Thursday, January 27, 2011

22nd of Shvat - the yohrtzeit of Rebetzin Chaya Mushka

Today, the 22nd day of Shvat, is the anniversary of the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson.
She was the daughter of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, and wife of the Rebbe.

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. She made sure to make each one feel comfortable and heard, as she displayed much sensitivity towards them.

Following their wedding, the Rebbe and the Rebetzin lived in Berlin but when the Nazi regime took power, they fled to Paris. But when France was invaded by the German forces, they then fled to the south of France. In the course of their flight, there was a devastating bombardment. As people ran in every direction, the Rebetzin noticed an explosive shell heading towards a man that was next to her. She quickly pushed the man to the ground, thereby saving his life. Recounting this story the Rebetzin said, "True, I saved his life, but for pushing a Jew, one must repent."

In the days and months following her passing, the Rebbe spoke frequently on the theme, "And the living shall take to heart". The Rebbe explained that 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 the sake and in memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka's soul we should increase and make good resolutions in the areas of Prayer, Torah Study and Tzedaka/good deeds.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Womens Three Mitzvot......

At the core of life exists three things: Food, Shelter, and Family.

At the core of Judaism exists a question: is life about me, or something beyond myself?

The Jewish woman is privileged to take the helm of three Mitzvot which demonstrate that life is not about me, but about something greater than myself.

The Three Mitzvot are:

1. The Mitzvah of Challah. When baking bread, before having any for yourself a section of the dough must be set aside for the priest, the Kohen. By doing so, the woman demonstrates her appreciation to G-d for giving her food; and only after, does she tend to her own needs.

Challah says: Food is not about what I need; it is about helping me live to fulfill what I am needed for.

2. The Shabbat Candles. All mitzvot bring light to the world but the light is not necessarily visible to the naked eye as it is with the Mitzvah of lighting a Shabbat candle.

Every Jewish home is a miniature Temple. Like the High Priest, the woman is charged with illuminating her miniature Temple. Shabbat is a testimony of G-d’s creation and G-d’s love for the Jewish people. And the Shabbat candles are a testimony that G-d is present in this home.

The Shabbat Candles say:
This is not just a house. This is a Sanctuary in which the Divine resides.

3. Family Purity: Family purity laws teach us that physical intimacy is a holy activity and a way of serving G-d.
This Mitzvah sets the rhythm to make marital relations holy. At the core of these laws is the Mitzvah of Mikvah, the waters of purity and life. Observance of this Mitzvah brings blessings to the entire family.

Family purity says
: My body is Divine, it enables me to create, nurture and give.

Judaism is a mission. We were employed by G-d to reveal the Divine in nature, and to bring heaven down to earth.

These three Mitzvot remain at the forefront of insuring Jewish continuity and expedite the Jewish journey toward the Promised Era of the righteous Moshiach!

Monday, January 24, 2011

One good deed in this world.....

"One hour of repentance and good deeds in this world is better than the whole life of the World to Come." So promise our wise sages.

And why is this so?

G-d compressed and lowered His Will and Wisdom and clothed them in the physical terms and material things which comprise nearly all of the Torah's holy commandments.

And what is the ultimate purpose of the Divine's radical descent into the very lowest world in which we humans reside?

Every soul is given the rarest of opportunities: to grasp, to bond, and to unite with G-d Himself, by engaging the soul's garments of thought, speech, and action in the study and comprehension of the Torah, and the fulfillment of the 'mitzvot.'

No such precious, essential, light-giving, and life-giving union and embrace between the soul and G-d Himself occurs in the World to Come as it can down here! There, each soul can comprehend and enjoy only a glimmer of the Divine Light, while here we can grasp the actual essence of G-d!

Let us be humbled and inspired by this amazing spiritual phenomenon, and take full advantage of our unique ability to literally bring Heaven down to Earth. We can accomplish this by learning about and being involved with the Torah and its mitzvot. We will thereby manifest the most incredible love affair possible in our lifetime: a holy intimacy, unlike any other, between the essence of who we are, i.e. our souls, and the essence of G-d Himself!