Weekly Story: Who Is Malka?

by Rabbi Sholom DovBer Avtzon

It is now almost three years that I began writing and posting a Weekly Story. None of them have triggered so many comments of thanks, curiosity as well as some skepticism as the chronicles of Malka, initially posted under the title “You Were Not Abandoned.”

To set the record straight, I have never knowingly met or spoken to her. Everything is through the numerous emails. So yes, I too was sometimes taken by surprise as her story unfolded. When it came to the difficult halachah questions, since I am not a Rov, I forwarded them to Dayan Raskin of London who graciously responded.

How did we it all begin?

In the close to one hundred fifty stories which I posted, they have been comments both on line, as well as to me personally, thanking me or correcting me, and I appreciate both of them.

Over a year ago I wrote a story about Reb Simcha Goredetsky titled IF THE REBBE SAID SO IT IS SO.

After Shabbos I received the following email:

I was reading this story online and I am troubled by the accuracy of the story:

The mother had written a letter to the Rebbe and fabricated a story.

She wrote lies about the Rabbi Simcha Goredetzky and his school.

The Rebbe reacted to her fabricated lies and wrote to the rabbi, “How is it possible that students are beaten in your school?!!”

Does that mean the Rebbe was mekabel loshon horah from the mother about the rabbi and his school?!

I am lax in many areas of Orthodox observance but I have greatest respect for the Rebbe.

I also was taught that accepting words of loshon hara as true facts – is a major sin.

This story tells us that the Rebbe did this sin – he accepted the loshon hara fabricated (or even true) story of this mother against the rabbi and his school?!

I am not accepting of this story as accurate, because if I would, I would be believing the loshon hara of this story about the Rebbe.

That I simply cannot tolerate!!

Sorry, but I find this story fiction and it also delivers a bad message!


So why did she contact me? This was not the first story of mine posted that she read and perhaps had issue with, but only because of her fierce respect of the Rebbe, and she was demanding that I apologize to the Rebbe. Yet, she did not wish to “attack me” publically, so she sent it directly to my email.

I responded, explaining that the story stated, that the Rebbe felt, even though the mother fabricated it by exaggerating and making a mountain out of a nothing, nevertheless, the Rebbe was saying, that while you considered your actions of discipline appropriate, the child and parent, were hurt and that itself has to be rectified.

She questioned my response and we had a back and forth through numerous emails.

Only then, as an expression of thanks for clarifying the issue and answering respectfully, did she decide to share her connection to the Rebbe with me. It was the exact title I used, If the Rebbe said so, it is so. How the Rebbe informed her of who her birth parents were, how they passed away and where they were buried, even though she only was allowed to open her adoption papers twenty years or so later. So yes IF THE REBBE SAID SO, IT IS SO!!!

But at that time, she only informed me of her one and only yechidus in the Rebbe’s room, with the understanding that I keep it to myself. But subsequently allowed me to publish it under her Hebrew name Malka, which no one knows of, as she goes by her secular name.

Some weeks later, I took the liberty of wishing her a freiliche Purim and we once again debated certain points, but then she stated, “as a gift to the Rebbe, I have decided to give shalach monos for the first time in many years.”

However, the problem was, being that she is in a non-Jewish area, what could she give. But she found on the internet on a non-Lubavitch site, that the Rebbe writes in Likkutei Sichos vol. 2 p. 537 that cake and soda water is good. So although, according to most opinions, a bottle of fancy water, cannot count as one of the two items, the Rebbe writes that soda can be considered one of the two items, and that is what she did, buying a cake with a ou kosher certification on it. She traveled over fifty miles to the closest Jewish community to deliver that shalach monos!

So her intention was never to reveal her life, as her privacy is paramount to her, but out of appreciation she informed me of it, to publicize a side of the Rebbe’s greatness that would have remained unknown. This in itself took tremendous strength as it was extremely painful for her to go back and think about, or better said relive her extremely difficult experiences; losing both sets of parents, before she was twenty, the break up of her engagement, because the chosson was a Cohen who couldn’t marry her as she underwent geirus misofeik, just to name a few.

Throughout this time she relayed additional information which was posted as the first five parts of that series.

She then asked me if I am interested in the Hayom Yom that the Rebbe gave her.

