Each year on the 6th of Tishrei, the Rebbe held a farbrengen to commemorate the yahrzeit of his mother – Rebbetzin Chana’s. Below are a few highlights from the Rebbe’s talk on 6 Tishrei, 5742, devoted to his mother. They deliver a powerful message about the Ten Days of Teshuvah as well.
“She enabled him to write his ideas”
In recent years, it has been possible to learn the Torah written by my father, because his works have now been printed. The study of his works is in the merit of my mother, who enabled him to write his ideas. When my father was exiled to a remote city in Russia [by the Russian government for his work in disseminating Judaism], there was no ink available to write his Torah novella. My mother gathered various herbs in the fields and made a sort of ink from them. This enabled my father to write down his novella.
My father wrote his works on the margins of books (after my mother was permitted to be with him she brought books along), and on a limited number of pieces of paper he had.
After my father passed away, my mother guarded these books and pieces of paper and brought them with her (when she left Russia). This was how my father’s writings reached here.
It was an incredible act of self-sacrifice on my mother’s part to do this, for had the authorities found these writings in her possession, she could have been imprisoned without any due process of law — as so often happens in that country…
Yet, notwithstanding this, she did keep them safe, and did succeed in bringing them out of the country. The result is that they were printed and all can learn his Torah.
“Eventually he will succeed”
The lesson from the above is as follows: When a Jew attempts to do something (fulfilling the Torah), and it seems to be impossible, he should not be affected, but continue working to attain his objective. Eventually he will succeed. Success may elude him for many years, as in the above case, where for years, no one was permitted to leave, except special individuals, and then without any writings etc. Hence, in the natural order of things, it was unthinkable they would allow a woman to leave with writings. We must learn from my mother that a person should not give up in the face of any difficulties, but continue to persevere.
Simply put, if a project seems impossible to achieve, a person has the tendency to think it is more worthwhile to work on something easier, rather than waste time on something that is seemingly impossible.
Such a person must know that everything is run by Divine Providence, and since he knows that something needs to be done, it is a lesson to him that he must work on it. There is no time to start reckoning up the chances, for he must first and foremost fulfill G‑d’s mission!
And the above story teaches us that when a Jew truly decides to conduct himself according to the Torah, disregarding all opposition, he will surely succeed. It may take time, but eventually it will be done. The methods used may be bound by the finite limits of this physical world; but the enthusiasm of the person must be beyond limits.
Challah, niddah and hadlakat nerot
Today there are many educational institutions the world over that proudly bear the name of Rebbetzin Chana. The Rebbe often stressed that the initial letters of the three mitzvot especially entrusted to women (challah, niddah and hadlakat nerot) correspond to the letters of his mother’s name, Chana.
In his mother’s honor, the Rebbe established Keren Chana, a fund that provides long-term loans for girls seeking to continue their Jewish studies.