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Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 19 Adar I 5784
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A Pleasant Dwelling

This Shabbat, the 22nd of Shvat, marks 22 years since the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneersohn, wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka is also the daughter of the previous Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson. The Rebbe referred to his wedding day as “the day that connected me with you” (the chassidim), as his marriage to the Rebbetzin cemented his tie to the previous Rebbe and placed him in position to become the previous Rebbe's successor.Chaya Mushka, Schneerson

After the passing of the previous Rebbe, many chassidim approached the Rebbe and requested that he assume leadership of the Chabad Chassidic movement. The Rebbe was reluctant to do so. However, his wife, the Rebbetzin, implored her husband to accept the leadership so that the self-sacrifice of her father and the previous generations of Chabad leaders should not be for naught. Although she was a very private person, she knowingly gave up much of her personal life in order to enable the Rebbe to devote his time to the needs of his chassidim and the Jewish people in general.

The name of the Rebbetzin, "Chaya Mushka," reflects on her position as a role model for Jewish women everywhere. A Jewish woman is referred to as "akeret habayit" - the mainstay of the home, who sees to it that the home is pleasant and filled with physical and spiritual beauty. The name Chaya means life, which denotes a woman's efforts to make her home into a joyous, lively place. Young children who are raised in the joyful spirit of Judaism will grow up to be proud of their Jewishness and eager to fulfill mitzvot.

The name "Mushka" derives from the word musk - a type of perfume. We all feel more at ease in a home that has an agreeable, refreshing smell. A pleasant smell can be introduced with fresh flowers and delicious cakes baking in the oven. However, a home also has its spiritual scent. A sensitive person can immediately detect when a home has a warm and welcoming environment, a true retreat for the spirit.

The steps involved in turning a house into a real home can be applied to our overall task of making our world into a residence for G-d. We need to invest our souls and spirit to make this world into a beautiful, spiritually rich place where G-d can feel at home. One way to transform our homes into a residence for G-d is through performing acts of kindness in our homes and bringing in holy books and Jewish articles. This will hasten the day when G-d will feel truly at home in this world, with the complete and final redemption.

(Based on an address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, 22nd of Shvat, 5752) 



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