Looking at the picture of it, I realized this was one that the Rebbe personally used for many years, and replied that the Rebbe gave it to her to use until 120. I then added, look inside and you will definitely see an instruction or guidance for you.

The next day she replied, Thank you, I found on the entry of the 8th of Tishrei seven [Hebrew] words underlined, the translation of those words are, “They concealed themselves and if they were revealed they were pained.”

When I asked her to allow JEM’S My Encounter to interview her, she responded

The underlined Hayom Yom was discovered just before such suggestions were being made.

Clearly it was a message “hidden” until I began contemplating the potential benefit of contributing to the greater good of the public by sacrificing my individual comfort zone of privacy. It was then the guidance of the message from decades ago was discovered and it became relevant.

I am reminded that my adopted Father once told me a story about the Baal Shem Tov story:

The BST gave a sealed letter to a rich donor to deliver to someone in a certain town. The rich donor placed it in his jacket pocket and completely forgot about it. Years later this rich donor lost his entire fortune and became so poor that he even needed to sell this very jacket. He then found the sealed letter. By then the BST has long passed on. The donor was distraught that he failed in his mission but figured he will try to see if he can still deliver the letter. When he found the addressee, it was a letter stating that the donor became poor and is worthy of assistance. The addressee helped the formerly rich donor get back to financial stability.

The story shows that hidden messages, like forgotten letters, are revealed EXACTLY when they need to be.

I am certain of this!

In her eyes, this is like the long lost letter of the Baal Shem Tov that was delivered some twenty years late. Just this one was closer to forty years late. Based on her understanding of this directive, she refuses to be interviewed by JEM, as she doesn’t want her face publicized.

I replied; if that is the Rebbe’s wishes, then the Rebbe should have only underlined the first part. Since he underlined the second as well, that means although it may be painful to publicize certain aspects it should be done.

Based on my counter argument and something Rebbetzin Chana told her, the compromise was that I have to make the weighty decision, of what is beneficial in practical means, not just out of satisfying the curiosity etc.

So yes, she lights Shabbos candles, but is it anyone’s concern how early she does it in order to add on from the weekday to Shabbos. This she chose to do on her own and it is private.

But yes, as our correspondence continues, I too learn more of the Rebbe’s greatness and his insights.

So my dear readers, that is why I believe her. She corrected me but for the Rebbe’s honor. While she was extremely strong about it, she did it with graciousness, not in an insulting manner. She shared information that Rebbetzin Chana informed her of concerning beis harav, that I heard from my father and it isn’t commonly known. There are other points that she related to me, which almost no one is aware of, that I have been able to corroborate. She has every reason to continue her private life, and indeed that is her desire, but to inspire others about the Rebbe she gave it up to a certain extent.

Now concerning her name, this is what she wrote.

Adopted parents [who were extremely frum and learned] named me Malka, without knowing that my Birth parents named me “Melissa”. (Which in itself is astounding that there are some similarities in both names – both begin and end with same sounds: M & A, only the core is different – life begins and ends the same for all, only the core changes due to our actions). After discovering my real name [in my mid thirties], which is the only tangible thing I have from my birth parents, I chose to go by that name and I refused to abandon it.

The Rebbe was not very pleased when he heard that I use the name Mellisa and not my “real” name Malka, but he never insisted that I stop using the secular name. Instead, he pointed out that name “Melissa” is connected to Greek Mythology and their Avoda Zara.

Because I insisted to keep and use my secular name, the Rebbe’s suggestion was to alter it slightly from the norm.

The common spelling is Melissa with one L and two S.  The Rebbe suggested that when writing my secular name, spelling it with 2 L and one S. Thus “Melissa” became “Mellisa”.

When the suggestion was made, he said, instead of a name connected to Greek Avoda Zara, my secular name is that of a healing herbal plant in the mint family whose leaves grow in opposite pairs and are heart shaped.  A name is not just the vocalization of the name, but the spelling and written form of a name has halachic precision and validity, as seen by a Kesubah and Get.

She concluded that email, Maybe this should be shared for people that insist on using secular names, if the name is related to impure sources (as many are) they should maybe consider altering them, even slightly, even if only in written form, into something positive.

Knowing that if I post this as is, I will be fact checked, I did some research myself and find out that the mint herb is also spelled exactly like the avoda zora, I asked her for clarification.

