I am happy with the fact that I have not written lately, because I also haven’t been in the best of health. Now, thank G‑d, I feel much better.
The Rebbe at a Farbrengen
I don’t want to let pass the opportunity to record the pleasure I enjoyed last night listening to my son, shlita, speaking to an audience of many hundreds of people.1 I am not the expert to appraise the scholarship of the subjects on which he spoke, but the portion I did understand made a deep impression upon me with its rich content.2
Of course, I didn’t stay until the end, which would be too difficult for me.
I was delighted to see such a large number of young people attending and how great was their interest in all the activities of my son, shlita. I observed how they look upon him with such a love that is indescribable. It was apparent from the way they were hurrying, by subway, by car, in groups, each trying to get ahead of the other in order to get a better place so that they should be able to see and hear as much as possible.
They were from all types of background—non-Chasidim, Chasidim, Polish Chasidim, Litvish,3 old and young, non-religious and Orthodox. The same was true for the women. Everyone tried to find a place where they could not only hear but also see.
May G‑d grant my son good health and success to be able to accomplish his work, to achieve what he desires without hindrance, in physical and emotional tranquility.
25 years since the wedding of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin
12 Kislev 5713
I haven’t written for a few months. My health has been weak, and I didn’t have the inclination to write.
This is the month, and particularly the days of the month, that stir many memories for me.
I don’t wish to speak about myself personally, for I was but a very small part of everything that comes to mind and of which I am reminded.
Two days from now, on 14th Kislev, is the 25th anniversary of the wedding of my son, Menachem Mendel, shlita, long and happily may he live together with his wife, tichyeh.
I am reminded of the many upheavals that have occurred during this period, collectively and individually.
While still in his childhood, my son was already an adult. I remind myself of all the years when he was still with us at home, how he did everything with such unassuming simplicity; yet how much greatness and extraordinary beauty, and nobility of character were infused in his actions.
We celebrated [the day of] his wedding in our home.4 Our hearts were deeply distressed, but we banished the anguish by rejoicing.
Involuntarily, I visualize those seated at the head table. They were people so close to me; some of whom were young people who passed away before their time—the general suffering of our people made victims of them, too.
Oh, how truly beautiful and faithful to each other was their interaction at that celebration. Concerning some of them, I feel a little easier because, after all their sufferings, I know at least where they were interred,5 whereas, for others, all my efforts to discover where they were buried have been unsuccessful.6
I am not alone, and I thank G‑d for the nachas I have. Some of my close relatives have passed on; may they be advocates [in Heaven] on our behalf, and may the life of the one for whom we were celebrating that day be successful in all respects, for long life.
“Disquiet in a person’s heart”
“When there is disquiet in a person’s heart, yashchena,” says the verse.7 As far as I remember—I hope I’m getting it right, without error—this can be interpreted in three ways:8
1. Yasichena—removing one’s mind completely from the worry9—which I am unable yet to do.
2. Yashchena—thrusting it down10 and suppressing it—which I am making efforts to do.
3. Yesichena—talk it over with others11—which I would often like to do, but I have almost no one in whom I can confide. Sometimes I give in to my desire by writing it down on paper, as much as I am capable.
Better than ten sons
28 Tevet, 5714 Today I turned 74 years old. That’s how time passes. Thank G‑d, my son, shlita, came in and gave me his good wishes for the occasion.
From my other son,12 I have received a telegram signed also by his family, with similar wishes.
I have no desire to dwell on this subject.
I haven’t written for two months. I have much to thank G‑d for, and my son M. M., shlita, has every right to say, “I am better for you than ten sons”!13
I don’t wish anyone to experience the taste of not being present at one’s own child’s personal celebration, and to be far away for so long. My husband, of blessed memory, and I bore this pain together, but ever since I am alone, it penetrates much more deeply and is more difficult.
I used to write to my other son and his family, and from time to time would receive their replies. At first, I received long letters, written with such devotion and loyalty. Even later, when his letters became shorter, they still included words that warmed me for a long time, and I lived with those words, feeling not so lonely.
More than two months ago, however, I was advised not to write to them14 because they are living under very difficult circumstances, and it’s not always easy for them to reply. Indeed, since then, I haven’t received even one letter.
Sending kisses to Grandma
How delicious it was to read my granddaughter’s letter where she writes (in Hebrew), “I send you many kisses, Grandma”! Their good wishes, which are actually being fulfilled, had such a deep effect on me, like a shock!
I cannot calm down; it affects my health despite my efforts to reinforce myself. Firstly, I am pained by the fact that they are in such poor circumstances. I haven’t been there, of course. May G‑d grant that their situation should improve.
Secondly, I miss having them close by. I have very few blood relatives, and the older we get, the more we need that.
It can be said that G‑d has done miracles for me. Let’s hope the situation will improve.
As for me, thank G‑d, everything is taken care of in the best manner. I see that my son, shlita, goes beyond his ability in what he does for me. I pray that my son, shlita, should be healthy and successful in all that he does.
Like at Mount Sinai
[After Shavuos, 5714]
The yom tov of Shavuot has already passed. It’s my tenth year on my own.
I think that if I would work, I would feel better, and what I consider to be missing I could possibly dismiss from my mind. But I don’t have the strength for it. It seems to be an inner fatigue, absolutely not allowing me to make any great effort.
I just heard a report about the farbrengen of my son, shlita from a perceptive, good friend.15 He spoke about it with such great excitement, saying, “It was quite literally like at Mount Sinai!”
I understand the greatness of this, and recognize its significance with all my heart.
1. The Rebbe’s talk on this occasion is published in Torat Menachem—Hitvaaduyot 5714, vol. 1, p. 43ff.
2. Interestingly, the Rebbe mentioned, among other subjects, a teaching of his father (ibid. p. 61): “…I heard from my revered father, of blessed memory, that the mitzvah of sukkah indicates the perfection of all 248 positive Torah commandments… in a manner that you shall not add… [or] subtract [from them (Deuteronomy 13:1)], as alluded to in the verse (Isaiah 4:6) And there will be a sukkah [tabernacle]…as a protection and refuge from storm and from rain. The three letters of the Hebrew word for ‘storm’—ZeReM—have a numerical value of 247, one short of 248, while the three letters of the Hebrew word for ‘rain’—MaTaR—have a numerical value of 249, one more than 248. Thus this alludes to how the mitzvah of sukkah protects and provides a refuge from any subtraction from the Torah (247) or addition to it (249)”.
3. Jews of Lithuanian background.
4. See above, p. 000.
5. Perhaps referring to her father and husband, of blessed memory, among others.
6. Perhaps referring to her mother, Rebbetzin Rachel äé"ã, and her second son, DovBer äé"ã.
7. Proverbs 12:25.
8. The Hebrew letters (which, in the original scriptural text, are without vowel marks) can be read three different ways, giving three distinct meanings.
9. A Midrashic explanation offered by the Talmud, Yoma 75a.
10. The literal translation—see the classic commentaries (Minchas Shai, Ralbag, Metzudos David and Metzudos Tzion).
11. Another Midrashic explanation offered by the Talmud, ibid.
12. See above, p. 000, footnote 000.
13. See I Samuel, 1:8.
14. Apparently to keep her from learning of her younger son’s passing.
15. Apparently on Shavuos.