The following comes from Sichos In English.
An unprecedented expression of respect for the contributions of an individual. An adaptation of addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
1. During the week of Shiva, Parshas Eikev, 5750
2. At the conclusion of Sheloshim, Parshas Ki Seitzei, 5750.
A Tribute to Rabbi Yaakov Yehudah Hecht
During this past week, we celebrated the Fifteenth of Av which our Sages associated with an increase in Torah study, promising (as Rashi relates): "Whoever increases his Torah study will have his life increased."
Torah is the true life of our people. In particular, this is evident among children whose observance of Torah is infused with vitality and enthusiasm. In this context, it would be appropriate to mention an individual who, throughout his lifetime, was able to infuse Jewish children with life and energy in Torah practice, Rabbi Ya?akov Yehudah Hecht. The Previous Rebbe noted his unique capabilities and placed him in the forefront of the efforts to spread Jewish education, as head of Shaloh (Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education) which was founded by the Previous Rebbe. This involvement in Jewish education also led Rabbi Hecht to establish Camp Emunah.
The word Emunah is a feminine form of the word Emes which means "truth." Nevertheless, it also has an independent meaning, "faith." A person begins his service of G-d using the potential of faith, he believes that Torah is true. Ultimately, he comes to a personal awareness and appreciation of Torah?s truth.
In this context, our Sages statement, "Chabakuk based [all the mitzvos] on one [foundation], `A righteous man shall live by his faith, takes on deeper meaning. The cornerstone and the launching point for any advance in the service of G-d is faith.
The approach of Emunah was characteristic of its Director who was able to spark the flame of faith in countless men, women and children whom he encountered in his efforts to spread Torah and Yiddishkeit. His names, Yaakov and Yehudah, reflected his leadership potential. Yaakov was "the chosen one among the Patriarchs" and "the father of the tribes" and Yehudah was "the head of the tribes."
May we be spared the pain of sorrowful thoughts, for in the immediate future, we will witness the Resurrection of the Dead. Then we will declare, "Here is Yaakov," "Here is Yehudah," and "Here is the Previous Rebbe and here are the Chassidim who share deep soul bonds with him."
* * *
The fourteenth of Elul marks the conclusion of the period of sheloshim (the thirty days of mourning) for Rabbi Yaakov Yehudah Hecht who was charged by the Previous Rebbe with spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit, particularly, in the field of Jewish education. He dedicated himself to this task with self-sacrifice for many years.
Everything which occurs is controlled by Divine Providence. Thus, the time of Rabbi Hecht’s passing and similarly, the occasion of the sheloshim are surely connected with the service to which he dedicated his life.
One of the primary activities in which Rabbi Hecht was involved was the establishment of classes of Jewish education for public school children. Initially, various legal questions that were raised which caused difficulties in organizing these classes. Without being deterred, Rabbi Hecht dedicated himself to these activities and ultimately was successful in obtaining government permission for this project. Through these efforts, classes were established in hundreds of different locations.
Our Sages have elaborated on the importance of the education of young children, associating these efforts with the concepts of exile and redemption. Thus, our Sages state, "Jerusalem was destroyed solely because the Torah study of the children was nullified." Consequently, it may be inferred that for Jerusalem and the Beis HaMikdash to be rebuilt, efforts have to be directed to this goal.
In this context, we can understand the significance of the date, the Fifteenth of Av, on which Rabbi Hecht passed away. The month of Av is associated with the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. However, as our Sages emphasize, the destruction was intended so that the Beis HaMikdash would ultimately be rebuilt on a higher level than it existed beforehand. This intent is associated with an increase in Torah study which begins from the fifteenth of Av onwards and continues throughout the month of Elul (which is associated with the giving of the Second Tablets). In particular, this increase should be expressed in the area of the education of Jewish children. Removing the cause for the Beis HaMikdash?s destruction, will cause the effect, the destruction and the exile, also to cease, and bring about the revelation of the Third Beis HaMikdash.
The above concepts are also alluded to in Rabbi Hecht’s name, Yaakov Yehudah. (It is appropriate to derive a lesson from Rabbi Hecht’s name for one of the campaigns in which he was involved, encouraged children to use their Hebrew names. ) Yaakov, includes the entire Jewish people as the Alter Rebbe explains, the soul of Yaakov, our Patriarch, included the soul of every single Jew to be born until the end of time. This is also reflected in the fact that Yaakov was the father of the twelve tribes from which the entire Jewish people stem.
To explain this concept using Chassidic terminology: Yaakov represents "the Sublime Chariot," the level of Atzilus. However, the name Yaakov can also be divided into ..., which indicates that the yud, which stands for G-d, will be revealed within the context of eikev, the "heel," the lowest levels.