She replied

The intent was to change the spelling from the Greek Mythology source.

The new spelling was to make a change and break from the common connotation of the name – make a “shinuiy”.

The newly spelled name need not be “correct” – it could be a variation (like most names are) as long as it moved away from the negative meaning. Additionally, the “new” altered name was to have a positive meaning connected with nature and healing.

Here, when applying a new meaning, the “correct” spelling no longer mattered, after all, some may spell even a Hebrew name differently but the meaning is same, as I soon discovered.

When the Rebbe told me the concept very casually, I was skeptical and researched it. It didn’t make sense that a slight change in the spelling of a name removes negative connotations, especially if the name remains the same!

As a researcher, when I come across an anomaly which deviates from the norm, I have a methodology which begins with seeking if there are any formerly reported precedents.

To specifically make a slight change the spelling of my name can be considered an “anomaly”. To make such a change only in the written form deviates from standard “shinuy ha-shem”.

I am trained in is to seek precedents.

Was there ever such a change to a name only in the written form and not in the vocalization?

If it is out there, I will find it.

And I did. I found it by the name Avkiva and yes the Rebbe is 100% accurate.

Next step – what was the purpose and goal of the name change, and did it succeed?

Chassam Sofer writes that if giving a name that was  a name that was associated with a tragic life,) it suffices to make a minor change which is why people spell Akiva with a hei to remove the kepaida of giving a name after someone who died tragically. The name is still Akiva, it vocalized exactly the same, but by altering the spelling it is freed from the negative connotations.

Same applies when changing Melissa into Mellisa.

This Chassam Sofer is cited by Rabbi Feinstein in Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah vol 2, s. 122 that brings from the Chassam Sofer s. 28 since the name Akiva we use is connected to Rabbi Akiva the Tana, many change the spelling to a hei at the end, even though the Talmud has it spelled with an alef, in order to make a small change – “shinuy ktzas”, because Rabbi Akiva was killed. Thus, says Rabbi Feinstein that a minor change in the spelling of the name removes the “kepaida” – negativity.

You might not have easy access to the quoted source, so here it is:


Last paragraph:

The Chassam Sofer is here:


Fourth paragraph.

She concluded

The Rebbe knew EVERYTHING. Whatever he said, was accurate.

The reason she agreed to publicize this is to show, how every word of the Rebbe, is correct. As she wrote “While we may not understand it and indeed it totally does not make “sense” to us, that doesn’t change the fact.”

In Conclusion:

While I posted this background history to clarify a lot of questions, I ask and request, please respect her wishes of allowing her to maintain the space she deems necessary. Almost everyone who comments does so without posting who they really are and hide behind their first name or a pseudo name etc. so just as you desire to remain anonymous, respect her desire as well. For as stated, the column is not about her, but to gain a glimpse of the Rebbe, which was unknown, and to follow his guidance, which although may have been said to her, nevertheless it is pertinent for all.

The only personal point I can share is, that she moved away from a Jewish community in a time of extreme hurt and anger. Her family was ripped away. At the same time she is pained to read about how some children in their time of hurt move away and rip themselves apart of their own family.

Family is the biggest blessing, and lack of family is isolation. Yes, they are issues of pain and friction, but please try to resolve or bridge them.

Being that this is being posted in the week of chof Av, forty days before Rosh Hashanah, in the name of all the readers, I take the opportunity to wish Malka [yes, she still takes pride in her Jewish name] L’shana tova tikuhseivi v’serchyseimi, gezunte uhn langa yuhrin, ad bias Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Next week, how the Rebbe explained to her that Mezuzah is connected to Shabbos.

Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran mecxhanech and the author of numerous books on the Rebbeim and their chassidim. He is about to publish vol. 6 in the EARLY CHASSIDIC PERSONALITIES series, a 224 page (or more), on the noted Chossid Reb Binyomin Kletzker. He is available to farbreng or speak in your community, and can be contacted at avtzonbooks@gmail.com


  • 1. Anonymous wrote:

    How is it possible that the adoptive parents were unaware of the child’s name?

  • 4. Again wrote:

    My comment was not posted last time, but even after reading everything rabbi avtzon wrote, i will repeat:
    there is no question that “malka” is a regular lubavitcher, who for some reason decided to make up a story and pretend to be “malka” and lead on rabbi avtzon.
    One does not need to be “yehoshua mundshine” to realize this.

