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Parshat Tazria-Metzora, 5761

Iyar 4, 5761
April 27, 2001

Family Purity -
The Torah Perspective On Married Life

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Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12


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We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, our weekly publication, Living With Moshiach.


In this week's issue, we highlight one of the Rebbe's Mitzvah Campaigns, Mivtzah Taharat Hamishpacha -- The Jewish Laws of Family Purity.

The observance of the Jewish Laws of Family Purity, is one of the three special mitzvot entrusted to the Jewish Woman.(*)


Marriage and sexuality are treated very carefully by the Jewish tradition.

It is no coincidence that in Torah-conscious homes the divorce rate is much lower than the national average.

Taharat Hamishpacha, the attitudes and practices for happy married life help to develop genuine communication and love between husband and wife and bring to the world healthy, loving children.

The detailed laws of Taharat Hamishpacha require much explanation. Many couples of all ages have turned to observing Taharat Hamishpacha. Contact your local rabbi or Chabad-Lubavitch Center for more information.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/general/shluchim.html. In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

For a Global Mikvah Directory, go to: http://www.mikvah.org/directory_map.asp


Our sincere appreciation to L'Chaim weekly publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing us to use their material.

Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb Mordechai Staiman, for his tireless efforts.


It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!

Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind

2 Iyar, 5761
Brooklyn, New York


*. The other two are: Mivtzah Neshek--Lighting Shabbat Candles, and Mivtzah Kashrut--The Jewish Dietary Laws.

Reb Zaida Moshe ben Reb Alter Asher Anshil
Passed away, on 14 Iyar, 5759

From a Letter of the Rebbe

. . . Although what follows is self-evident, its importance requires it to be emphasized, at any rate briefly.

To begin with, it is obvious that the said blessing of healthy offspring both physically and spiritually is largely dependent upon the conduct of the parents. For, just as the physical health and constitution of parents have an impact on the physical health of the children, so it is also mentally and spiritually.

Indeed, as every intelligent person understands, the spiritual aspect is stronger than the physical, so that the order should be reversed, namely, that the spiritual impact is predominant.

Inasmuch as the Torah, which is called the "Torah of Truth," declared that Jews are "believers, the sons of believers," meaning that in addition to one's own belief in G-d, one has the cumulative heritage of countless generations, beginning with our Father Abraham, the first believer, that the Source of blessings is G-d, the Creator and Master of the universe. If a human being who introduces a certain system must give guidelines as to how the system works, how much more so is it to be expected that G-d would provide guidelines which were revealed at Sinai with the Giving of the Torah and mitzvot, which were transmitted from generation to generation, not only in content, but also in the exact terms. Thus, the Torah provides the guidelines as to how Jews have to conduct their lives, especially their family lives. But inasmuch as a human being, however perfect he may be, is liable to fail occasionally, G-d has provided the way in which it can be rectified, namely by way of teshuvah -- repentence, which, as our Sages declare, was created even before the world. And teshuvah is effective not only in respect to the future, but also retroactively to a large extent, inasmuch as G-d is omnipotent and is not restricted in any way.

It is a matter of common experience that it is part of human nature that parents will make every sacrifice for the benefit of children, even in a case where the benefit may not be certain, but has prospects.

All the above is by way of introduction to my earnest plea that regardless of how it was in the past, you will strengthen your commitment and adherence to the Will of G-d, the Creator and Source of all blessings, particularly in the area of the strict fulfillment of the laws and regulations of family purity which, aside from the essential aspect of their being Divine imperatives, have the Divine Promise of reward in terms of healthy offspring, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Needless to say, when it comes to carrying out the commandments of G-d, it is absolutely irrelevant what neighbors or friends might say when they see a radical change in one's everyday life.

Herein is also the answer to many questions, including the question of why this or that mitzvah has to be observed. For a human being to question G-d's reasons for His mitzvot is actually contradictory to common sense. If one accepts them as Divine commandments, it would be presumptuous, indeed ridiculous, to equate G-d's intellect to that of a human being. By way of a simple illustration, which I had occasion to use before: one would not expect an infant to understand the importance of nutrition as set forth by a professor who has dedicated his life to this subject, even though the difference between the infant and the professor is only relative in terms of age and education. There can be no such comparison between a created human being and the Creator, where the difference is absolute.

It should therefore be a matter of common sense to understand what the Torah, the Torah of Truth, explains clearly, that whatever doubts and difficulties a Jew may have in matters of Torah and mitzvot are only tests of his faith in G-d. It would be illogical to assume that G-d would impose obligations which are beyond human capacity to fulfill. Indeed, if one has more difficult tests, it only proves that he has greater capacities to overcome them.

In summary, just as when we received the Torah and mitzvot at Sinai, we accepted them on the basis of Naaseh [we will do], first and then, V'nishma [we will hear, i.e. understand], namely on the basis of unconditional obedience and readiness to fulfill G-d's mitzvot regardless of our understanding them rationally, so has our commitment been ever since. And while we must learn and try to understand as much as possible, prior knowledge and understanding must never be a condition for living up to the guidelines which G-d has given us in regard to our actual way of life and conduct.


The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that "The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his way!"

The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this as a prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption, through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.

Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.


"When our forefathers were in the wilderness, on the eve of their entry into the Land of Israel, they were commanded to be vigilant with the kashrut of their vessels, and with the purity and sanctity of their family life.

"In our days, too, in these last few moments of exile we must be particularly vigilant with respect to these two commandments -- kashrut and the laws of family purity. For aside from their intrinsic significance as basic and perpetual principles of Judaism, they are also a special preparation and catalyst for our anticipated entry into the land of Israel with our Righteous Moshiach."

(The Rebbe)


I am in receipt of your letter... in which you write about your background and some highlights of your life.

In reply, I will address myself at once to the essential point in your letter, namely your attitude towards religious observance, as you describe in your letter, and especially to the particular Mitzvah which is most essential for a happy married life, namely Taharat Hamishpacha. You write that you do not understand the importance of this Mitzvah, etc. This is not surprising, as is clear from the analogy of a small child being unable to understand a professor who is advanced in knowledge. Bear in mind that the condition between the small child and the advanced professor is only a difference in degree and not in kind, inasmuch as the child may, in due course, not only attain the same level of the professor, but even surpass him.

