Weekly Story: The Rebbe’s Gift

For this week’s story, Rabbi Sholom Avtzon returns with a 7th installment of the story of Malka, the orphaned girl who thought that she had been abandoned, but whom the Rebbe showed that she was not.

Click the following links to read You Were Not Abandoned Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

by Rabbi Sholom Avtzon

In 5703 (1942), the Rebbe published his first sefer, HaYom Yom a collection of Chassidic sayings, thoughts and customs. While the simple reason was to show how the Tanya was divided and to be learned throughout the entire year, as part of Chitas (Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya), the Rebbe added a saying to each day. When the Rebbe gave someone the above captioned Hayom Yom – as you see it – he said – something to the affect, but I don’t know if these were his exact words; “Each day we need to service Hashem in a unique manner as explained in Toras Hachassidus”.

During the past year, I posted certain chronicles of Malka’s interactions with the Rebbe. In my conversations, all via email, I mentioned that perhaps she should obtain the sefer Tackling Life’s Tasks, which has a running commentary of the daily sayings in Hayom Yom.

She replied that she is aware of the sefer Hayom Yom and reads it on chabad.org and then shared with me the following insight about its message.

I will share an insight/observation with you, that is probably unknown or overlooked.

There are various segments of observant Judaism with conflicting customs and laws (sefard,  ashkenaz,  chassidic,  Litvish,  and many sub-groups). Nearly every area of observance has some differences based on the segment and the authorities they follow. It may just be in the vocalization of the words, a change in the order of some words or sometimes there are major differences, as we see the differences in Shulchan Aruch, between the Beis Yosef and the Rama, or in gemora between Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai, etc.

There is only one area that ALL Jews, observant and not yet observant agree on. Do you know what it is?

Every Jewish calendar no matter who publishes it ALWAYS begins from Rosh Hashanah, Tishrei 1.

The Rebbe broke ground by establishing the first ever “calendar” which begins with a different date, his begins with Kislev 19. This was a “revolutionary” breakthrough!  The publishing of a “new” calendar. A new beginning. A new way of making each day count.

That was the innovation of the Hayom Yom.  Not merely a collection of sayings and thoughts but a new calendar to signify a new era. The Rebbe is telling us that the year begins anew, when we resolve to begin to live with something new. Then each day has something new to live with. A new year without a resolve to begin anew is not enough.

I don’t know if I was permitted to share this but it is words of truth.

In subsequent exchanges, she sent me the following message, “You might be interested in these.”  And attached to that email was a picture of a Hayom Yom and a mincha maariv (see below). She then confirmed my thoughts that the Rebbe gave them to her personally, and when he gave the Hayom Yom, he said the above mentioned statement.

Looking at the cover of the Hayom Yom it was obvious that it wasn’t one that came out of the warehouse or store, rather, it was the Rebbe’s personal one, the one he evidently had personally used for many years, to the extent that it was rebound and duct taped on the sides. So thinking of the story of when the Rebbe gave a Tanya to Rabbi Pinchas Teitz to take to Russia, I told her that there is definitely a message there for her from the Rebbe and she should find it.

The following day she replied;

Thank you.

I followed your suggestion and meticulously examined the entire Hayom Yom.

There were no notes at all. But I found one odd thing, which might be a message from the Rebbe to me. At the passage for Tishrei 8 there are six words underlined (in pen): “mastirim atzmom v’im hisgalu hoyu mitzta’arim” (would conceal their righteous actions and they were distressed if they became revealed).

When I emailed this weeks’ article for corrections etc., she initially responded:

I am concerned about publishing the picture of Hayom Yom – because that specifically stresses the idea of privacy.

I replied:

It is your call

Although I feel that a) this will remove all doubts  b) this is a demonstration to the extent of what the Rebbe expects us to give of ourselves and most importantly c) it will show the importance of not just reading the Hayom Yom but of studying it.