    • 5. remember rabbi Groner confirmed wrote:

      Rabbi Groner clearly remembers the yichidus of malka’s bas mitzva when Rebbe revealed she was born jewish.

    • 6. to number 3 wrote:

      Without being disrespectful, your “raye” that the story is true, is very shvach וד”ל

      as we say in rabbinic hebrew

      ערבך ערבא צריכא

    • 7. Amalek wrote:

      Skeptics and non believers were always among us. No answer or explanations satisfy the non believing skeptics. No use arguing with them.

    • 8. Thinking girl wrote:

      No motive to falsify. No grandeur. No attention seeking by story charges teller. What would be the gain? But you seek to raise doubt.

    • 9. Anonymous wrote:

      I asked Rabbi Avtzon and he said even if he would get her to give a picture holding the Hayom Yom and other things that the Rebbe gave her, the sceptics would say that he asked some older lady to poise for a portrait.
      Be grateful that he is giving over certain horaos (guidance) that the Rebbe gave an individual.

    • 11. AGAIN - he is a troll wrote:

      Troll. Typical troll. Ignore this troll AGAIN. BBC That is why your earlier comment was ignored.

    • 12. to "to number 3" wrote:

      Rebbe trusted rabbi g but you don’t. Who is more trustworthy?? V”dal.

    • 13. Zalman wrote:

      Last week a lady commented that she thinks she saw her in a clinic. Her doctor said her name was whatever, and she wrote I think he said Melinda.
      Now we know it is Mellisa, so evidently that part is confirmed. She is a lady doctor or specialist in infertility.
      What additional proof would satisfy you?
      You attack without a name, like a pashkvill.
      Rabbi Mundshine a”h put his name and didn’t hide.

    • 14. Conspiracy Theory wrote:

      Conspiracy theory: Rabbi Avtzon and Rabbi Groner are on cahoots to create corroborate a sensational story. Sorry. That’s crazy talk man. Of course they don’t print such wacky comments.

    • 15. Proof wrote:

      Some want proof that story is true. Well, there is no way that over a year ago she sent an email with her name misspelled (who misspells their own name?!) and much later explain it and even provide us with halachic citation. No writer can plan such a novel!

    • 16. truth wrote:

      Some want proof that story is true. Well, there is no way that over a year ago she sent an email with her name misspelled (who misspells their own name?!) and much later explain it and even provide us with halachic citation. No writer can plan such a novel!

  • 17. I am speechless! wrote:

    No words! What can one say! Just that I am moved, uplifted, inspired, spiritually dancing on a cloud. There is an angel that lives on Earth and her name is Malka.

  • 18. Tu B'Av wrote:

    As a shadchan I was wondering if Malka is interested in possibly getting married? I understand that she are senior, but there are several available candidates that are widowers or divorced which I can suggest and facilitate. It is not good for Man to live alone. I am willing to help. Malka, there is so much in you to give, for yourself and potential spouse.

    • 19. Would like older shiduchim too wrote:

      I would love to speak to a shadchan who knows shidduchim for those who are older.
      I am the one who wrote of having a similar incident with the rebbe

    • 20. Good Catch wrote:

      She is a professional in the medical field, owns a house, a dock and boat. Sounds like a woman of means, rich, educated, smart and accomplished. She sounds strong in yiddishkeit and is also well learned in Torah. A GREAT CATCH FOR THE RIGHT MATCH!

  • 21. Associated with A.Z.? wrote:

    Please clarify. The story is missing clarification!

    Which religion is associated with the name Melissa?

    My secular name is Melissa (on my Birth Certificate) – how is that an Avoda Zara, chas v’sholom?

    • 23. Anonymous wrote:

      Look it up on Google
      A nymph in the Greek religion
      Connected to the Goddess of honey

    • 24. Listen! wrote:

      When this story happened there was no Google or Wikipedia, yet the Rebbe knew this information! Do you begin to grasp the wide knowledge the Rebbe had?! How many of us had any clue that this name is connected to avoda zara?!

  • 25. So who is she? wrote:

    Okay, we know her first name, both in English and in Hebrew, but what is her last name? Will that be in a future segment?