It is quite otherwise in the difference between a created being, be he the wisest person on earth, and the Creator Himself. How can we, humans, expect to understand the infinite wisdom of the Creator? It is only because of G-d's great kindness that He has revealed certain reasons with regard to certain Mitzvot, that we can get some sort of a glimpse or insight into them. It is quite clear that G-d has given us the various commandments for our own sake and not in order to benefit Him. It is therefore clear what the sensible attitude towards the Mitzvot should be. If this is so with regard to any Mitzvah, how much more so with regard to the said Mitzvah of Taharat Hamishpacha, which has a direct bearing not only on the mutual happiness of the husband and wife, but also on the well-being and happiness of their offspring, their children and children's children.

It is equally clear that parents are always anxious to do everything possible for their children, even if there is only a very small chance that their efforts would materialize, and even if these efforts entail considerable difficulties. How much more so in this case where the benefit to be derived is very great and lasting, while the sacrifice is negligible by comparison. Even where the difficulties are not entirely imaginary, it is certain that they become less and less with actual observance of the Mitzvah, so that they eventually disappear altogether.

Needless to say I am aware of the "argument" that there are many non-observant married couples, yet seemingly happy, etc. The answer is simple. First of all, it is well known that G-d is very merciful and patient, and waits for the erring sinner to return to Him in sincere repentance. Secondly, appearances are deceptive, and one can never know what the true facts are about somebody else's life, especially as certain things relating to children and other personal matters are, for obvious reasons, kept in strict confidence.

As a matter of fact, in regard to the observance of Taharat Hamishpacha, even the plain statistics of reports and tables by specialists, doctors and sociologists etc., who cannot be considered partial towards the religious Jew, clearly show the benefits which accrued to those Jewish circles which observed Taharat Hamishpacha. These statistics have also been published in various publications, but it is not my intention to dwell on this at length in this letter.

My intention in writing all the above is, of course, not to admonish or preach, but in the hope that upon receipt of my letter you will consider the matter more deeply, and will at once begin to observe the Mitzvah of Taharat Hamishpacha, within the framework of the general Jewish way of life which our Creator has clearly given to us in His Torah, which is called Torat Chaim, the Law of Life. Even if it seems to you that you have some difficulties to overcome, you may be certain that you will overcome them and that the difficulties are only in the initial stages.

I understand that in your community there are young couples who are observant and you could discuss this matter with them, and find out all the laws and regulations of Taharat Hamishpacha. If, however, you find it inconvenient to seek the knowledge from friends, there are booklets which have been published, which contain the desired information, also a list of places where a Mikvah is available.

[For a Global Mikvah Directory, go to: http://www.mikvah.org/directory_map.asp Ed.]

Next I will refer to the various undesirable events which occurred in your family, which left you confused, as you write. In view of what has been said above, it is not entirely unexpected. For, inasmuch as the essence of a Jew is to live in accordance with G-d's command, it is clear that if one disturbs the normal flow of this kind of life by disobeying G-d's command, it is not surprising that one should feel confused, lacking the true faith in G-d, which is the only terra firma for a Jew. Moreover, inasmuch as the Mitzvot are also the channels through which to receive G-d's blessings, it is not surprising that a lack of observance prevents the fulfillment of G-d's blessings.

I repeat, it is not my intention to admonish with regard to the past, but if you want to follow my advice, I urge you to begin from now on to live the Jewish way of life with a firm resolution and determination, and this will surely bring you the fulfillment of your heart's desires for good.

. . . It is fitting to emphasize that the Jewish people received the Torah in the only fitting manner, namely "We will observe (first) and we will understand." In other words, we accepted the Torah and Mitzvot without question and unconditionally, whether or not we understood the Mitzvot, or whether or not they are to our liking. At the same time we know that we have to try to learn more about the deeper significance of the Mitzvot. The same is true now, inasmuch as the Torah is ageless and eternal. May G-d grant that this should also be in your case, and may you have good news to report.

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
Dated 14 Sivan, 5724 [1964])


. . . The following remarks are in response to your request to comment on this vital subject.

In a Jewish household, the wife and mother, the Akeres Habayis [mainstay of the home], largely determines the set-up and atmosphere of the entire home.

G-d demands that the Jewish home -- every Jewish home -- be quite different from a non-Jewish home, not only on Shabbat and Yom Tov, but also on the ordinary weekdays and in "weekday" matters. It must be a Jewish home in every respect.

What makes a Jewish household different from a non-Jewish household is that it is conducted in all its details according to the directives of the Torah, Torat Chaim [the living Torah] -- meaning that it is the Jew's Guide in daily life -- given by G-d. Hence the home becomes an abode for G-d's Presence, a home for G-dliness, one of which G-d says: "Make Me a sanctuary, and I shall dwell among them." (Exod. 25:5).

It is a home where G-d's Presence is felt not only on Shabbat and Yom Tov, but on every day of the week; and not only when davenning [praying] and learning Torah, but also when engaged in very ordinary things, such as eating and drinking, etc., in accordance with the directive, "Know Him in all your ways."

It is a home where meal-time is not a time for indulging in ordinary and natural "eating habits" but a hallowed time to serve G-d, where the table is an "altar" to G-d, sanctified by the washing of the hands before the meal, reciting the blessings over the food, and Grace after the meal, with every item of food and beverage brought into the home being strictly kosher.

It is a home where the mutual relationship between husband and wife is sanctified by the meticulous observance of the laws and regulations of Taharat Hamishpacha, and permeated with awareness of the active third "Partner" -- G-d -- in creating new life, in fulfillment of the Divine commandment: "Be fruitful and multiply." This also ensures that Jewish children are born in purity and holiness, with pure hearts and minds that will enable them to resist temptation and avoid the pitfalls of the environment when they grow up. Moreover, the strict observance of Taharat Hamishpacha is a basic factor in the preservation of peace and harmony (Sholom Bayis) in the home, which is vitally strengthened and fortified thereby -- obviously, a basic factor in the preservation of the family as a unit.

It is a home where the parents know that their first obligation is to instill into their offspring from their most tender age on, the love of G-d and also the fear of G-d, permeating them with the joy of performing Mitzvot. With all their desire to provide their children with all the good things in life, the Jewish parent must know that the greatest, indeed the only real and eternal legacy they can bequeath to their children, is to make the Torah and Mitzvot and traditions, their life source and guide in daily life.

In all that has been said above, the Jewish wife and mother -- the Akeres Habayis -- has a primary role, second to none.

It is largely -- and in many respects exclusively -- her great task and privilege to give her home its truly Jewish atmosphere. She has been entrusted with, and is completely in charge of, the Kashrus of the foods and beverages that come into her kitchen and on the dining table.

