On Shabbos Parshas Eikev, 5776, in 770, Moshiach’s Sefer Torah was taken out for the Torah reading.
In the middle of the Cohen’s aliyah, the Baal Koreh noticed a letter “alef” that might not be kosher. Note that in 5747 when a p’sul was found during Kriyas HaTorah, the Rebbe said it was a sign from Above that something in the community needed rectification. Here, it occurred with Moshiach’s Sefer Torah(!), and surely we must not regard it as “mikreh nikra” (random occurrence), but rather try to figure out what needs rectification.
A regular participant in the Siyum HaRambam in 770, R’ Yaakov Bock, saw that this is something that will need to be addressed at the Melave Malka/Siyum HaRambam that night. He asked the Rebbe via Igros Kodesh how we should understand this event, in order to speak about it at the farbrengen in the proper way.
He opened Igros Kodesh volume 16, page 318-9 to the following answer of the Rebbe:
…It is exceedingly correct that in his holy community he will arouse each and every one who considers that the Previous Rebbe also intended to address him when he wrote “Anash” in the letter, to arouse them in accordance with the content of the letter*, and to suggest to each and every one to make an accounting of the time that has passed since the letter was written (Fifteen years!…): What has been done in the direction that is spoken about in the letter, how much has been done in this direction and the opposite.
Now, since he merited to receive a letter that pertains to the public — at minimum the “poor of your city” [i.e., at least his local community] are his responsibility. And well-known is the story of chazal (Shabbos 55a) that if it is revealed before the Holy One, blessed be He, those who did not heed the warnings — but to humans it was not revealed.**
* The footnote indicates a letter of the Previous Rebbe in his Igros Kodesh, vol. 7, #1930, translated below.
** The Gemara there discusses the need to rebuke wrongdoers, even if “before HKBH it is revealed that they won’t accept it”, because to us this is not revealed.
Here is a free translation of the letter of the Previous Rebbe. (Text not underlined in the original letter.)
24 Teves, 5703 (1943)
My friend…Yosef [Flier], ‘שיחי
Sholom and brocha!
In answer to his letter about writing the Sefer Torah for Kabbolos Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu. There are not special hidden intentions, and it is not for fundraising, as we spoke at the Yom Tov seudah with our friends from Anash, שיחיו, when we spoke about the birthpangs of Moshiach* and Bias Moshiach Tzidkeinu. Among the things I said was that I intend to write, with the help of Hashem, a Sefer Torah, but not like the worldly custom to do so for the sake of generating steady income for a mosad. Rather, it is specifically for kabbolos pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu b’korov mamash, and out of ahavas Yisroel whoever desires to participate in the writing of the letters can do so, and many from Anash and those who cherish a mitzvah in this country, in Eretz Yisroel, may it be rebuilt, and in the rest of the countries where they heard of this, asked to participate, and each one chooses a letter for himself as he desires.
What he writes that he is thinking in what way he can expand the circle of influence of my inyonim. It was nice for me to hear that at least he is thinking about this, however my inyonim — that most of them are avodah b’poal — the thought alone doesn’t help, because the main thing is the action, but at least there is hope that from the thought it will come in the end to action.
I will not conceal that my heart is very very pained over Anash, שיחיו, that they are not helping me in my avodah — in my inyonim as he writes in his letter — not in my inyan of fixing times to learn Chassidus, not my inyan of the Yeshivos and not in the rest of the inyonim, like Merkaz L’inyonei Chinuch, Machaneh Yisroel, disseminating “Hakriah Vehakedusha”, because also there are those from among Anash שיחיו who have been hit with the plague of this country, speaking one way but feeling another way which is called politics.
My eyes see the illness which dirties the purity of those of Chassidic lineage (גזע החסידים), and my soul cries inwardly over the inheritance of the holy ancestors and lineage of the community of Chassidus Chabad whose ancestors were moser nefesh mamash for the Torah and conduct of Chabad, and among them are those being drawn by the current of disordered life and are becoming degraded, and especially in the heterim to remove the hair of the beard, and indifference to all matters of Torah, and avodah of the heart in davening patiently (תפילה במתינות).
The mouth cannot reveal my great pain and agmas nefesh, as it is over three years since I left the land of life, the life of Torah and Mitzvos, the life of Chassidim, and came to a barren desert, barren of avodah in Torah and Tefilla, and fulfilling mitzvos is in a way of habit. The cold and chill in all the deeply important matters is very great. Everyone from the young to the old are only worked up about the parnasa of the body, “they are likened to beasts”, and a spirit of folly drives them with a love of money and wealth, and I, when I was in Lubavitch, when I sat in the holy chamber of my father…in surroundings illuminated by G-dly fire in Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim, I said “I will never falter”. By decree of Providence I was exiled from Lubavitch and after ten exiles from city to city and from country to country I was exiled to this country. Who do I have here and what do I have here? I fell into a sea of ice regarding all matters of holiness and purity of intention and no one answers me.
Ana Hashem, hoshia na!
Even those few individuals in Anash שיחיו who are true ohavim, nonetheless all of their love is only fleshly love, and the rare ones among them who are interested in my situation, even so, their concern is only to support me and my household financially, but not to participate in my inyonim which, with Hashem’s help, I will be able to fulfill my obligation and shlichus in this world. My eyes are raised upwards and my heart davens and beseeches my holy forefathers that they should elevate song and tefilla on behalf of the branch of their lineage which is broken and contrite from the suffering of his people and who wages war with the awesome ice which is hovering over the heads of the Rabbonim and the G-d-fearing שיחיו … to say to them to Am Yisroel in a clear language that the birthpangs of Moshiach are proceeding and are coming and therefore “return O Israel” and your eyes will gaze upon the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu b’korov mamash.
My eyes look towards the near future when our friends Anash שיחיו will awaken — Hashem should give that the awakening be b’chesed and b’rachamim — from their slumber — a slumber of foolishness — to fulfill their obligation for which Hashem brought them to this country, and the merit of the Chassidic forefathers will help them.
And now, if he is thinking in which way he will be able with Hashem’s help to expand the circle of influence of my inyonim then he should give himself to disseminate hundreds of copies of the “Shmussen” among the youth who learn in kosher Talmud Torahs and to disseminate the “Kriah Vehakedusha” among his acquaintances, and Hashem will help him b’gashmiyus and b’ruchniyus.
The one who seeks his well being and blesses him.
* Note the maamor of the Rebbe printed for 20 Menachem-Av, 5747, Parshas Ekev, that addresses the pirush of the Tzemach Tzedek that “Eikev” refers to the time of “Ikvesa d’Meshicha”.