  • 26. A real chosid of Rebbe wrote:

    To be a real chosid, one does not need “proofs” or check “sources”, but simply believes with pure faith. The proofs and sources DIMINISH the faith, emunah p’shuta. I am disappointed that the story implies that one must research the validity of the Rebbe’s directives.

    • 27. Anonymous wrote:

      She wrote that she accepted it just wanted to understand it and concluded that even if we can’t figure it out you see from here that the Rebbe is always correct

  • 28. Rabbi K from BMG wrote:

    I did not expect to see real lomdus in this series of articles. I admit, hoda v’lo bush, that I did not know this Chassam Sofer (or that teshuva of Reb Moishe z”l). I have been humbled/bested by a woman.

  • 29. Morah Leah wrote:

    I found the lesson this story to be educational and pertinent to the importance of a name, the meaning behind a name, the impact a name has on the person. I seem to “see” the connection between the last story of attending a gentile holiday family gathering and carrying a name associated with avoda zarah. I wonder if the timeline correlates with the order the stories were presented to validate my theory or am I off side on this?

  • 30. Disappointed! wrote:

    What a letdown! I saw the title: “Who is Malka?” and expected to see her name and place she lives. I got neither! Such a tease! Titles like are sensational but rarely deliver.

  • 31. How capable is she? wrote:

    She can learn a maamor in Derech Mitzvosecha.

    She can learn a Chassam Sofer and an Igros Moishe.

    She is a lamdon and a maskil.

    And she knows chassidishe stories.

    Is that typical of a Gateshead Seminary graduate?

    • 32. Ahuvah wrote:

      Trust me Malka is not “typical”, but neither is her life story. Maybe that’s why she merited special attention from a Godol that recognized her potential and the greatness of her character. He knew it was a worthwhile investment of his time which won’t be wasted and his advice won’t be ignored.

  • 33. heavy duty wrote:

    this is real heavy, not the usual light fluff stories, thanks for including links of seforim, learning never ends, even in camp

  • 34. Picture wrote:

    Notice that picture of You were not abandoned wss a young girl holding her tatty’s hand, now picture of the girl grown up, mature and independant standing in a wheat field like Rus.

  • 36. Chazak Ubaruch wrote:

    As a sefardi, I am not involved in chassidic folklore and customs which come from Poland or Russia Jewry, but these stories connect with my sefardi neshama.

  • 38. Questions on story wrote:

    Real life stories that are unfiltered and unedited, raise questions. Like, why did this happen and why did she do this. I was always told, oif ah maaseh frekt men nit kabin kashes (on a story you cannot ask questions because that’s what happened).. people ask many questions on the Malka Stories BECAUSE it is an unpolished unfiltered story told exactly as it happened. On a story one does not ask questions!

  • 39. Reminder wrote:

    The heard or read that Rabbi Groner confirmed parts of this story. Did Rabbi Avtzon forget or retract thay. Can he confirm thst?

  • 40. Privacy wrote:

    The respect her privacy. Can you just confirm if she lives on the USA? If so, what state?

  • 41. Had a similar incident wrote:

    I had a similar incident with the rebbe concerning a letter.
    The rebbe gave me his bracha to go to israel to look for a shidduch and sent me with israeli money for tzedaka.
    When i returned to ny i again asked for a bracha as no shidduchim had materialized.
    The rebbe answered me asking why i had refused shidduchim from a certain rabbi.
    I had not been offered shidduchim by that rabbi and was very upset at the rebbes answer.
    Years later the rebbe told me he had wanted me to report to him what had happened in israel regarding shidduchim and wanted my side of the story so had given that answer.
    I had not thought to tell the rebbe what had happened there and had taken what he answered in the wrong way.

    • 42. please explain wrote:

      I don’t understand ehat you wrote. Please explain your story that was “similar”. Thanks.

  • 43. Answers a 40 year old question wrote:

    This may answer my friends question she has for over 40 yrs.
    I have a friend in lubavitch who goes by her english name and wrote the rebbe using her english name and hebrew names.
    When she went to yechidus the rebbe told her she doesnt have the correct name but she didnt ask what he meant. This was over 40 years ago but she always wondered.
    Now i think i understand the problem. It was with the english name and not with the hebrew names as she thought

    • 44. please repost clearly wrote:

      Can you please repost and write clearly the thoughts of your earlier post. Can’t follow!