She has been given the privilege of ushering in the holy Shabbat by lighting the candles on Friday, in ample time before sunset. Thus, she actually and symbolically brightens up her home with peace and harmony and with the light of Torah and Mitzvot. It is largely in her merits that G-d bestows the blessing of true happiness on her husband and children and the entire household.

. . . This is the great task and mission which G-d gave to Jewish women -- to observe and disseminate the observance of Taharat Hamishpacha, and of the other vital institutions of Jewish family life. For besides being the fundamental Mitzvot and the cornerstone of the sanctity of Jewish family life, as well as relating to the well-being of the children in body and soul, these pervade and extend through all Jewish generations to eternity.

Finally, it is to be remembered that the Creator has provided each and every Jewish woman with the capacity to carry them out in daily life in the fullest measure, for otherwise, it would not be logical or fair of G-d to give obligations and duties which are impossible to fulfill . . .

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
Dated 18 Elul, 5735 [1975])


It gave me pleasure to hear that you have begun to involve yourself in the subject of Family Purity, which as a result of our many transgressions has been so neglected and abandoned; moreover as a result of misplaced embarrassment there are pious, G-d fearing Jews who are ashamed to talk about this.

How true are the words of my father-in-law that the evil inclination is called "the smart one," because it clothes itself in garments that suit each individual respectively, to make him lose his sensibilities.

As he said in the name of his father, the Rebbe Rashab: "The evil inclination is called the animal soul, not because it is necessarily a senseless animal, but because oft times it is a fox, the most shrewd of animals, and one needs great wisdom to understand its tricks. And sometimes it clothes itself in the guise of a righteous, upright, humble person of sterling character. In each individual the animal soul is in accordance with his specific essence."

Thus we see clearly in the case at hand, being that the characteristic of shame is one of the three characteristics of the Jewish people who are compassionate, bashful and kind.

The evil inclination makes use of this trait to hold back vital talk that affects the happiness of husband and wife and their children thereafter until the end of time . . .

(Free Translation of a Letter from the Rebbe
Dated 21 Marcheshvan, 5711 [1951])


. . . One of the most inspiring lessons of Purim is the extraordinary courage of Mordechai the Jew, who "would not kneel or bow down," despite the physical vulnerability of our people being "spread and scattered among the nations" -- a tiny minority against an overwhelming majority.

Yet, it is this uncompromising stance that brought triumph over all adversaries, so that "for the Jews there was light, joy, gladness and honor," and the awesome respect of their detractors.

The teachings of our Torah, like the Torah itself, are of course eternal, including the lessons of Purim; particularly since we are still "spread and scattered among the nations," including our brethren in the Holy Land, for they, too, are surrounded and besieged by numerically overwhelming hostile nations.

But Purim teaches us that the strength of our Jewish people, as of every Jew individually, is in our G-d-given capacity of "not kneeling or bowing down" to any force that is contrary to our Jewish essence, which is rooted in the Torah and mitzvot.

Indeed, yielding to any influence that is alien to our Jewish spirit and way of life, far from winning good will and respect, must necessarily bring forth contempt, be it overtly or covertly. For what is one to think of a cringing Jew who is willing to compromise his true Jewish identity and noble traditions going back to the time when the world was steeped in barbarism?

Needless to say, the true Jewish spirit, as exemplified by Mordechai and Esther, must not remain in the abstract, but must be translated into concrete behavior in everyday life, in keeping with the basic principle of our Torah that "action is the essential thing."

Certainly this is to be expected of young people, who are generally blessed with a greater sense of urgency and doing. Especially young couples who start out on their own, establish a home on the foundations of Torah and mitzvot, raise a family in the true Torah tradition, and build "an everlasting edifice" in the fullest sense.

And here, of course, a great deal depends on the akeret habayit [the pillar of the home], in whose hands G-d has entrusted major responsibilities for the character and actual conduct of the home, such as kashrut, Shabbat observance, Family Purity, raising the children, and so forth.

This in no way diminishes the husband's full share of responsibility in this Divinely-blessed partnership, and they must consistently encourage each other to upgrade all things of goodness and holiness, Torah and mitzvot; but there is no getting away from the fact that it is the young wife and mother who bears the noble calling of akeret habayit.

. . . It should be noted, in conclusion, that there is no greater emphasis on the historic role of the Jewish woman in Jewish life than in the events that brought about the miracle of Purim, as related in the Megilah, which is named not after Mordechai, nor Mordechai and Esther jointly, but solely after Esther! . . .

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
Dated 7 Adar II, 5741 [1981])


Jewish Institute for Brides and Grooms
Montreal, Canada

Your letter reached me with some delay. Thank you very much also for the enclosures dealing with your activities and programs.

I hope that you are making efforts not only to maintain your activities in high gear, but also to extend them from time to time. For, needless to say, a marriage in Jewish life is an institution which is called Binyan Adei Ad -- an "everlasting edifice." And in order that it should be so, the marriage of a bride and groom should be in full compliance with the instructions of our Torah, which is called Torat Chaim [Torah of life], because it is not only the source of everlasting life in the Hereafter, but also the true guide in life on this earth.

The analogy of a marriage to an "everlasting edifice" is not merely a figure of speech, but there is an important idea and instruction in it.

Just as in the case of any structure, the first and most important thing is to ensure the quality and durability of the foundation, lacking which all the efforts put into the walls and roof and decorations, etc. would be of no avail, and so it is in regard to a Jewish marriage which, first of all, must be based on the foundation of the Torah and mitzvot, then follows the blessing of the joy and rejoicing of the beloved couple for the rest of their lives.

In view of the above, it is also clear that there is a standing obligation upon everyone to help a bride and groom to establish such an everlasting edifice, and it would be totally unjustified to think that it is a matter of their own personal life, in which no one has a right to interfere.

Surely when one sees someone bent on harming herself or himself and their children, or about to do something which might lead to self-destruction, G-d forbid, one will not consider it "interference" or "encroachment" to try to prevent that person from harming himself.

Similarly, when there is an opportunity to help someone with a lasting benefit, surely it is an elementary duty to do so, how much more so where the benefit is a truly everlasting one.

I send you my prayerful wishes to continue your good work in helping young couples to establish truly Jewish homes, homes that are illuminated with the light of the Torah and mitzvot, above all with the observance of the laws and regulations of Taharat Hamishpacha. May you do so with deep inspiration and with ever growing hatzlacha [success].

