The Adar Announcements
This letter is addressed to R. Yitzchak Nota Neck, a Rabbi active in communal affairs in Wellington, NJ.
B"H, Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5704, Brooklyn
Greetings and blessings,
Your letter from the Sunday of Parshas Vayechi arrived. I was happy to find out that the publications which we sent you arrived intact and that with G-d's help, they are of great avail for the cause of Jewish education in your community.
We conveyed the letter you sent your brother, our friend, R. Nachum, to him.
In response to your request, we are now sending you more texts and booklets according to the list attached to this letter. Be so kind as to inform us how many copies you would like to be sent of each of the texts and booklets which we published. Similarly, please affirm your [subsequent] receipt of them.
We were pleased to read your report that a building committee for a mikveh has already been established in your city. Certainly, you will make it known that this is a matter of life importance for the soul and the body. Efforts should be made to hasten building the mikveh as soon as possible, without delaying it at all. There is no doubt, nor even a shadow of a doubt, that if you approach the matter with a strong resolve to do everything that is possible from your perspective, G-d will help you bring your resolve from the potential to the actual.
We have received a letter from a Mr. ____, [originally] from New Zealand, with whom we had not been familiar until now. Since it is possible that he lives in your neighborhood, it might be worthwhile to establish contact with him. We are enclosing, together with this letter, a copy of his letter and our response to him. Please inform us of all that you know concerning him.
Certainly, you are trying your utmost to found a society for the recitation of Tehillim - as explained at length in the second collection of letters from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, which we have already sent you.
I will conclude with some inspirational words concerning the content of the present day, the first of Adar. Our Sages (Shekalim 1:1) state that on the first of Adar, announcements should be made concerning shekalim and concerning kilayim, the mixture of several species on one tract of land. It is possible to explain that these two concepts share a connection to man's service of his Creator during these days of ikvesa deMeshicha.
Our Sages commented (Rosh HaShanah 11a): "Rabbi Yehoshua declares: 'In Nissan, they were redeemed. And in Nissan, they will be redeemed in the future.' "
We accept Rabbi Yehoshua's opinion that the Future Redemption will be in Nissan based on the general principle, see K'llalei HaShas, that whenever there is a difference of opinion between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua, the halachah follows Rabbi Yehoshua. See also the commentary of Rashi and Tosafos to the statement (Rosh HaShanah 12a) that with regard to the Flood, we follow the reckoning of Rabbi Eliezer, but with regard to the seasons, we follow the reckoning of Rabbi Yehoshua. They explain that since we follow the reckoning of Rabbi Yehoshua with regard to the seasons, his opinion is accepted [with regard to all associated concepts]. [See also] Tosafos, Rosh HaShanah, entry kiman, who raise a difficulty, stating: "That is problematic, because we follow Rabbi Yehoshua's approach."
Moreover, even according to Rabbi Eliezer who maintains that the Jews will be redeemed in Tishrei, Nissan is still "the month of redemption," because the exodus from Egypt, the first complete redemption, took place at that time.
With regard to the redemption from Egypt, [we find that] our Sages sought several reasons and factors for which our ancestors merited to be redeemed. (See Sotah 11b; Shmos Rabbah, ch. 1, and other sources.) Certainly, with regard to the fact that afterwards, because of our sins, we were exiled from our land, it is necessary that first we correct the fault, removing the reason for the exile, and afterwards, the Redemption will come. As Sanhedrin 97a,b states: "Rabbi Eliezer states: 'If the Jews repent, they will be redeemed....' Rabbi Yehoshua states: 'If they do not repent, I will raise up against them a king whose decrees are as harsh as Haman's and the Jews will repent.' " Thus according to all opinions, teshuvah will precede the Redemption.
This present exile - which will be the final exile - [came about because of the sin of unwarranted hatred,] as our Sages commented (Yoma 9b): "Why was the [Beis Ha]Mikdash destroyed? Because there was unwarranted hatred among them." [The exile] is not, however, intended merely to correct the particular matter for which it came. [Instead, there is a more comprehensive purpose.] Through the Divine service in the era of exile, in the present age, we will complete the task of refinement. As alluded to in our Sages' statement (Sanhedrin 98a): "The son of David will not come except in a generation that is entirely meritorious or one that is entirely accountable," i.e., at that time, there will be no mixture of good and bad. That mixture began with the sin of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.
This is alluded to by the Mishnah at the beginning of tractate Shekalim: "On the first of Adar...." Adar is a preliminary and a preparation for Nissan, the month of the Redemption. (See Rashi, Taanis 29a, entry mishenichnas, who refers to "the days of miracles [experienced] by the Jews: Purim and Pesach.") It is well known that the day of Rosh Chodesh - the first of Adar - serves as the "head," and thus includes the entire month. Thus on that day, we recite the prayer: "Renew this month for us." Therefore on the first of Adar, the court announces the general [thrusts] of the Divine service of this month which is a preparation for the Redemption.
This preparation is twofold, including: giving shekalim; these gifts equalize the entire Jewish people, for "the rich should not give more, nor should the poor give less." And they are included - as they are all fused together as a communal entity - as one entire body to offer a sacrifice to G-d. For they are all fused together as a single band to carry out the will of their Father in heaven. This represents the correction of the particular motivating factor for this exile - unwarranted hatred, as explained above.
And they make a [second] announcement concerning kilayim, [emphasizing how] the kelipah and sitra achra represent another position, the direct opposite of the side of holiness. There is no greater kilayim, mixture of two different species, than the mixture of good and evil. One must endeavor to uproot and remove all traces of evil. [This allows for the completion of the service of refinement.]
Through this service, it is possible to fulfill our Sages' (Taanis 29a) charge (which is also a promise): "When Adar enters (i.e., immediately, from Rosh Chodesh), we increase our joy."
May G-d cause us to merit, that speedily in our days, the entire Jewish people experience: "light and happiness, gladness and honor."
With the blessing, "Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption,"
Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Chairman of the Executive Committee
- (Back to text) [Before Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the people were required to donate the half-shekel for the sacrificial offerings of the coming year. On Rosh Chodesh Adar, announcements were made reminding the people of this obligation.
Kilayim, the prohibition against growing a mixture of different species on the same tract of land, applies throughout the year. Announcements reminding the people of this prohibition were made on Rosh Chodesh Adar, because at that time, the crops start to grow, and people would see whether or not forbidden crops were accidentally growing in their fields.]
- (Back to text) [Seder Tannaim VeAmoraim, ch. 15.]
- (Back to text) [Shmos 30:15.]
- (Back to text) [As it was necessary to uproot the forbidden crops growing in the field.]
- (Back to text) [Cf. Esther 8:16.]