. C. Y. H.
Blessing and Greeting:

Your cable reached me with some delay. I also received your recent correspondence.

Upon receipt of your cable, the following reply was cabled back to you, "Replying to your cable, wishing you successful treatment, good news, with blessing."

May G-d grant that you should have good news to report, especially now as we are in the auspicious month of Adar. The auspiciousness of this month is, of course, connected with the miraculous Purim festival, in which Jewish women have a particularly important part, for Esther, together with Mordechai, brought about the turn of events. And although Mordechai was as much the essential figure as Esther, and as we say in the Purim prayer, "In the days of Mordechai and Esther," yet the Megilla containing the story of Purim, and which is one of the sacred books of the T'NaCh [Bible], is not called after Mordechai, nor after Mordechai and Esther jointly, but solely after Esther - Megillat Esther - the "Book of Esther."

With reference to your letter, I read with considerable interest your outline of your curriculum vitae. I am gratified to note that you are conducting your home in the way of our sacred Torah, called Torat Chaim [The Torah of life] because it is both the source of true life as well as the true guide in daily life, despite the difficulties that you had in the past, and are still experiencing to some extent.

To be sure, that period of time in the past when the daily life should have been different, requires rectification, especially by means of a determined effort to improve the present and future, so as to make up for the past. On the other hand, human nature is such that things that come easily are easily taken for granted, and are not so appreciated and cherished as things for which one had to fight and struggle. Thus, the level of Yiddishkeit [Torah-living] which you and your husband attained through real efforts has permeated you more deeply and thoroughly, and may G-d grant that you should both continue in this direction together with your children, without allowing yourself to be hindered or influenced in any way by the difficulties which you describe in your letter.

On the contrary, the difficulties themselves can serve as a challenge and stimulus to greater spiritual advancement, as is also explained in Chasidic literature, namely that one could learn a lesson even from the Yetzer Hara [Evil Inclination]. For it is clear how persistent and relentless the Yetzer Hara is in doing its duty to distract a Jew from the way of Torah and mitzvot, by presenting him constantly with various difficulties, temptations and all sorts of arguments to the contrary. So much so that the Yetzer Hara often appears in a guise of piety and "The voice of morality," such as the commandment of honoring one's father and mother, the need to preserve peace and harmony, and the like justify a deviation from the Shulchan Aruch [the Code of Jewish Law].

The determination and the dedication of the Yetzer Hara to its duty should therefore serve as an inspiration how much more should a person be devoted and dedicated to his real task, considering that the Jew has a Divine soul and a natural inner drive towards the good and holy, which should make one truly thrilled to be able to serve G-d with joy and gladness of heart.

In connection with the above I must take exception to the expression which you use in your letter, that you sometimes feel like "outcasts" within your family whose ways have parted from the Jewish way of life and who resent your adherence to traditional Yiddishkeit [Judaism].

As a matter of fact, the situation is precisely the reverse, for if anyone is to be considered an outcast, it is the one that excludes himself from the way of Torah and the Jewish tradition which goes back more than a hundred generations to the time when the Jewish people became a holy nation at Mt. Sinai.

Jewish history has clearly demonstrated what has been the mainstream of Jewish tradition and the very basis of Jewish existence throughout the ages.

We have always had deviationists, from the time of the Golden Calf worshippers to present-day assimilationists. But all these have been passing phenomena which came more or less to a swift end when some of the deviationists returned to the mainstream of Jewish tradition, while others, the outcasts, were lost. The same was true in regard to the Baal worshippers during the period of the first Beit Hamikdash [Holy Temple] in Jewish history, the Sadducees in the time of the second Beit Hamikdash, followed by the first Christians, later the Karaites, etc., etc.

The common denominator that bound all Jews together, and served as the basis for Jewish survival, cannot be considered in terms of territory - for Jews have been without a country for the greater part of their history. Nor can it be considered the language - because Jews spoke different languages, at different times and countries, and even during the time of King Chizkiyahu, there were Jews who spoke Aramaic. Nor can other cultural and social factors be considered as the common denominator of Jewish survival, since these too have changed from time to time and from country to country.

The only things that have not changed in Jewish life are Shabbat observance, kashrut, tefilin, and all the other mitzvot of the Torah, both the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. It is therefore the Torah and mitzvot which are the basis of Jewish life and survival.

Consequently, the more one's daily life and conduct adheres to this pattern of Jewish living, the more one is attached to the Jewish people, and conversely, the more concessions one is willing to make, the more one lessens one's bonds to the Jewish people, until one may become an outcast, G-d forbid.

As for the "charge" that some people make to the effect that this sort of traditional Judaism is "fanaticism" and the like, this is also nothing new, for there have always been Jews, from the time of the Golden Calf worshippers mentioned above, who considered themselves "modern" and called others fanatics, fundamentalists and the like.

With regard to your personal question (if the question is still valid) as to the advisability of your taking a position in the educational field, a position which some of your local Chasidic friends who know you and know the position, have urged you to accept, it is surely unnecessary to emphasize to you at length the importance of education, and the privilege of being able to educate Jewish boys and girls. It should be borne in mind that every little bit of good influence while the children are young is multiplied many times as that child becomes of age.

The obvious illustration is that of a seed or seedling, when even a small scratch or defect at that stage could become crippling to the adult tree, while every benefit at that stage is multiplied many times.

I send you my prayerful wishes for the fulfillment of your heart's desires for good, especially for a refua [recovery] and good health, and the fulfillment of the mitzvot with joy and gladness of heart, and hope to hear good news from you.

 The Adar Announcements Fusion of Matter and Spirit



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