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
Dated 27 Marcheshvan, 5726 [1975])


. . . A Jewish marriage is called Binyan Adei Ad -- an "everlasting edifice." In order that the edifice of marriage should indeed be strong and lasting, everything connected with the wedding, as well as with the establishment of the couple's home, should be in full compliance with the instructions of Torah. For our Torah is called Torat Chaim, the Torah of Life; it is the source of everlasting life in the Hereafter, as well as the true guide to life on earth.

The analogy of a marriage to an "everlasting edifice" is not merely a figure of speech, but contains also an important idea and moral. In the case of any structure, the first and most important step is to ensure the quality and durability of the foundation. Without such a foundation all the efforts put into the walls, roof, decorations and so on, would be of no avail. This is even more true of the structure of marriage; if its foundation should be unstable, what tragedy could result! This is why a Jewish marriage must, first of all, be based on the rock-solid foundation of the Torah and Mitzvot; then follows the blessing of the joy and happiness of the beloved couple for the rest of their lives.

In every matter concerning the observance of Torah we follow the principle that "all Jews are responsible for one another." Not only are we to practice the Mitzvot ourselves, but we should also interest and assist others in their observance. In view of this it is clear that there is a standing obligation upon everyone to help a bride and groom establish an "everlasting edifice."

We should show them how and why to maintain a kosher kitchen in their new home. We should introduce them to the beauty of Shabbat, and show them how the laws and regulations of Taharat Hamishpacha bring sanctity to marital relations. Let no one think it is a matter of the young couple's own personal life, in which no one has a right to interfere. Such a viewpoint is totally unjustified. Surely when one sees someone bent on harming herself or himself and their children or -- worse still -- about to do something which might lead to self-destruction, G-d forbid, no one would consider it "interference" or "encroachment" to try and prevent that person from harming himself. Similarly, when there is an opportunity to help someone with a lasting benefit, it is surely an elementary duty to do so -- especially where the benefit is a truly everlasting one.

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
(date unavailable))


In response to your letter of . . .,

At this auspicious time, I will mention all of you at the holy resting place of my saintly father-in-law, each regarding his individual needs.

You should check your tefillin and the mezuzot in your home to ascertain that they are all kosher, according to the law.

Regarding what you wrote about your wife, that since the birth of your first child you have not yet been blessed with more children:

On the whole one must be steadfast in one's faith in G-d, the Creator of the world, who is the essence of good, that He will fulfill your heart's desire for healthy children.

Nevertheless, the proper thing to do is to increase one's care in the observance of the laws of Family Purity and modesty, though I hope that the basics are being adhered to -- in a matter of grave importance the performance of the mitzvah should be with utmost precision, according to the directives of our holy Torah (a Torah of life) -- and to have unwavering faith in the Giver of the Torah and the commandments, that He will fulfill the desires of your heart in the near future.

About your difficulty in earning a livelihood, the teaching of our holy Torah is well known . . . to increase in the giving of charity frequently, particularly at the propitious times, namely every weekday after prayers in the morning.

In general you should perceive these two matters as a test, in the manner of the verse, "For G-d your G-d tests you to know if you love Him."

When it is seen Above, that one is strong in one's faith in G-d, and one rises in the general observance of Torah and mitzvot, especially in the above-mentioned, the test is nullified and there is an increase in blessing, salvation and success.

With blessings for good tidings in all of the above.

P.S. Certainly you make a practice of saying the three daily portions of Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya, as we have heard many times from my father-in-law that they are uniform for all people and auspicious for many things.

(Free Translation of a Letter from the Rebbe
Dated 8 Iyar, 5718 [1958])


I was pleased to receive your letter of the 15th of Shevat, in which you write about the successful initial meeting on Taharat Hamishpacha, and the fruitful beginnings.

It is, of course, unnecessary to emphasize to you the paramount importance of this cause. Nor do I think that it would require a great deal of persuasion to convince the other participants in the meeting of the vital importance of Taharat Hamishpacha.

Suffice it to say that even where a person may not be so meticulous insofar as he or she is concerned, yet there is no limit to the love and devotion of parents to their children, their readiness to spare no sacrifice for their benefit.

Even if the observance of the laws and regulations of Taharat Hamishpacha entailed a certain effort or even sacrifice on the part of the parents, surely it would be done eagerly, knowing that in addition to the essential thing of the need of observing G-d's commands for their own sake, these observances have a direct influence on children, and through them on grandchildren and so on. Of what account, therefore, is a temporary inconvenience or effort by comparison to the everlasting benefit in terms of good health, physical and spiritual, and true Nachas, etc. All the more so since the inconvenience or effort are smaller than imagined.

May G-d grant that this vital activity of Taharat Hamishpacha in your community should grow and expand, bringing even more and more members and participants, and may the observance of this essential law and regulation stimulate also the general observance of the Torah and Mitzvot, where there is always room for improvement.

With blessing,

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
Dated 16 Adar I, 5725 [1965])


I was pleased to receive the report about your activities, and may G-d grant that they should continue and expand with much hatzlacha [success].

In the present days, having concluded the Three Weeks, which are connected with the sad events of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash [Holy Temple], and having entered the period of the Seven Weeks of Consolation, which bring us the good tidings of the forthcoming Geulah [Redemption] and restoration of the Beit HaMikdash -- every action which is connected with the strengthening of Yiddishkeit in general, and with the special Mitzvah Campaigns -- notably those most pertinent to Jewish women: candle-lighting, kashrut and Taharat Hamishpacha -- in particular, is especially significant.

For, as mentioned in the well known prayer Umipnei chatoeinu ["Because of our sins"], the only cause of the sad events in the past, the Destruction and Exile, was the neglect of Torah and mitzvot.

Therefore, through rectifying and removing the cause, the effect will also be removed.

This is why every activity to spread Yiddishkeit is so vital, especially the efforts to provide the right influence and proper chinuch [Jewish education] for Jewish daughters, since this is the way to raise generation after generation of fully committed Torah-true Jewish families, in an endless chain reaction.

I send my prayerful wishes to each and all participants in these endeavors, which are at the same time a wide channel to receive G-d's blessings also in all personal needs.

May G-d grant that you should have good news to report in all above,

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
15 Menachem Av, 5735 [1975])


In answer to your letter in which you outline the events of your life from the time of your marriage until today, the impressions of this and your desire, etc.

After carefully reading your letter, my opinion is that in spite of all the undesirable happenings, there is absolutely no basis to disrupt a Jewish home, which according to the marriage blessings is an eternal edifice, and especially since these occurrences were experienced at a time of moving from place to place, not only in the physical sense but also in the spiritual one.