  • 45. Remarkable wrote:

    Not only do the names Malka and Melissa (or Mellisa) both begin and end the same, with an M and A sound, but they also both have an L sound. The names are really remarkably similar! This shows how names that parents give (both birth parents and adopted parents) are Divinely Inspired.

  • 46. best stories wrote:

    The stories about Melissa-Malka are the best ever. I would rather just call her Malka.

  • 47. l'Maaseh wrote:

    Malka clearly does her best to fill the Rebbe’s wishes, so I don’t understand why when she knew that using her secular name was undesirable and not in accordance to the Rebbe’s wishes, does ahe continue to use her secular name?

    For someone that had and continues to have such a strong bond with the Rebbe and sacrifices so much to please him and fulfill his wishes, why
    would she cleave to her secular name?

    Compared with all else that she does, what’s the big deal to just drop Mellisa and stick to Malka?

    After all, Malka is the name given by her adopted parents who gave so much for her!

    • 48. Dov wrote:

      Think about it
      When her adoption papers were finally opened
      This is the only thing that connects her to her birth parents
      Also at that time she did not keep all the insights the Rebbe gave her such as that yom tov is also Shabbos.

    • 49. clarification wrote:

      So she was a chareidy girl (probably brought up chasseedishe) that went to a top seminary, then life turned on her and she went totally off but kept shabbos and kosher as she promised Rebbe at her bas mitzva. She kept visiting Rebbe and he kept broadening the two mitzvos to include all mitzvos. All this time she kept her name Malka till she learned her original name and she uses that., but Rebbe wanted a slight spelling variation in secular name..is that the history?

    • 50. To Dov wrote:

      Are you providing excuses and justification for using gentile names? Would it be ok for her if her name was Christine? Explain yourself or correct yourself!

    • 51. Dov wrote:

      All I am saying is that evidently the Rebbe kept to his bargain as well.
      He asked her for three things and kept to it, just showed her how everything is connected, thereby broadening them.

      My point is the Rebbe was unhappy that she stopped using her Jewish name, but didn’t press it as that was her only connection to her birth parents, as this was over ten years after her adopted parents passed away.

      At that point, the Rebbe wasn’t focused on that detail, as evidently there were other mitzvos as well as she didn’t keep.
      He kept focused on the long term.
      And she is now keeping many more mitzvos than she did then.
      Many Jews in the business and professional world don’t use their Jewish name.
      So I am not saying she is correct, but don’t bash her either. She admits she is not perfect.
      which one of use would appreciate the scrutiny she is getting?
      You question her, but won’t say who you are?!

    • 52. names wrote:

      I think “Mellisa” is quite different than “Christina” which contains the name of yoshka.

  • 53. MOST COMMENTS & MOST READ wrote:

    These stories are among the most read and gets the most comments. The comments are sometimes as interesting as the story with insight, Q & A’s, explanations…

  • 54. MOST COMMENTS & MOST READ wrote:

    Can you reprint the entire series? Last story about Malka over a year ago in the 5 parts “you weren’t abandoned”

  • 55. worth reading wrote:

    I would not say about each story that it’s worth reading. But I don’t hesitate to say so on this story: it’s worth reading.

  • 56. Milhouse wrote:

    I knew someone who was advised by the Bostoner Rebbe to change the Hebrew spelling of his family name. Again, the change would not affect the pronunciation at all, and it wasn’t even his personal name but only a family name, the whole concept of which is alien to Jews, but nevertheless the Bostoner Rebbe felt the old spelling was invoking gevuros on him and thus causing some of his personal problems, so he should change it.

    • 58. Question to Milhouse wrote:

      What do you think of the various directives Malka got? The complexity of her life story? You akways have eise insights. Please share YOUR thoughts!

  • 59. Mixed Messages wrote:

    On the one hand I am given the impression that Malka keeps 100% all mitzvos and is 100% frum, but then I read here that she herself states:
    I am lax in many areas of Orthodox observance..
    so which is it, is she frum or not?

    I am not asking, as Rabbi Avtzon admonishes against asking ”

    I am not asking “how early she lights shabbos candles” – as Rabbi Avtzon admonishes against, just a basic question: is she or isn’t she frum?

