The following letter of the Rebbe is being publicly published for the first time, courtesy of Rabbi Sholom Mendel Simpson, the Rebbe’s secretary, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Gimmel Tammuz 5754. The collection of Igros Kodesh given to Rabbi Simpson will be printed in the near future.
By the Grace of G-d
8 Cheshvan, 5713
Brooklyn 13, New York
Blessing and Greetings:
I have duly received your letter, but due to the intervention of the month of Tishrei and all the festivals in it, I was unable to reply to it sooner. In the meantime you have no doubt received my good wishes for the New Year.
Referring to your letter and various questions and problems about which you write, I want to dwell on item 6 of your letter which contains the key to all your other problems. In this paragraph you mentioned that you feel depressed and cannot see any reasons for a brighter future. You ask how you can really get rid of your fears.
The answer is comparatively simple. When a person will reflect, in a logical way about the creation and the order and precision and laws that are to be found in nature, the conclusion must be inescapable. There is a tremendous system of order in the universe, and strict laws, and, therefore there can be no doubt that the world is regulated by plan, order and purpose.
The very fact that there is order, purpose and law in the universe, must lead one to the conviction that all this is good, since evil is the opposite of order and system, and is associated with chaos.
No matter how much importance a person attaches to ones own self and ones own problems, he must recognize that if there is such order in such a complicated universe, how much easier it is to bring about law and order in ones own small universe – a thought which should lead to satisfaction and peace of mind.
If there are people who complicate their lives, it is because people have free choice of action and mind. But this very fact of the human-being having a free will is a part of the entire system of goodness and purpose in the world, for it was G-d’s design that the human-being should not be an automaton but should be able, freely, to choose eternal life and goodness.
If we consider all the above, we must come to the firm conviction that if man would not upset his own life through circumstances depending upon his free will, he would inevitably come to the good. Even if, temporarily, one finds ones self in an unpleasant or painful situation, it is surely infinitely insignificant by comparison to all the good that will result from it.
By way of illustration: If you see a person working at a job for somebody else, it would seem at first glance that the employer is exploiting the knowledge, experience and energy of the employee, and that the employee seemingly has no immediate benefit from his toil. To him who is unaware that at the end of the week the working will receive his pay envelope, it would seem the height of cruelty and injustice to exploit another human-being in this fashion. But come pay day at the end of the week, the worker will receive full compensation for his sweat and toil, which will enable him to support himself, his wife and family. It will then be clear that not only is there no injustice or cruelty in such work, but that the work is amply compensated.
Similarly in ones personal life. If it seems to one that there appears to be no purpose in his personal life and that there seems to be, rather, more pain than pleasure in it, it is only because one cannot foresee the future and the results of the circumstances which have caused such pain or exertion.
However, the firm faith and knowledge that the Almighty is Master of the universe, and that every human-being is but a small part of it, and, therefore, the Almighty is Master also of the personal life of each human being with all that happens in it, also gives the certain knowledge that no matter how ones life is shaped, there must be justice in it and each human-being will, sooner or later, depending upon his merit and energy, eventually see that that is so.
In the light of the above, you may be quite certain that there is a good answer to all your problems and that eventually all the complications will be resolved satisfactorily. Needless to say, one has to seek to solve ones problems, but there can be no room for a feeling of depression and certainly no room for a feeling of despondency, which can be nothing but destructive.
With regard to your item No. 1, in which you complain about lack of good health, it is no doubt largely due to the state of nervousness and depression you are in. I am sure that if you will try to correct this, which depends entirely on you. I am sure that if you will try to correct this, which depends entirely on you, you will also find a considerable improvement in your health, and you will also be able to respond much better to the treatments which specialists give you.
The same applies to Items No. 2, 3 and 4. If you will develop a more optimistic view on life it will give you a more cheerful disposition, your job will not appear so difficult and tedious, and you will not feel so unhappy about it. This will also help you to get your suitable match in due course.
With regard to Item No. 5, concerning “Ayin Hora” the best thing is to dismiss it from your mind and give a few cents every morning to Tzedoko before the prayer of Shema.
Item No. 7, regarding psychiatric help. If you mean seeking psychiatric advice through a visit or two, and the psychiatrist in question ine one who understands the atmosphere in a Jewish religious home, there can be no objection to it. However, I would not recommend that you undertake a lengthy psychiatric treatment, since you yourself could do considerably more for yourself than any psychiatrist can do for you.
I have turned over your contribution to our Special Charity Fund, from which help is given anonymously to deserving cases, which is one of the highest forms of Tzedoko, and I trust that it will add to your merits to become one who is happy with his lot and soon to see with your own eyes that you have good reasons to be happy.
With prayer wishes and blessings,
[The Rebbe’s signature]