Subsequent to these words and truths, I said to myself, “Can I conceal from those who love my soul and my heart what has arisen in my mind to do on their behalf; this great mitzvah and obligation which has been placed upon me for the above reason?” Though, admittedly, it is a very difficult burden for me to bear, for I am presently weak and not in full health because of the wrath of the oppressor, due to many difficult troubles and bitterness of the soul overriding them all etc.
This is especially difficult since the main concern, mentioned above, particularly involves those who are remote (and have never had the opportunity to travel to Liadi – as I myself have witnessed in most of the distant towns) that I passed through. Only four or five out of an entire town or congregation make the trip, so that there are only close to two or three quorums that are on the level of truly and sincerely being occupied in matters of Chassidus in their minds and hearts. They are hungry and thirsty. Their souls are faint and greatly yearn for the words of the Living G_d.
I openly wondered about this and they answered that the poor are unable to leave their meager source of income and pay the expense of such a trip. Those of average income are also concerned over the cost, principally about the loss of time in neglecting their financial concerns and income. In addition, though the expenditure is of no concern to them, the wealthy are also reticent to find the time to take three weeks out of their many pressing business dealings, this, notwithstanding the fact that the hearts of all the above, may be pure and they may truly desire the words of the Living G_d very much, and are even proficient in them and understand them.
Thus, I have met many people who are occupied in the study of Chassidus and are G_d fearing and very thirsty for the words of the Living G_d. Their only weakness, however, comes about because of the great distances involved. Because of this they may not make the trip for several years, until a decade can go by and the whole matter becomes forgotten from their heart.
In my estimation only a tenth go, the remaining nine tenths remaining at home, bereft of everything. Actually, in many cases, the ones who stay behind are men of truth whose hearts have been touched by the fear of G_d, more than those who make the trip and then, on their return, boast that they have heard Chassidic discourses, which they repeat. Furthermore, for the most part, this in itself causes people’s hearts to become estranged from each other, in that only small groups of two or three people venture to travel, rather than arranging for the entire community to travel together. This causes divisiveness in people’s hearts in that some may look down on others. No more need be said.
Furthermore, and this is essential; In truth, the foundation of Chassidus is that for it to truly become established in people’s souls all their days, they must be very occupied in contemplating it, speaking it and reviewing it even a hundred times. Moreover, this should specifically be done with a friend. In this way each one will strengthen his friend’s heart, by reviewing the teachings of Chassidus together, all their days. It is specifically this practice which creates complete union and awakens a resolve to strengthen the practice of Chassidus amongst the congregants in general so that it should not be forgotten and neglected by them due to preoccupation with earning a livelihood and other hindrances etc. However, this is only effective if they are united as one man, rather than if people set themselves above those who come to seek their counsel in such matters.
Nor should anyone cut themselves off from the ways of Chassidus by forming small cliques of two or three, in which they separate themselves from others of the Chassidic brotherhood. This evil practice causes much divisiveness amongst our Chassidic brotherhood, as I well know. However, I do not wish to dwell on this at length. Rather, I would like to emphasize that everyone should set it upon their souls to bring about a great strengthening of Chassidic practice by agreeing that the majority of the congregation should travel together. In this way, they will all speak and review the words of the Living G_d together, as one group. Thus, each person will strengthen his fellow and this will bring about a more permanent unity.
Also, they should resolve to be alert to always try to set a time for the congregation to travel together, when it is equally convenient for each person etc. Wise and understanding as they are I need not lengthen about how they should give counsel on how to save souls from spiritual collapse, heaven forbid. This is sufficient for those of understanding.
Now, therefore, I see that for the good of the remote members of our Chassidic brotherhood, I must take a responsibility upon myself that is greater than my strength. Let the distant communities appoint a designated place or town that is close to all the surrounding communities and let them also set a convenient annual time for themselves. They should inform me of this (through the messenger who bears this letter) and I hereby take it upon myself to travel to that town and to stay there for one month out of the year, during which time I will fulfill all their requests in matters of Chassidus.
I will occupy myself in studying Torah with them as much as I can, to the fullest of my ability, for as long as my strength holds out. I take this upon myself even though this toil will be a very heavy burden on me, for I feel compelled to do so out of compassion for them.
Let all the remote communities throughout the land schedule a set time in a central place in each area. However, the entire area should be informed of the time, place and hour so as not to cause confusion, as will be explained by the messenger who bears this letter. I have given over to him that the people should be notified in writing. If this is publicized to the general Chassidic community residing in the three or four places in the country that have scheduled it, each area in its own time and place, then all those in these remote areas of the land can come at their leisure to the designated place in the designated time. In this way, no one will become totally cast aside and removed from the teachings of Chassidus, heaven forbid. This is sufficient for those of understanding.
I have taken the original idea for this from the source and root of the life of our souls, my father, master, teacher and rabbi of blessed memory, whose soul reposes in Eden. Before he passed away he made a firm resolve to provide for the shortcomings and blemishes of the remote members of the Chassidic community by staying in three or four places that are close to them, and to be occupied in teaching them HaShem’s Torah and mitzvahs, as I Hinted at in short, above in this letter. The messenger who bears this letter will explain everything thoroughly etc.
From the core of my heart, which has always and forever been faithful to them, I look forward to their response (concerning all the above mentioned matters).
From one who speaks with tzedakah, the tzedakah of HaShem. May there be grace upon each and every one, from the greatest to the smallest. Amen, Selah.
Dovber, the son of my father, master, teacher and rabbi, the G_dly genius, our teacher and rabbi, Schneur Zalman of blessed memory, whose soul reposes in Eden.