1The customs of the Rebbeim are of two kinds: (a) those which were made known publicly, and (b) those which were privately observed.

During the latter years of his life in this world, the [Previous] Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of blessed memory, revealed numerous customs to public knowledge, including many that until then had been observed privately. Now the [Previous] Rebbe was aware of the attitude with which his words would be received; he knew how eager were his listeners to implement them, and how widely these words would be disseminated. It is thus clear that the above practice was not simply a case of “teaching and being rewarded [for a mere academic exercise],”2 but a practical directive. This means that after a certain degree of preparation, all those who have come to hear of these customs should begin to practice them. Moreover, keeping in mind the great principle of the Torah, ואהבת לרעך כמוך — “Love your neighbor as yourself,”3 one should pass on word of these customs to those who are as yet unaware of them, so that they in turn should follow them.

The [Previous] Rebbe once said in the name of the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chabad Chassidism, that the teachings of Chassidus in general are not intended for a specific group or class of Jews, but are relevant to all. The same applies to the customs and spiritual lifestyle of Chassidus. It is indeed common knowledge that one ought not grasp at supplementary optional observances (hiddurim) which are not in keeping with one’s own general standards. Moreover, there is sometimes a risk that one will regard the embellishment as if it were the nucleus of the mitzvah, which in turn will not be given its rightful attention. Nevertheless, with regard to those practices which have been revealed, and which an individual has heard about, it is well-nigh certain that since all things happen by Divine Providence, the issue at hand is a heavenly instruction, and has relevance to him. (Needless to say, the aforementioned word of caution must still be borne in mind.)

The argument that since one is not yet perfect in lesser details he is therefore not yet ripe for higher observances, has been answered in a letter written by the Rebbe Rashab.4 This argument recalls the charge [leveled by the Almighty against David HaMelech], סמוך לפלטין שלך לא כבשת — “You have not yet conquered the territory adjoining your own palace!”5 And the answer of the Rebbe Rashab recalls the response [of Yeshayahu to Chizkiyahu], בהדי כבשי דרחמנא למה לך — “What concern of yours are the mysteries of G‑d?”6 That is to say, that whenever an opportunity [for divine service] presents itself one ought to act upon it. For were these circumstances not relevant to him, heaven would never have engineered them. And this applies especially to matters which the [Previous] Rebbe disclosed and disseminated to the wider public.