The Rebbe was the author

He knew what he wrote

But he opened it and studied it every day

That can only be told if you see how it is taped and rebounded etc.

Her response was:

To teach and inspire others overrides personal considerations and comfort zones. I reluctantly agree with great trepidation. If I am wrong in allowing this to be publicized, my wrong is with best intentions and I should be forgiven.

So while she is extremely careful about protecting her privacy, and she notes that the Rebbe indeed acknowledged the aspect of concealing oneself, however, being that the Rebbe also underlined the remainder of the thought and were distressed if they became revealed, she has allowed me to publicize and reveal certain aspects that can benefit the community at large, even if it is at a cost to her privacy. WITH THE HOPE, that it will inspire us, not to merely read the thought but to contemplate and reflect on it, as is evident that the Rebbe himself did so!

On another occasion the Rebbe gave her a mincha maariv and told her to use it for Mincha, saying as a blessing, “Eliyahu’s prayers were answered at mincha so too your tefilos at mincha should be answered” After finding something underlined in the Hayom Yom, she also carefully went through the mincha maariv and wrote:

I also examined the Tefilas Mincha u’Tefilas Arvis. I found what might be a message to me. At the end of the mini-siddur there is the Torah Reading for Public Fast Day followed by the Haftorah. The entire last possuk of Haftorah is also underlined (in pen): “Ne’um Hashem mikabetz nidchei Yisroel od akabetz olov l’nikbatzov” (so says Hashem, who gathers the dispersed of Israel; I will gather others to him, besides those already gathered).

May we all indeed merit being part of the kibbitz golious, speedily in our days.

Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran mechanech and author of numerous books. He is available to farbreng in your community and can be contacted at avtzonbooks@gmail.com.

See you in Teaneck, New Jersey this Wednesday, eve of Yud Tes Kislev and on Thursday in Norfolk, Virginia.


  • A picture is worth...

    A thousand words. I stare at the pictures and note the dates on these gifts: HaYom Yom published 5717 (1957), Mincha Maariv published 5719 (1959). This is looking at holy historical artifacts and makes it my spine tingle. The story is special. The insights are exceptional. Thanks for sharing.

    • Feeling the kedusha

      True, I stare at these and mamash feel their holiness. Does everyone else also experience this? It is so weird because I am not a baal hergesh.

    • Around which year

      Around which year did the Rebbe give these gifts to Malka? If it was published in the late 50’s and Rebbe possessed them for many years before giving them away…would that mean Malka got them the circa 70’s?

  • A great message

    Just saw this posting. Will repeat it at my shabbos table. A very profound message.

  • Mesiras Nefesh

    “To teach and inspire others overrides personal considerations and comfort zones. I reluctantly agree with great trepidation. If I am wrong in allowing this to be publicized, my wrong is with best intentions and I should be forgiven.”


  • Is Malka frum?

    I followed all 7 parts and have one pressing question: Is Malka frum or not? She keeps shabbos and yom tov, kosher and brochas, davens mincha – but is that it?

    • frum, chassidish, hiskashrus

      She is obviously very chassidish and I am envious of her hiskashrus. As far as her level of shmiras mitzvos, maybe Rabbi Avtzon can share.

    • Frum?

      She keeps shabbos and kashrus. I think that is it. But shomer shabbos and kashrus is a great level!

    • Shlucha

      We, Chabadniks, do not believe in “labels”. Labels are for clothing. Do not try to label people “orthodox” or “frum” becaus it have very little meaning. Even the label “Orthodox” has been fragmented into Chassidish, Yeshivish, Heimish, Traditional, Modern Orthodox, Open Orthodox. The label has no meaning.

    • Reader

      To Is Malka frum, of course she isn’t like “one of us” – she probably dresses tznius! As far as eating in her house, I don’t think she keeps cholov Yisroel but is careful in all other areas of kashrus. I doubt she only uses chassidish hechsherim and probably relies on the national hechsherim like the OU which keeps bishul Yisroel but Pas Yisroel might be a problem. However, you might not eat in many CH homes either! So in that respect, yes, she is like “one of us”. I am offended by your attitude of “us” to exclude “them” – some of “them” are more careful them some of “us”.

