In the file where we keep all important family documents, there is a folder which we open from time to time. The papers in it are aging; some indeed, are quite yellow, but we refer to them often. There is a letter my received when she was a child, the answer to the announcement of our engagement, some advice we received at turning points in our lives, and blessings for our children. Our interest in the folder is more than sentimental. The answers which the Rebbe gave us in the past serve as guideposts for our present and future. The advice he then gave us helps focus our energies and highlight our individual missions. This is not a unique narrative. On the contrary, tens of thousands of people from the broadest spectrums of Jewish life treasure the letters they received from the Rebbe. The 24 volumes of Igros Kodesh enable us to look inside the personal files of the people whose lives the Rebbe touched with his written word. We see the Rebbe's scholarship, the care he has for every individual Jew, the communal projects which he pioneered, and many other dimensions of his leadership. Time and time again, we see how he gives a person an insight that lifts him above the vantage point from which he operated previously and gives him the perspective to find a solution to his difficulties. Perhaps most significant is the twofold dimension of the correspondence. On one hand, each letter is carefully tailored for the particular recipient, providing him with insights that relate to him personally. But while the Rebbe is speaking to the recipient, he is sharing a message that transcends the individual's sphere, and is sweeping in its relevance. The volume, the first of a series, gives English readers keys to this treasure store.
by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger