After having received the Torah last week – we present a letter in which the Rebbe has some encouraging words for a lady who is active in spreading and strengthening Yiddishkeit – with some interesting points about the learning of Torah in general and the obligation to do so of women in particular. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
12th of Nissan, 5731
Montreal, 248, P.Q., Canada
Blessing and Greeting:
I received your letter with the enclosures. As requested, I will remember you and yours in prayer when visiting the holy resting place of my father-in-law of saintly memory, for the fulfillment of your heart’s desires for good in all the matters which you write about yourself, your husband and all the family.
May G-d grant that you should have good news to report in all these matters, especially about your continued and growing hatzlocho in spreading and strengthening Yiddishkeit and the chassidishe way of life, particularly in the fundamental and vital area of taharas hamishpocho. Be it noted that this is one of the mitzvos which are entirely given to the Jewish women, with complete trust and confidence and unqualified reliance upon their word. This once again demonstrates the trustworthiness and purity of Jewish women with which the Torah, Toras Emes, regards them. It has also been pointed out many times in the past that the fact that a Jewish housewife is called Akeres Habayis is not just a euphemism, but she is actually the foundation of the Jewish home.
Now that we are approaching the festival of Pesach , we are again reminded of the important role of Jewish women in shaping the very destiny of our people, as our Sages stated, “In the merit of the righteous women of that generation, our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt.”
I want to take this opportunity to mention another point which was repeated yesterday at the farbreingen, in regard to the matter of a special increased effort in the study of the Torah, which I have been urging in the last few weeks. It is to the effect that it applies also to Jewish women, provided that it should not affect their duties in regard to the preparations for Pesach and their other duties, especially the matters of chinuch of the children. There are of course many areas in Torah which Jewish women must know, as explained at the end of Hilchos Talmud Torah by the Alter Rebbe. To this extent the teachings of chassidus also have a special significance for women, inasmuch as the purpose of chassidus is to strengthen and inspire the fulfillment of the mitzvos, including those mitzvos which are incumbent upon women as well as on men. This is particularly true of the basic mitzvos enumerated in Iggeres Hmechaber of Sefer Hachinuch where, after speaking of the mitzvos which are to be fulfilled at certain times (from which women are exempted), he concludes:
חוץ מששה מצוות שחיובן תמידי לא יפסק מעל האדם אפילו לרגע בכל ימיו, ואלו הן א. להאמין בה’ ב. שלא להאמין לזולתו ג. ליחדו ד. לאהוב אותו ה. ליראה אותו ו. שלא לתור אחר המשכת הלב וראיית העניים. סימנם ‘שש ערי מקלט תהיינה לכם.’
With prayerful wishes that the Festival of our Freedom bring you and yours true freedom, freedom form anxiety – material and spiritual, form anything which might distract from serving G-d wholeheartedly and with joy and to carry over this freedom and joy into the whole year, and
Wishing you and yours a Kosher and happy Pesach,