The Rebbe writes to Rabbi Y. Altein:
I am surprised that I only received the report of your and Rabbi Sholom Posner’s participation in the division of the Shas [Talmud]. After all the years living in your location have you not yet brought even one Jew under your influence?In my own words: A chossid has to create a chassidishe environment so much so that the Rebbeim will feel at home in his Shul and home. This will illuminate the darkness of exile, and therefore must not be delayed.
If this is so [that chassidei Chabad have a responsibility to influence their environment] even of matters related to the revealed dimension of the Torah [promoting participation in the division of the Talmud amongst the community], it applies all the more to matters related to the inner dimension of Torah and Mitzvos, which the evil inclination opposes more and more, and is at the ready to invent excuses of all kinds.
When will you finally begin to do your part in disseminating the wellsprings of the Baal Shem Tov outward? Moshiach is waiting for the activities of each and every one of us in order that what Moshiach answered the Baal Shem Tov be fulfilled, that then he would come to redeem us from the exile, which is an exile both for the body and for the soul.
This is not a mere theoretical point, but the simple meaning of that which is written in the Igeres HaKodesh of the Baal Shem Tov [Kesser Shem Tov 1].
You, and every one of your colleagues where you live, should create an environment that will be a corner of Lubavitch that Hashem has planted for the meantime in your location. The Alter Rebbe, travelling the world and coming to your location should not feel like a stranger. Rather, he should find a community of his own, a house of study of his own, sheimos from chassidishe books on the floor, and an atmosphere filled with letters of Torah and yiras Shomayim [fear of Heaven] in general, and letters of Chassidus Chabad in particular. Although the letters have risen above, their impression remains forever, as is known that an impression remains of every holy thing.
Until when are you all delaying this Avodah? In the meantime the entire Jewish people are found in the doubled and redoubled darkness of the exile, and there is no day when the unfortunate events do not become even worse than those of the previous day (Sotah 49a). This is especially true now that they have begun to call darkness, light, and slavery, redemption.
Along these lines it is written in HaYom Yom of 30 Adar I:
My father said: A chossid creates an environment. If he does not, he had better check his own baggage carefully, to see whether his own affairs are in order. The very fact that he fails to create an environment should make him as broken as a splinter. He must demand of himself: What am I doing in this world?
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