Since moving into the state of married life and from country to country are major transitions -- and primarily taking into account the greatness of peace, particularly peace in the home, about which G-d says, "It is better that My name be erased, so as to achieve peace between man and wife" -- it is imperative that you lay open your grievances before a rabbi (understandably in the presence of your husband), so that the Rabbi will hear both sides, a fundamental condition for elucidating the truth. And certainly you will find the means to rectify and improve the relationship, understanding that you both wish for this -- this wish being a sacred obligation, as our Sages point out in various places, and as we say every morning that this is "from those things whose fruit we eat in this world and whose benefit we derive in the next."

I hope that you will think into these lines, though they are few in number, with an introspection that befits the seriousness and importance of this matter, and may G-d grant you success.

With blessings for good tidings in all of the above.

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
Dated 22 Adar I, 5719 [1959])


. . . It is certainly unnecessary to emphasize that the more one devotes oneself to matters of Torah and mitzvot, the more blessings are bestowed by G-d upon all involved, and the more one is provided with one's needs.

Although it is uncomfortable to write what follows, I consider it my duty to speak up and not to avoid the issue.

In many cases, the situation you have described is the result of their parents not having properly observed the laws of Family Purity at the moment of conception.

If, G-d forbid, this is true concerning the matter of which you wrote, it is self-understood that when one wants to change the outcome, one must first set to right the underlying cause.

Although at first glance this may seem to be something which has already happened and exists in the past, our holy Torah offers advice, teaching that "nothing stands in the face of repentance."

The repentance must obviously be great, "a double repentance," involving both parents' firm principles of Torah regarding Family Purity, and also to do the same, as the Midrash stated, "You have saved a soul, etc."

For G-d Al-mighty will ensure that through their efforts, many Jewish children will be spared by virtue of their parents' observance of Family Purity, which, in turn, will cure their own child. May G-d Al-mighty help you find the appropriate words to convey this, words that emanate from the heart, to bring about the desired effect.

With blessings, and awaiting good tidings,

P.S. I am taking this opportunity to encourage you to undertake the learning of the three daily portions of Chumash, Psalms and Tanya, for, as the Previous Rebbe said on many occasions, this applies equally to every Jew and is a remedy for many matters.

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
Dated 5 Shevat, 5718 [1958])


. . . Everything is by Hashgocho Protis [Divine Providence], and it is significant that this reply is written on Rosh Chodesh Elul, a time of special opportunity for every Jew, as you know. I only mention it in compliance with the suggestion of our Sages, "He who has 100, desires 200; and having attained 200, desires 400." In other words, your accomplishments in the past should be a constant source of stimulation for greater achievements in the future, particularly as this is for the benefit of the many. Moreover, in the area of Chinuch [Jewish education] every effort is eventually greatly rewarded and multiplied in the form of a chain reaction. And the Zechus Horabim [merit of the multitude] also helps. May G-d grant that you should do this in peace of mind and happy circumstances.

I take this opportunity also to express my appreciation of the help which you have shown to our workers in... No doubt here too, you will continue your good efforts in an ever-growing measure.

In this context, I would also like to mention a point to which I had occasion to call attention last night, in connection with Rosh Chodesh Elul, a most propitious time . . .

I refer particularly to the campaign which has been urged recently to strengthen Taharat Hamishpacha. I pointed out that a special effort should be made in reference to women who have reached the age of . . . the so-called "change of life." It should be explained to them that by proper preparation and going to the Mikvah this one time and undergoing tevila [immersion] in the proper manner, it would purify them for the rest of their lives. In view of this, surely the effort involved (even if this be an effort) is infinitesimal by comparison to the results which can be achieved. It would be easily accepted in many, if not most, cases.

In addition to the merit of this thing in itself, it would also have the effect of "one Mitzvah bringing another Mitzvah in its train," namely, having done this themselves, these women could be enlisted to use their influence with younger women to spread the idea of Taharat Hamishpacha. All the more so that it often happens that mothers and grandmothers who have become observant of the Mitzvot in many areas, and would like to influence their daughters and granddaughters in the area of Taharat Hamishpacha, hesitate to do so in case they are asked, When is it that you went to the Mikvah the last time?

May G-d grant that you should have good news to report in all above.

With esteem and blessing for a Kesivo veChasimo Tovo . . .

(From a Letter of the Rebbe
Dated Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5735 [1975])


What is a mikvah? Why is it so central to living Jewishly?

To answer these questions, we share excerpts from "Total Immersion: A Mikvah Anthology," edited and with an introduction by Rikvah Slonim (published by Jason Aronson Inc. and reprinted with permission of Mrs. Slonim).


The world's natural bodies of water -- its oceans, rivers, wells, and spring-fed lakes -- are mikvahs in their most primal form. They contain waters of divine source and thus, tradition teaches, the power to purify. Created even before the earth took shape, these bodies of water offer a quintessential route to consecration. But they pose difficulties as well. These waters may be inaccessible or dangerous, not to mention the problems of inclement weather and lack of privacy. Jewish life therefore necessitates the construction of mikvahs -- mikvah pools, and indeed this has been done by Jews in every age and circumstance.

To the uninitiated, a modern-day mikvah looks like a miniature swimming pool. In a religion rich with detail, beauty, and ornamentation -- against the backdrop of the ancient Temple or even modern-day synagogues -- the mikvah is surprisingly nondescript, a humble structure.

Its ordinary appearance, however, belies its primary place in Jewish life and law. The mikvah offers the individual, the community, and the nation of Israel the remarkable gift of purity and holiness. No other religious establishment, structure, or rite can affect the Jew in this way and, indeed, on such an essential level. Its extraordinary power, however, is contingent on its construction in accordance with the numerous and complex specification as outlined in Halachah -- Jewish Law.

Immersion in the mikvah has offered a gateway to purity ever since the creation of man. The Midrash relates that after being banished from Eden, Adam sat in a river that flowed from the garden. This was an integral part of his teshuvah -- repentance -- process, of his attempt at return to his original perfection.

Before the revelation at Sinai, all Jews were commanded to immerse themselves in preparation for coming face to face with G-d.

In the desert, the famed "well of Miriam" served as a mikvah. And Aaron and his sons' induction into the priesthood was marked by immersion in the mikvah.

In Temple times, the priests as well as each Jew who wished entry into the House of G-d had first to immerse in a mikvah.

On Yom Kippur, the holiest of all days, the High Priest was allowed entrance into the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of the Temple, into which no other mortal could enter. This was the zenith of a day that involved an ascending order of services, each of which was preceded by immersion in the mikvah.