  • Moshiach is coming!

    “Ne’um Hashem mikabetz nidchei Yisroel od akabetz olov l’nikbatzov” that is a message for Klal Yisroel: Moshiach is coming!

    • Thinking Chosid

      It is a message to Malka, that SHE will be gathered from her dispersed location to be among those gathered already – in a community , who will THEN be redeemed from exile.

    • Thinking Chosid

      v’im hisgalu hoyu mitzta’arim is maybe a reason that the Rebbe did not reveal the mivtza of moshiach at that time…until he was “forced” to do so years later.

  • I think I once saw her

    At the Ohel a few months ago, a regal older woman who seemed comfortable in the surrounding yet a stranger among us. She had THIS Hayom Yom and was reading it before leaving tent to go to Ohel. I am certain it was her holding THIS! She was old but young in her walk and I flt she was special, like a dignitary or someone really important.

    • I think I once saw her

      Yes, I probably took her picture. I need to check my phone. If I have her pic, would I send it here or to Rabbi Avtzon?

    • caution

      The prophetic message is v’im hisgalu hoyu mitzta’arim. It could mean that by revealing Malka you will c”v bring upon yourself suffering! Whi suffers from the hisgalu – the ine who is exposed or the one who revealed? I would be very cautious.

    • Caution

      The prophetic message is v’im hisgalu hoyu mitzta’arim. It could mean that by revealing Malka you will c”v bring upon yourself suffering! Who is the one that suffers / “hoyu mitzta’arim” from the exposure/ “hisgalu” – the one who is exposed / “LISGALEH” or the one who revealed (in dikduk, the “poel”/ “mapeel” of giluy is misgaleh)? I would be very cautious. I think this message is a WARNING for OTHERS not to expose her and cause her discomfort.

    • Playing with fire

      That which is hidden should remain hidden. Do not play with fire. The risk is too high.

    • Respect her wishes

      What is the matter with you? In every segment it talks of Malka’s desire for privacy. Why can’t you respect that? A little respect! Derech eretz! Decency!

    • Rebbi Akiva Laughed

      To paraphrase Rebbe Akiva’s laughter while his friends were crying:
      Now that the message of v’im hisgalu hoyu mitzta’arim was mekuyam (by someone taking her picture which probably distresses and pains her), surely the message of Ne’um Hashem mikabetz nidchei Yisroel will be mekuyam just as speedily!

    • I think I once saw her

      I decided to delete her picture and honor her privacy. It is the decent thing to do. But I can tell you one thing, she looks regal, like royalty. Dresses classy, elegant, designer all the way. Even her jewelry is understated yet spectacular. She is tall for an old lady but walks with energy and has youthful eyes that sparkle. That`s why I noticed her right away. She really looks special. I no longer have her picture and I feel good about deleting it.

    • I think I once saw her

      When I decided to delete her picture I happened to look at a picture of Rebbe on my wall and I know this is crazy and stupid but it looked like the Rebbe was happier in the picture. I know – crazy imagination of mine.

    • Rabbi K from BMG

      To cause distress to an orphan is a Biblical prohibition. You avoided this and therefore earned special merits. I am following this story and see that it is all al pi hashgocha elyona. I think there was a very similar story told of one of the Litvish gedolim (cannot remember name – possibly The Chofetz Chaim).

    • Crownheightser

      Ha! Any story that they like, they steal and say it happened with one of theirs. Now they are going to steal the Malka story as say it happened with the CHofetz Chaim or another of their gedolim.

  • Shaliach

    I just printed this line and hung it on my livingroom wall:

    To teach and inspire others overrides personal considerations and comfort zones.