The transition from the level of Atzilus to the rung of eikev is accomplished through the tribes. They extend Yaakov’s influence so that it can relate to all Jews as they exist within the context of this material world. Within the tribes themselves, Yehudah was the "foremost among the tribes," representing the quality of kingship. Thus, the entire Jewish people are also referred to with the name Yehudah.
To translate the above into terms relevant to our service: Yaakov is associated with the service of Torah study. Yehudah grants us the potential to carry out the study of Torah on the level of deed. Thus, when Yaakov descended to Egypt, he "sent Yehudah before him to Goshen" "to establish a house of study." For Jews in Egypt ? in exile ? to study Torah, they require the influence of Yehudah which is associated with the strength of a king.
The above was reflected in the service of Rabbi Yaakov Yehudah Hecht. He sought to draw down the influence of Yaakov Torah to all Jews, particularly children, even those deep in exile, i.e., those attending public schools. He did this with the strength of a king (Yehudah).
There is a further allusion in his name. His two names, Ya?akov and Yehudah, are numerically equivalent to 212, which is also the numerical equivalent of the word Rebbi?, which means "teacher." This is appropriate for Rabbi Hecht was the teacher of thousands of Jewish children. Furthermore, Rabbi Hecht dedicated himself to the Rebbe, the leader of our generation, seeking to express the Rebbe?s desires on the level of deed and action. As soon as he heard even a hint that the Rebbe wanted something, he set out to do whatever was required to allow that wish to be fulfilled in actual deed.
[This can be associated with the chapter of Pirkei Avos (ch. 2) which is studied this Shabbos which begins: "Rebbi would say...." Rabbi Hecht?s service involved "saying," i.e., expressing in the world, "Rebbi." "Rebbi" is associated with Torah study as evident from his composition of the Mishnah. ] Everything which a Jew sees or hears must serve as a directive in the service of G-D. Hence, reflecting on Rabbi Hecht?s achievements should spur each individual to involve himself in similar activities, the education of Jewish children, including those attending in public schools.
May these activities hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy, "Those who lie in the dust will arise and sing," when the Previous Rebbe will arise together with those Chassidim who established bonds with him. And the entire Jewish people will merit to study Torah from the best teacher, G-d, Himself, as it is written, "A man will no longer teach his colleague because all will know Me, from the small to the great."
. Notes from the preceding Sichos
. In regard to Rosh HaShanah, the three consecutive days of festive meals applies even in Eretz Yisrael.
. From a mystic perspective, there is a connection between the names Yaakov and Yehudah and the qualities of Emes and Emunah mentioned previously. Emes reflects the quality of Tiferes which is identified with Yaakov, while Emunah reflects the quality of Malchus which is identified with Yehudah.
. This is particularly true since only a brief time has passed since the soul departed from the body. Even after a person?s passing, his soul shares a connection with the body.
. The awesome number of children involved in Torah study in that era is emphasized by our Sages? statement: "In Betar, there were four hundred synagogues. Each one had four hundred teachers and each teacher instructed four hundred young children." Similarly, throughout Eretz Yisrael and the diaspora, there were an abundance of children who studied Torah.
. Our Sages explain that from the Fifteenth of Av onwards, it is proper to use the additional hours of the night for an increase in Torah study. They promised, "Whoever makes an increase, will have his days increased."
. This campaign is associated with the redemption of the Jewish people as emphasized by our Sages who stated that one of the reasons the Jews merited the redemption from Egypt was that "they did not change their names." They continued using Hebrew names through the entire exile.
. Indeed, the Hebrew word for tribe, shevet, is also associated with the concept of extension.
. The association of Yehudah with this quality is further emphasized by our Sages? statement: "Royalty is acquired through thirty attributes." The numerical equivalent of Yehudah .... is thirty.
. The Torah is the source of life-energy for the entire Jewish people. Since, as explained above, Ya?akov includes all Jewish souls, it is appropriate that he be connected with this service.
. The Torah is also associated with the quality of kingship as our Sages declared: "Who are our kings? Our Rabbis."
. The abbreviation of Rabbi Hecht’s two names,.. is also significant. The name Y-H-V-H begins with a Yud, i.e., the yud reflects its highest level, and the name A-donai ends with a yud, i.e., the yud relates to its lowest extension. Thus, two yuddim reflect the extension of high peaks symbolized by the yud of the Y-H-V-H into the lowest levels that relate to the yud of A-donai.
. The word Rebbi is also associated with the Sanctuary (and thus, with the Beis HaMikdash). The letters... are also associated with the letters of the word ...? [for a beis is often interchanged with a shin and the complete expression of a yud (numerically equivalent to ten) is yud times yud (100) which is the numerical equivalent of kuf. ..? meaning "beam," refers to the beams of the Sanctuary.
When rearranged, the same letters spell out the word .., "connection," which reflects the bond between a Chossid and a Rebbe.
. This is also related to the Torah study of younger children which revolves primarily around the study of the Mishnah.