The primary uses of Mikvah today are delineated in Jewish Law and date back to the dawn of Jewish history. They cover many elements of Jewish life. Mikvah is an integral part of conversion to Judaism. Mikvah is used, though less widely known, for the immersion of new pots, dishes and utensils. The Mivkah concept is also the focal point of the Taharah -- the purification rite of a Jew before the person is laid to rest and the soul ascends on high. The manual pouring of water -- in a highly specific manner -- over the entire body of the deceased serves this purpose. Mikvah is also used by men on various occasions; with the exception of conversion, they are all customary. The most widely practiced are immersion by a groom on his wedding day and by every man before Yom Kippur. Many chasidic men use the mikvah before each Shabbat and holiday, some even making use of mivkah each day before morning prayer (in cities with large populations of observant Jews, special mikvahs for men facilitate these customs). But the most important and general usage of mikvah is for purification by the menstruant woman. For the menstruant woman, immersion in a mikvah is part of a larger framework best known as Taharat Hamishpacha --Family Purity.

Most Jews see the synagogue as the central institution in Jewish life. But Jewish Law states that constructing a mikvah takes precedence even over building a house of worship. Both a synagogue and a Torah Scroll, Judaism's most venerated treasure, may be sold to raise funds for the building of a mivkah. In fact, in the eyes of Jewish Law, a group of Jewish families living together do not attain the status of a community if they do not have a communal mikvah.

This is so for a simple reason: private and even communal prayer can be held in virtually any location, and venues for the social functions of the synagogue can be found elsewhere. But Jewish married life and therefore the birth of future generations in accordance with Halachah, is possible only where there is accessibility to a mikvah. It is no exaggeration to state that the mivkah is the touchstone of Jewish life and the portal to a Jewish future.


"What do you want most for your wedding day," Chaya Sara Zarchi, coordinator of the Campaign for Taharat Hamishpacha remembers asking the young woman sitting in front of her. "I want my mother (who was no longer alive) to be at my wedding." "Jewish tradition teaches," explained Chaya Sara, "that three generations back of ancestors are at one's wedding. You mother will surely be there. But if you go to the mikvah you will make your mother, and all of your ancesters, especially happy.

"'But will I be able to see my mother?" the woman asked. "I don't know if you'll be able to see her," answered Chaya Sara, "but she will be there, and she will be happy." The young woman learned the laws regarding immersing in a mikvah and went before her wedding day. "She told the mikvah attendant," concludes Chaya Sara, "that she felt her mother was there with her."


by Rebbetzin Frida Sossonkin O.B.M.

In the summer of 5712 [1952], the Russian government suddenly closed and sealed the mikvah in Tashkent that was located in the backyard of the shul. Several weeks later I heard that there was a mikvah available. I asked my friend about the rumor and she told me that when I would need it she would go with me.

The night that I had to go to the mikvah I prepared myself and off we went. Soon we came to the backyard of the shul. My friend called the woman who used to work in the mikvah who lived in the same courtyard. She went to the side of the old mikvah, lifted a cover on the ground, and uncovered a well. (A mikvah is kosher only when the water is connected with a "living" source of water). Since Tashkent is in the mountains where it seldom rains, they had to dig very deep to make the well.

It was summertime and the Rabbis said we could use this well as a temporary mikvah until they could find a secret place to build a permanent one. They put a table on the bottom of the well, and connected two long ladders and put them on the table in the well. The temporary mikvah was ready.

When I stepped down, the cold air of the well hit me. As my toes touched the water I automatically pulled out my foot because the water was as cold as ice. I cupped some water in my hands and wet my feet with the cold water. I tried again to put my foot in the water, but it was impossible. I decided to give up, to leave the well without immersing myself. I knew that it was not proper, but I would wait until a proper mikvah was built.

At that moment I heard two other women entering the yard to use the mikvah. From their talking I recognized the voice of my friend Zlata. I realized that if they saw me coming out of the mikvah without having immersed they would go straight home. I now felt three times the responsibility I had felt before these women came. I decided to immerse in this mikvah no matter what.

I had once heard that when one of the great Sages studied Torah, he would bite his fingers in deep concentration until blood would come, but because he was so involved in his studies, he didn't feel the pain and he didn't see the blood. I knew that if I could completely distract my attention and concentrate on something else, I would not feel the cold and I would be able to immerse my entire body in the ice cold water.

And so, I began to think about one day in my life -- 21 Shevat, 5711 [1951]. My husband, Reb Asher (of blessed memory) had been arrested by the KGB nine months before. The KGB ran a powerful and cruel regime and this was its most bitter year. They arrested thousands of innocent people, especially Lubavitcher Chasidim.

During the first month, I was able to bring kosher food for him three times (once every ten days). When I came the fourth time with the food, I was told that he had been sent away to another city for interrogation. Where? They "didn't know" . . .

The next day I received a note to come to the interrogator on Friday. I went. Finally in the afternoon they brought me to the interrogator who interrogated me for four hours. And then, he allowed me to leave! I was able to come home and light my Shabbat candles on time. The next Friday they interrogated me again. During that year they arrested many Chasidim and I was very worried about what would happen to my children. Every time I went out of my house I knew that a KGB agent was following me. I could not meet, or talk to my friends. I could only talk to G-d.

Eight months passed and I still didn't know the whereabouts of my husband. I didn't know if he was still alive. Nine months after my husband was arrested, on 21 Shevat, 5711 [1951], I lost my two children in a fire.

Standing on the steps of the ladder, down in the well, deeply engrossed in the events and emotions of that day, I no longer "felt my body" and I jumped into the water. I didn't feel the cold. I knew how to swim, and I wanted to swim out of the water to the surface of the well, but I couldn't because there wasn't any air in my lungs, and I couldn't breathe. I begged G-d to help me and to save my life for the sake of my husband and our third (now only) child (my husband came home in 5716 [1956] and in 5717 [1957] our son, until 120, was born). I suddenly found myself on the surface of the water.

I finished immersing and came out of the well. I touched my body and it was ice cold. Only slowly did my blood begin to circulate. When I came out, Zlata went down into the well. I stopped to listen. Suddenly, a cry came out from the well: "It's too cold. I can't take it. I'm going out." Then she began to weep, and so did I, and still weeping, she immersed herself. She came out and said that she would never come to this mikvah again. The other young woman went quietly into the mikvah, immersed herself quietly and came out.

I was proud and relieved. After that night Zlata permitted the Rabbis to build a mikvah in her yard, and with G-d's help, we also built a mikvah in our kitchen. The building of our mikvah took place with much self-sacrifice and many miracles.