    • Farmer

      This same line applies to ANYONE who gives a shiyur, teaches, helps someone else, goes on mivtzoyim etc. There is more in the Universe than just official “mercaz shlichus”! However, as a “shaliach”, didn’t you know these words already? Is it a chiddush for you?

  • Question

    Did the Rebbe ever use the Mincha Maariv? Like, was this his personal one? Didn’t he always daven Mincha and maariv in 770 (and use a full siddur)? When would he ever have use of the mincha maariv?

    • True

      He davened mincha maariv with the tzibur, but we don’t know for sure of when he said korbonos before mincha or V’hu rachum before maariv…

  • After 120 what will happen to these

    What will happen with these after 120? Shouldn’t they go to the Rebbe’s Library? It would be irresponsible not to plan ahead for the future of these holy books. Maybe they should already be transferred to the library to prevent their loss. These are treasures and now that they have been discovered, we must not lose them. Is someone involved in this? I wish Malka a long life but eventually we all reach 120 and she lives without family or other Jews, so there is a risk of losing these precious treasures. They are our heritage. Maybe Rabbi Cunin should get involved – he was appointed to retrieve seforim from library. I know these aren’t the same as those seforim but no less holy and important.

    • After 120

      The idea is that Malka should keep the seforim but transfer ownership to the library so that after 120 there will be no problem rescuing these seforim from her estate.

    • If there is a Will

      The way is to have a Will and make grant these seforim to Agudas Chasidei Chabad.

    • I am sure she needs your advice

      Your free advice is worth the price you charge for it. Nothing. I am sure she really needs your help and advice, NOT.

  • I wonder how many commnets

    I wonder if this will also get around 100 comments like each of the earlier segments. Yes, I admit that I am a shallow empty person.

  • Checked and Verified

    Yes, it there in Hayom Yom!

    Also found an old Mincha Mariv (it not easy to hunt one down) – yet it’s there too!

  • Shidduchim

    In the spirit of Yud Daled Kislev and the segment that Malka was told by REbbe how important it is for him and Ahavas Yisroel that chassidim to involve in making shidduchim, I wonder what is being done to help older and not yet older singles find appropriate shidduchim?

    We talk a lot but do very little – not the way of Avrohom (but his “counterpart”).

    There are singles turning 23, 24, 25 etc. and NO ONE CARES!!!

    Pick up the phone and suggest a match for someone TODAY!

    • No One Cares

      Others couldn’t care less. No one really cares at all. Big talkers. Big organizations. But nothing gets done for the sigles. No wonder so many are disillusioned and getting chilled out.

    • Make your Own Shidduch

      Get with the times. Make your own shidduch. The shaddchonim are in museums. Don`t rely on others, do it yourself. Get with the program.

  • Appreciate hearing

    Thank you, thank you for sharing and the inspiration lesson we get.

    The Rebbe gave them to Malka.


    We keep getting tidbits of Malka’s encounters. It is time for a professional interview on JEM My Encounter to get all of the story and even jog her memory for things maybe forgotten.

  • Why is this story different than all the others?

    Because this story did not happen in der alter heim, or hundreds of years ago, or to someone who long ago passed away. This happened in our and our parents lifetimes to someone who is alive to share it, may she live long. I wish she would come speak at the Neshei or Shluchos Convention, or even at a Girls School in CH – here is a thought of Achdus: A combined gathering of ALL CH girls schools to hear Malka speak!~

  • "LUBAWITZ" and "HaMerkaz"

    Is that how they spelled “Lubavitch” in the 1950’s? (And that was before Oholei Torah’s English spelling classes).

    Did they call Merkaz “HaMerkaz” in the 50’s (like the word in Breishis “B’Hi’Baram” – b’Hay-Barom)? When did HaMerkaz become simply Merkaz?


      Some of the older Russians would pronounce a “V” like a W. Such as Villna was Willna.

    • The R is pronounced W

      The Wussian chassidim I know pwonounce the “Rawr” as a “Double-woo”.

