Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chof Beis Shvat

Today, the 22 of the Hebrew month of Shvat marks the 21st anniversary of the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, of righteous memory.
She was the daughter of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, and wife of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
The Rebbetzin exerted a powerful influence on Chabad-Lubavitch, but remained outside of the limelight.

An intelligent and educated wise woman, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka carried the mantle of her exalted position in a most humble and unpretentious way.

Yet despite her extraordinary role – as unknown as it was to the public – and her regal upbringing and bearing, it seems that she always found common ground with those who came to her and helped each one feel comfortable and heard.

The Rebbetzin was ever so sensitive to those around her, as evidenced by the recollection of Rabbi Shmuel Lew. Now the director of the Lubavitch House School in London, the flustered Lew visited the Rebbetzin with his fiancé and family before he got married.

"There was a beautiful white tablecloth, and she served punch in long crystal glasses with glass straws," he related. "At one point, when my hand was going over the glass, I didn't notice the straw, and my hand pushed against the straw and the whole punch spilled on the table.

Without missing a beat, "the Rebbetzin got all excited," he continued, as if this was the best thing that could have happened in her home. "She said it's a sign of blessing."

In the days and months following her passing, the Rebbe spoke frequently on the theme, "And the living shall take to heart"—how the passing of a person close to oneself should prompt one to positive action, in the form of lessons derived from that person's life and G-dly deeds undertaken to perpetuate his or her memory, then the death itself becomes a form of life.

Therefore, for her sake and in memory of her soul we should increase and make good resolutions in the areas of Prayer, Torah Study and Tzedaka/good deeds.

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