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Directives for Chaf Beis Shvat, Yahrtzeit of the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, o.b.m.

(Koheles 7:2) “V’ha’chai yitein el libo (and the living shall take it to heart). Although this is said in reference to the mourning period, it applies at all times. A thinking person examines the events that occur to him and around him, and learns from them. Something shocking that happens, like the passing of a relative, affects him deeply, and causes extra introspection. It makes the “yitein el libo” stronger, so that one wants to add in avodas Hashem, in all matters of Torah and mitzvos.

Everyone should demonstrate that “her children are alive” (for then “she is alive”), through learning from the Rebbetzin’s actions and conducting oneself in that spirit with mesirus nefesh.

The melamed wanted to teach my father-in-law’s daughters by intellectualizing everything, rather than frightening them with stories of miracles and mesirus nefesh. But the Rebbe Rayatz said to him, “On the contrary, a Jewish child should begin his education specifically with stories of mesirus nefesh, for that is precisely what a Jewish child is receptive to.” It should be noted that this story was related in connection with the Rebbetzin, and naturally, her chinuch had this emphasis.

Naming a child after her and educating the child in her ways is the obvious fulfillment of “her children are alive, so is she alive.” It will add to the child’s life (chaya) in the simple sense, length of days and good years.

This also includes the faith in the coming of Moshiach and the anticipation of his coming, as the Rambam states that in addition to believing in him we must also await his coming. The Rebbe Rayatz stated that everything has been done and all that remains is to greet Moshiach. The histalkus on Chaf-Beis Shvat, 5748, was only in order to effect the only remaining ascent, the ascent of the true and complete Redemption.

After its histalkus, the neshama wants, needs, and yearns for an increase in good deeds in this physical world, in memory of the departed, an increase in tefilla, Torah study, and giving tzedaka.

The first thing to do is to add in set times for Torah study in all places, to establish public shiurim in the study of Chassidus and Nigla, especially in places where there are as yet no shiurim. Where there are shiurim already, one should add and strengthen the learning in quality and quantity.

The study of the Agada (the stories in the Gemara), Ein Yaakov and the like, should be emphasized, for most of the secrets of the Torah are hidden within it. By studying this, even simple people can understand the secrets of Torah, according to p’shat, by means of the drush and remez within.

One should connect the shiurim to a his’orerus (awakening) in matters of fear of Heaven in general, and in particular, the avoda of tefilla and the mitzva of tzedaka should be increased. Thus, the shiurim will have an effect on the three pillars upon which the world stands and exists. This his’orerus should not take place in the middle of the learning so as not to confuse matters; rather, it should be either before or after the learning. As people are gathering together, they should learn in groups. And the more people the better. For by doing so there will be added acceptance and fulfillment of good resolutions in other matters of holiness. (Sicha Parshas Yisro 22, Shvat 5749)

One should add tzedaka in connection with the yahrtzeit, preferably in numbers of 470, the gematria of the name of the deceased. The more the better, not just 470 small copper coins, but 470 large coins.

It is proper, in connection with the yahrtzeit, to increase and add mosdos (institutions) l’ilui nishmasa. This should include special mosdos for the three mitzvos given to women, the acronym h’ch’n: hadlakas neiros Shabbos (lighting Shabbos candles), challa (which includes kashrus), and nida (family purity) and girls’ schools. In the previous generation, the gedolei Yisroel founded schools for girls, too. Until then, boys had attended school and girls were educated by their mothers, grandmothers, and older sisters. Beis Rivka was founded by the Rebbe, my father-in-law.

In these girls’ schools, in addition to learning practical halachos, they also learn the give and take of learning, and a little pilpul, which adds enjoyment to the learning. However, the main thing is the bottom line, halacha l’maaseh.  (Sicha Parshas Yisro, 22 Shvat 5750)

One should publicize the obligation and privilege of whoever wants to take part in these ongoing activities (by initiating new projects and mosdos) in the second year, which has already begun with all of the shturm of a new year. (Sicha 23 Shvat After Maariv, 5749)

According to Jewish custom, one of the most important things done for the elevation of a soul and as a remembrance is to write a seifer Torah. (Sicha Parshas Yisro, 22 Shvat 5749)



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