  • 60. Akiva wrote:

    In Talmud Bavli Aviva is always with an Alef. In Talmud Yerushalmi Akiva is found written with a hay. Aramaic names (like Yiddish names) tend to end with Alef, while Hebrew names tend to end with hay.

  • 61. Loshon Hora wrote:

    Worrying about “loshon hora” like a true Gareshead graduate.

  • 62. L'tovas horabim wrote:

    Please ask Malka to allow herself to be interviewed by JEM with the stipulation that her interviews not be shared until a date of her choice.

    • 63. read the story! wrote:

      There was a message hidden in the hayom yom telling her to remain hidden or else she will endure pain. Are you saying sge should go against the answer she got?!

  • 64. Seriously...please wrote:

    Some of these comments are shocking.

    Why so many questions trying to pry into her privacy… Can’t we respect that? And the judgementalism has got to stop too it’s quite sickening.
    Let’s appreciate the parts she is sharing with us, instead of focusing on the less important details. This isn’t about her detailed biography. It’s about her unique relationship with the leader of our times and she is sharing for inspirational purposes only.
    It’s truly of the most remarkable stories I’ve ever heard and it’s truth rings loud and clear….anyone with a sensitive neshama knows it and feels it.
    We wish Malka lots of happiness and luck and thank her for sharing what she did.

    • 65. To Dov wrote:

      Are you providing excuses and justification for using gentile names? Would it be ok for her if her name was Christine? Explain yourself or correct yourself!

  • 66. Proof wrote:

    Some want proof that story is true. Well, there is no way that over a year ago she sent an email with her name misspelled (who misspells their own name?!) and much later explain it and even provide us with halachic citation. No writer can plan such a novel!

  • 68. chosid wrote:

    Imagine how many other Malka’s are out there – people outside the community that had relationships with Rebbe! It is only by a fluke that Malka came forward and even she took time to share some of her encounters. It saddens me to think of all the Malka’s type of stories out there that we will never know!

    • 69. There are many who had similar relationships with the rebbe wrote:

      This is so true that there are many stories untold.
      i brought people to the rebbe from stern college when women were allowed to go up and speak to him.
      He would speak to the women at the womens convention and before rosh hashana and afterwards the women went up to give him thier letters and get his advise. I was able to have a relationship with the rebbe i will never forget as I went several times to speak with him. I was also 18 like malka and alone.
      The rebbe spoke about me in fabrengen once after i wrote him asking that he answer a rashi he had started teaching weeks before.
      Its a shame so much is lost now as everyone at one time could have had this.

  • 70. Victoria wrote:

    Is my name also associated with pagen worship? I learn so much from this website.

    • 71. Amazing wrote:

      Actually the name Victoria is ALSO associated with the same avodah zara as Melissa! Everything is Divine Providence. You chose to read these stories and suddenly asking this very question and now discovering the EXACT same message given to Melissa applies to you! AMAZING!

    • 72. Rabbi G from BMK wrote:

      Actually, yes – “in ancient Roman religion [she] was the personified goddess of victory” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_%28mythology%29).

      You begin to see why Chazal took so much care to put up barriers to (over-)socialization with non-Jews, as in the previous part of Malka’s story: so much of their culture was saturated with idolatry.

  • 73. Rabbi Sholom Avtzon wrote:

    I am sorry to inform you that Yes your name is connected to the G-dess of Victory.
    Reading your comments last week, it is evident that you have an orthodox rabbi with whom you discuss your questions with, and I will advise you to discuss this with him as well.
    Obviously the best thing would be to begin using your Jewish name, or at least follow the guidance noted here to change the spelling.
    From my acquaintances in the sephardic community, i know it is a common name, and if you are a member there, perhaps you can benefit the community at large.
    If you (or anyone else) wants to continue the conversation, please email me directly, as for obvious reasons I can’t respond to everyone’s question and comment on line.
    Yes Malka lives in the USA and doesn’t live in the east coast, she resides in a different time zone.
    One thing I would like to say is your question is the reason I decided to post this Weekly Story and validates the decision after some hesitation I had on publicizing this private matter, as it may benefit many Jews.
    And that is what Malka concluded her message with, so I am positive she too is pleased.

    • 74. Hashgacha Protis wrote:

      Victoria reads this and has the EXACT SAME issue of name related to SAME avodah zara. What are the chances? Had Hashem!