Even though the communists (may their names and memories be erased) closed the only mikvah in Tashkent, with G-d's help and with the self-sacrifice of many Jews, we kept the mitzvah of family purity and we were able to build two secret mikvahs.

In 5724 [1964], thank G-d, we miraculously came out of Russia. We left our home to a Lubavitcher family. They promised us they would take care of the mikvah and the mikvah remained open for women.

In 5727 [1967] there were two earthquakes in Tashkent. All the buildings around our home collapsed. But our house with the mikvah remained standing.

(Reprinted from the N'Shei Chabad Newsletter)


The following story appeared in the newspaper, Dos Yiddishe Vort, in the 1960s and took place sometime during the mid 1930s.


Dorothy Schiff, the publisher of the Washington Post and later the New York Post, was a very wealthy and influential Jewish woman. Amongst Mrs. Schiff's friends was Dr. Jacob Smithline, a heart and lung specialist, who was in close contact with the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn. In fact, there are numerous letters from the Previous Rebbe to Dr. Smithline in the volumes of published letters of the Previous Rebbe.

In one of these letters to Dr. Smithline, the Previous Rebbe had asked the doctor to do his utmost to spread the message of Taharat Hamishpacha -- the laws of family purity.

Dr. Smithline undertook this mission from the Previous Rebbe and at every opportunity wrote about and spoke publicly about the subject. He also published booklets in English detailing the laws of this mitzvah and sent many copies to the Previous Rebbe in Riga, at the Rebbe's request. Whenever Dr. Smithline spoke to groups of women about women's medical issues he always "smuggled" in the subject of Taharat Hamishpacha.

At one point, Dr. Smithline asked Dorothy Schiff if she would be willing to host a group of her friends in her home -- all of whom were wealthy and influential women, mostly Jewish -- so that he could speak to them about "women's issues." Mrs. Schiff agreed and Dr. Smithline was the guest speaker.

Dr. Smithline began the evening with a discussion on the medical advances that had taken place relating to women's issues and then spoke about Taharat Hamishpacha. The doctor opened the floor to questions and a lively discussion ensued.

A few minutes passed and Mrs. Schiff asked the doctor and guests if they wouldn't mind following her into a different part of the house, for she had something to show everyone.

Mrs. Schiff took the guests through her house to a lower level. She stopped in front of a beautiful wooden door. When Mrs. Schiff opened the door, Dr. Smithline gasped. To everyone's great amazement, beyond that door was a kosher mikvah (a mikvah is a specially constructed pool of water integral to keeping the laws of Taharat Hamishpacha).

Mrs. Schiff began to tell everyone the following story about how she came to have her own private mikvah in her home. Her father, Jacob Schiff, was a pillar of the American Jewish community. Mr. Schiff tirelessly helped the Jews in Russia, especially during World War I. Throughout his life, Mr. Schiff did everything he could to uphold Judaism in America though not a "strictly Orthodox" Jew himself. The climate being what it was during his lifetime, Mr. Schiff never envisioned that the observance of Torah and mitzvot would actually flourish. He saw only the decline, G-d forbid, of Judaism here.

Mr. Schiff wanted very much that his children would remain involved with and committed to Judaism. Thus, he encouraged his three daughters to keep the mitzvah of Taharat Hamishpacha. To this end, he helped each one of them build her own, private mikvah in her home.

This, Dorothy Schiff concluded, was how she had this beautiful mikvah in her home and observed the laws of Taharat Hamishpacha.


by Yehudis Cohen

"For seven years after we were married we weren't able to have children," begins Yocheved Daphna. There were no known medical causes, nor were there suggestions from the doctors she and her husband, Yehuda, had consulted.

Yocheved met someone who was close to Chabad who kept encouraging Yocheved to go to the Rebbe for a blessing. "I grew up in a 'Modern Orthodox' family and the whole concept of a Rebbe was foreign to us. But this person was persistent and I finally agreed. 'What could it hurt,' I figured."

Together with Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson of Tzivos Hashem, and the friend who had spoken to them about the Rebbe, the Daphnas came during "Sunday dollars," when the Rebbe was distributing dollars for tzeddakah (charity). Yocheved recounts, "The Rebbe gave our friend three dollars and a blessing that he and his wife should have children. The Rebbe then gave my husband dollars for tzeddakah and said, 'You should give these dollars when your wife becomes pregnant.' The Rebbe told me to relearn the laws of Taharat Hamishpacha."

Six months passed and Yocheved had not become pregnant. During that time she had been hit by a bicycle while crossing the street, winding up with a broken knee, broken teeth and time in a wheelchair. "Rabbi Benjaminson told me that we should go back to the Rebbe again. But beforehand we should have our mezuzot checked. We followed his advice and found that nine out of our ten mezuzot were not kosher."

Another four months passed and the Daphnas decided it was time to go to the Rebbe once again. On the Sunday, a week before they went to the Rebbe, Yocheved's parents went. "My younger brother's wife was pregnant with what was to be my parents' first grandchild. My mother had planned on asking the Rebbe for a blessing that everything should go well for my sister-in-law. On the spot, however, she got 'confused' and asked for a blessing that her daughter should have children. The Rebbe gave my mother three dollars.

"The following Sunday we went to the Rebbe," continues Yocheved. "Just days before we had attended the bris of our friends' triplets, the friend who had brought us to the Rebbe ten months earlier. I asked the Rebbe again for a blessing for children and the Rebbe told me, 'The Holy One Blessed is He is going to give you good news.' The Rebbe gave me three dollars. My husband had been unemployed for a year. He asked the Rebbe for a blessing for parnasa -- livelihood. 'You will have truly good parnasa very soon,' the Rebbe told him. The Rebbe gave Yehuda three dollars."

Yehuda was involved in a deal to open a chain of frozen yogurt stores in Israel. He already had a 200-page agreement with the company. Yehuda decided to ask the Rebbe if his parnasa should be based in America or in Israel. The Rebbe told him, "You are here and you have to search for parnasa in the country you are in."

When they left the Rebbe, Yehuda told Yocheved, "But the business in Israel is a sure thing!"

Yocheved told him, "You can't believe that the Rebbe's blessing for children is true but what he has to say about your business deal isn't true!"

Before leaving Crown Heights the Daphnas purchased a book on Taharat Hamishpacha, to review the laws as the Rebbe had advised to Yocheved ten months earlier. "That month I became pregnant with triplets," says Yocheved.