  • Dov

    I asked Rabbi Avtzon why doesn’t he post everything and he responded; I wrote that I am posting only what teaches and inspires others, if I wrote other things in our correspondence
    I will be breaking her trust.

    Additionally what difference does it make if she says kedusha etc. This story is about a unique connection a unique neshoma has with the Rebbe. Everything else is a distraction of the message.

    So I asked him what about the mezuzah you mentioned at a farbrengen and he replied that was to emphasize how the Rebbe showed that every mitzvah is connected to another mitzvah.
    When the Rebbe gave it to her, her obvious question probably was this is not connected to our agreement.
    The Rebbe replied, on page 32 which is the heart of mesechta Shabbos the gemorah discusses the mitzvah of mezuzah so not only is it connected it is its heart!
    So yes she has a mezuzah but does that change either way all the other things the Rebbe told her. Why is that the focus?

    • The mezuzah?

      I do not see anything about a mezuzah that the Rebbe gave her. Please explain! Is it on page 32 of Avtzon’s book? I don’t follow your comment!

    • Question

      You wrote:
      “I asked Rabbi Avtzon why doesn’t he post everything and he responded; I wrote that I am posting only what teaches and inspires others, if I wrote other things in our correspondence
      I will be breaking her trust.”

      Mima Nafshach – Was permission given to post “what teaches and inspires others”, if yes, then get permission to write “other things in our correspondence”?

      If however no permission was granted to post “what teaches and inspires others”, then you have been “breaking her trust” on that too?

    • What is Kedusha?

      EXPLAIN: “what difference does it make if she says kedusha etc.” what does that mean?

    • Dov

      Kedusha means nakdishach that is said in kedusha by chazaras hashatz (ehen the chazzan repeats the shemone esrej out loud, and she lives in a community that doesn’t have a shul

    • Ashkenaz

      I beg to differ! There are two nushacha to Kedusha. There is nusach Sefard that say “Nakishach v’na’aritzach…” and nusach Ashkenaz that say “Nekadesh es shimcha…”. I think the comment means that it makes no dif if she says nusach Sefard or Ashkenaz. That is how I understood it as an outsider.

    • To Dov

      Most woman, especially mothers of small children, don’t go to shul on shabbos anyway, especially in places with noi eruv, so they don’t say kedusha anyway! Since when do women daven with a minyan?!

    • Dov

      That is the point
      What are these questions for
      Her strength of being able to remain shomer shabbos keeping kosher and so much while she lives all by herself all these years is an accomplishment and testimony of her tremendous yiras shomayim.
      So maybe she isn’t perfect in everything
      Can’t we all improve

    • Hello

      Why do you speak negatively of her by saying “maybe she isn’t perfect in everything”? One must look at others with the right eye! On the contrary, “maybe she IS perfect in everything”! I might not be and probably am not perfect in everything, but she – she certainly is.

    • Anshei Ha`sodeh

      In times of yore, many people lived away from cities and there was no shul. This was common way back in times of Talmud which mentions Anshei Ha`sodeh and continued in the Old Country. We are so accustomed to living in cities that we cannot imagine otherwise. The yidden that were Anshei Ha`sodeh were just as frum as the city dwellers – maybe even frummer because they were not exposed to the city lifestyle.

  • Why is that the focus?

    Because if Malka needs us for her ruchniyus and even gashmiyus, we are willing to reach out to her and be mikarev her. Her story inspired but we too can inspire her with what we have in chassidus and yiras shomayim, hiddur in mitzvos and Torah of nigleh and chassidus.

  • Kol Hashvi'im Chavi'vim

    Seventh segment, from bygone days of Dor HaShv’i, but will there be an 8th?

  • Truth and Integrity

    The Rebbe saw that Malka was a person of truth and integrity. Her word will be kept. This was the key to her promise and connection to the Rebbe: Being truthful and having integrity. Once there is Emes, that is the name of HKB”H and the Torah is Emes. This kept her connected to everything. THAT IS THE MESSAGE BEHIND ALL THESE SEGMENTS. Seek truth. Be truthful. Keep your word.