    • 75. from Victoria wrote:

      Two questions: why did you write “G-dess of Victory” without the “O”? How would you suggest I misspell my name Victoria, with a “k”: Viktoria?

    • 76. Victoria wrote:

      My rabbi is not orthodox – does that matter? He is very learned and even an author. I am sefardic background with strong belief and traditional even if not practising very much.

    • 77. Rabbi Sholom Avtzon wrote:

      As I wrote previously, I would have preferred to have this dialogue privately and not on a public forum. First of all I am not a practicing Rabbi answering Jewish law, on a daily basis. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, even real Rabbis shun away from answering on a public forum, as their words may be misunderstood, by some the multitude of people that read it. So if I answer directly and there is a misunderstanding it can be clarified, but not everyone reads all of the back and forth comments and may remain with the wrong understanding.
      That said, being that you asked from one Jew to another, I will reply, with an introduction.
      In Jewish law, the Rabbi although he personally may feel something is not appropriate for himself, will inform the one that inquires that it is permissible, if that is the case. As his only interest is, to give over to the one that asked, the word and guidance that our Creator gave us in His Torah. His personal preference is of no consequence in his halachic decision. So Yes a Rabbi has to be G-d fearing, not just learned. He is not rendering his decision, rather he is rendering his understanding of what Hashem is asking of us.
      With that said, I will proceed to reply.
      I was baffled as why Malka, misspelled her English name, but I never inquired as I thought it was merely a typo and I am not here to pry. When she informed me of this guidance that was given to her by the Rebbe, umlike other points, that were personal for her neshomah, etc. this was given as a general guidance.
      Malka has much in common with you, as while she does fulfill many mitzvos, and is an extremely spiritual person, she states that she is lacking in some aspects of observance. Yet just as she became emotional when the Rebbe mentioned an aspect of avodah zora, as you read in last weeks story, this weeks story touched you and you responded, not once but additional times. So you see this point touched your neshomah as well.
      So how you decide to change it, I will leave it up to you, but change it you should.
      If you will like to continue this conversation please do so at avtzonbooks@gmail.com

  • 78. Ma Nishtana wrote:

    Why is no other story questioned like this one? Why does no other story ask for proof of its truth? Why does no other story attract so many the skeptics, disbeievers and skoffers? And why do so many feel the need to know more about Malka? And why does no other story attract so many readers and comments?

  • 79. the hand of Hashem wrote:

    Look how malka’s story wss posted ans then seen by Victoria who also has a name associated with SAME avodah zara! Coincidentally? I don’t think so! No one can plan such paths to cross but the Master of the Universe. Victoria, listen to the unspoken messages that are so clearly sent, the Rebbe will find a way to communicate!

  • 80. The Avodah Zara Angle wrote:

    Seems to me the Rebbe was trying to fight the risk of Malka joining avodah zara. Remember when the samech mem tried to get her to church – tge Rebbe prevented it with sending matzo. Remember her attending an Xmas party at her girlfriend house – the Rebbe gave her a tilling of learning certain items. Here the Rebbe fixes a weakness in her name to close the portal for the samech mem from snatching her neshama. The greater the soul, the greater the desire of the samech mem to defile that neshama. I see a constant theme here. A pure elevated neshama getting help from the Rebbe to remain pure.

    • 81. The Avodah Zara Angle wrote:

      Seems to me the Rebbe was trying to fight the risk of Malka joining avodah zara. Remember when the samach mem tried to get her to church – the Rebbe prevented it with sending matzo. Remember her attending an Xmas party at her girlfriend house – the Rebbe gave her a tikun of learning certain items. Here in this story the Rebbe fixes a weakness in her name to close the portal for the samach mem from snatching her neshama. The greater the soul, the greater the desire of the sameah mem to defile that neshama. I see a constant theme here. A pure elevated neshama getting help from the Rebbe to remain pure.

      REPLY if I am on target!!

  • 82. Shlucha wrote:

    To my dear Victoria,
    I write this with sisterly love because even though I do not know you, my soul knows yours, since all Jews are connected with a common soul. Please avail yourself to contact a Chabad House near you. The rabbi’s wife will be happy to spend time with you, either in a formal meeting or in her kitchen while she bakes challah. If I were close in place to you, I would insist you spend shabbos with us, but Google chabad in your area and you will discover some amazing people that can answer your questions.


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