When Yocheved was in her fourth month their house burned down. It was five days before Passover. They moved into Yocheved's parents' home.

A month later, the doctor noticed in a sonogram that there was a hole in the heart of one of the triplets. "We wrote in to the Rebbe and the Rebbe's response was not to do any tests. We weren't such Chasidim then," Yocheved laughs, "so we did tests but only non-invasive ones. When the test was over, the specialist said there was no hole."

The Daphna triplets were born on 5 Elul, 5752 [1992], eight months after Yocheved became pregnant, 9 months to the day that the Daphnas had been to the Rebbe the second time. Their two sons had their bris on time, on the eight day.

"My husband was all the while looking for a business to invest in. The triplets were getting bigger. It was just over a year since our fire. We were paying a mortgage on a house that was uninhabitable. My husband was ready to close on a deal to buy a kosher pizza shop in a popular area and wrote to the Rebbe for a blessing. The Rebbe's secretary called us to say that the Rebbe's response had been, 'with mazal and blessing.'

"On our anniversary, which is 11 Nissan, we were working out the final details until 4:00 a.m. Then, all of a sudden, in the morning, the owners of the pizza shop called to say that they had decided not to sell. We were crushed," recalls Yocheved.

But, with a blessing from the Rebbe of "You will have truly good parnasa very soon," bigger things were in store for the Daphnas. Just hours later, Yehuda got a phone call from someone with whom he had incorporated a private security business 2 years previously, though they had never done anything with it.

"We got a contract at a major airport. We need people, uniforms, equipment, within 6 to 8 weeks," his partner told him. Yehuda, whose 20 years of experience in Israeli intelligence had been the impetus for opening a security business, points out that the way the Rebbe had expressed the blessing for parnasa 2-1/2 years before had been unusual.

The Rebbe had told Yehuda to "search" for (rather than "find") parnasa. And that is what Yehuda's successful business, thank G-d, is today: "Searching" for security's sake.


by Jeanette Anne Cohen

August 1998 -- that meant Maurice and I would be married for forty years. Forty years of love, life and laughter, four wonderful children, three wonderful grandchildren and one on the way. No reason to be discontented.

But there was something that bothered me, especially since my daughters had become Lubavitchers. Maurice and I had been married in a Reform temple. I wanted to be remarried in a religious ceremony and have a kosher ketubah -- marriage contract. I wanted to be married under the stars, under a tallit -- prayer shawl -- with Rabbi Wineberg (the local Lubavitch Rabbi in Johannesburg, South Africa) officiating.

Sounds simple enough. First hurdle, Maurice. When I blurted out what I wanted, he looked at me as if I needed to be certified. He doubled over with laughter while protesting that we were already married. I was so overwrought I burst into tears (not my usual style). That brought the laughter to a halt. When Maurice saw how serious I was he asked if I was "proposing" to him. I nodded, still sniffling. "Jeanie," he pleaded, "Don't cry, I accept, I'll marry you!"

So that's how it all happened. I thought that "getting married" again just meant the chupa -- wedding canopy -- and a party. But Rabbi Wineberg and my daughter Neria had other plans. Mikvah! I balked!! I told Neria not to push me -- I'd think about it. The idea didn't excite me in the least. In fact, I felt quite aggressive about it.

I know many will laugh and even sneer at what I am about to write, but on numerous occasions in my life on really important and even not so important matters, I hear the Rebbe's voice. It happens in the early hours of the morning (I go to sleep very late). He repeats his message. This time, the words were plain and simple: Mikvah-Mikvah-Mikvah. The dye was cast!!

Phone calls were made and on the appointed Sunday, I, a sixty-year-old "kalla" -- bride, found myself entering an absolutely beautiful mikvah in a nearby suburb. I was attended by an extremely kind and gentle lady; she made me feel like a young bride as she guided me through all the preparations. The prayer she gave me to say was so beautiful I wanted to read it over and over again.

Now for the "big guns" -- the immersion. The pool-room had a certain holiness about it, something not quite tangible. I found myself feeling really excited and nearly fell in!! What followed was quite wonderful though it had its moments of humor. I'm quite slim and lightweight and kept bobbing around and knocking into the sides. Eventually, I got into the rhythm and managed to touch the bottom.

I left the mikvah building after about an hour, my face void of its usual make-up, my hair just hanging. Never in my entire life had I felt more beautiful, more spiritual and more worthwhile.

I walked back to my car but my feet didn't touch the ground. I heard the birds twittering in the trees, yet I felt as if my entire body was in a vacuum. I sat in my car for about half an hour reliving the past hour. I was filled with the urge to be better. Inwardly I felt so peaceful yet excited. I said a private "thank-you" to the people who had urged me to "do" mikvah -- particularly to my daughter, Neria, whose quiet insistence could straighten the tower of Pisa or even cause the Rock of Gibraltar to tremble!!

That afternoon, a bewildered Maurice found himself whisked off to the men's mikvah by his son-in-law. Golf in the morning, mikvah in the afternoon and getting married at night. That's what is called living in the fast lane.

This time the tears were tears of joy. At sunset in the Torah Academy courtyard, under a tallit, with Rabbi Wineberg officiating, surrounded by close friends and relatives, attended by my beautiful daughters and baby grandson, a sixty-year-old kalla circled the love of her life. No bride half my age could have felt younger or more joyous. Maurice broke the glass with all the vigor of forty years ago. Mazal Tov! Mazal Tov!

The local kosher restaurant did us proud. The tables groaned with delicious food, beautiful flowers and the wine and Black Label flowed freely. What a simchah! What a wedding! To health! To Life! LeChaim!

(Reprinted from the N'Shei Chabad Newsletter)


Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat Candles

For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
or: http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/shabbos

For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.

For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).

Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ

Friday, April 27, Erev Shabbat Parshat Tazria-Metzora:

  • Light Shabbat Candles,(1) by 7:28 p.m.
  • After nightfall, after reciting the Shabbat evening prayer, count Omer 20.(2)

Saturday, April 28, Shabbat Parshat Tazria-Metzora:

  • On Shabbat following the afternoon prayer, we read Chapter 2 of Pirkei Avot--Ethics of the Fathers.
  • Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 8:33 p.m.
  • After nightfall, after reciting the evening prayer, count Omer 21.


1. The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.

2. For this year's S'firat Ha'omer Calendar - See our publication: "Your S'firat Ha'omer Guide," 5761

Laws of Shabbat Candle Lighting for the Blind

Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing

"Let There Be Light" - The Jewish Women's Guide to Lighting Shabbat Candles.

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