    • Love the Orphan

      Maybe the Rebbe saw an orphan that was suffering and needed some TLC because she was alone in the world.

  • Often Said By the Rebbe

    “Eliyahu’s prayers were answered at mincha” -I can confirm that this was often said by the Rebbe.

  • Question 2

    You wrote: “This story is about a unique connection a unique neshoma has with the Rebbe. Everything else is a distraction of the message.”

    Exactly, it is a story of “a unique neshoma” that has a unique connection with the Rebbe! The details help us get a glimmer of this “unique neshoma”, that this is no ordinary person.

    That is NOT a distraction but an enhancement to the message!

  • Question 3

    What gives you the right and if you have the right, what criteria do you use to decide what to share with the public and what to withhold from us?

    • Anonymous

      In the article Rabbi Avtzon wrote When I emailed this weeks article to her, she responded…
      Doesn’t that show that he is keeping her trust

    • Speaking

      Those that bring him to speak get the inside scoop. If you hire him you get to hear the good stuff.

  • Question 4

    The details about mezzuzah that were only shared at a farbrengen and not posted, maybe that is stopping someone from becoming inspired with having a mezzuzah or giving out mezzuzahs to others? There are inspirations to be found in every aspect of another’s life, so the details must be shared.

  • Question 5

    You wrote: “Why is that the focus?”

    Because human beings are curious. We want to know about each thing: Who? What? Where? When? How? Why? That is normal.

    • Ani Mamim

      Anachnu maminim bnei maminim. Those who don’t believe are not mishelanu and not part of anachnu.

    • Amolek

      To “Believe what you want”, your point is just to raise a doubt, make a sofek. For that there is no need to raise any issue, logical or otherwise. just put three dots “…” and write “Believe what you want”. Mamash Amolek.

  • hat happened to the "seamstress"?

    In one of the earlier segments there was a “seamstress” mentioned, with a promise to hear about her. What happened to her?

  • I don`t get it

    Why would the Rebbe give her his old tattered Hayom Yom and not just give her a newly printed one? A gift of sefer should be new and beautiful, not old and falling apart, held together with tape and string. I just don’t get it.

    • To: I don`t get it

      Which planet did you drop in from? If I tried to answer you, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

    • Stating the Obvious to the Clueless

      The used old siddur of the Rebbe is more valued then a fresh crispy siddur just pulled off the shelf in local bookstore.Even if the new siddur is a gift fro Rebbe, the old siddur soaked in holy prayers is of greater value.

  • Email Exchange Q & A

    Malka asked author:
    I am concerned about publishing the picture of Hayom Yom – because that specifically stresses the idea of privacy.

    Author replied:
    It is your call…(followed by)… a) this will remove all doubts b) this is a demonstration to the extent of what the Rebbe expects us to give of ourselves and most importantly c) it will show the importance of not just reading the Hayom Yom but of studying it.

    There is an achrayus on yechidim to share with the klal. Chassidim are “ain mishpocha”, siblings must share rather than keep private and seclude their knowledge or experiences.

    This is part of arvus. This is part of ahavas yisroel. Even at the risk of discomfort. There were “chassidishe geneivas” that brught certain works of chassidus to the chassidim. Without it, the works would have been lost.

    In fact, when there was restraint from such “geneivahs”, indeed, certain works were lost (such as in a subsequent fire – as well known stories attest).

    I am surprised the author did not explain this too Malka as a true reason to share.

    • Dov

      There are certain things that are said among your peers and explained to others differently. From my understanding Malka had and maintains a unique connection to the Rebbe however she doesn’t consider herself a Lubavitcher or a chossid. So he spoke to her in her language.
      Rabbi Avtzon puts his name out and shares these stories with all of us.
      You and others criticize him for not sharing more or for sharing it at all, yet you don’t even share your name.