10 CROWN HEIGHTS NEWSpapER ~July 25, 2008 Tznius New Kollel Wives Shura Rishona Formed in Crown Heights. By mrs. m. Resnick Baruch Hashem the response was overwhelming! i am always encouraged and heartened by the positive response i receive when i address young women about the insidious penetration of secular culture into all areas of our lives - behavior, speech, and mode of thought. But last week when i met with thirty young kollel wives in Crown Heights on the same subject, the response bordered on the miraculous. it was as if Hashem opened the hearts of all those attending and made them willing keillim for His mission – “vatem tihyu li mamleches kohanim” For at the end of the session those beautiful new wives committed to form a vanguard (shura rishona) which will meet biweekly, in weight watchers-like supportive fashion, to give each other encouragement, sharing achievements and difficulties with the aim of achieving a viable positive impact on our beloved community. Tzinius is a touchy topic among some, so rather than discussing the halachos, i tried to step back and re-examine the fundamentals of a Jewish look. in the not too distant past, men and women took their fashion cues from the aristocratic class, trying to emulate the upper echelon. But today, people attempt to dress downward emulating lumberjacks and janitorial staff by sporting a disheveled look, shirts hanging out, unkempt hair styles, etc. The Rebbe points out that the term for why the righteous women merited to be the catalysts of the redemption was because of the “ lo shinu’ aspect of their existence. They did not substitute their yiddishe look (name nor language) for an egyptian look even though that look may very well have conformed to the Halachic laws of modesty. Nowadays, some women wear snoods outdoors, others dress casually on Shabbos, still others sit in an inappropriate fashion. They all cite comfort to explain their behavior. when did comfort replace the will of Hashem? The aristocratic lady who rode side saddle on a horse did not enjoy as much comfort as the man who rode the horse normally. But even Goyishe women understood that propriety trumped comfort. One wife at the meeting recalled a real life test she faced recently. after a full year of teaching her pupils not to wear T-shirts emblazoned with logos and trademarks (“walking billboards”) in public, she found herself debating whether she should walk the two blocks from her ride to her home wearing the Gan israel T-shirt she had to wear in camp as a madricha. Changing for a two block walk wasn’t easy for her, but “what if i were to meet one of my pupils on the way home, that same pupil that i spent an entire year dissuading from wearing T-shirts with the ‘GaP’ & ‘Old Navy’ logos”, she wondered. So she changed and she triumphed ( Score:1 for her - 0 for the yetzer Hara.). Raising children was also a topic. many mothers have absorbed the latest psychological fad of offering children The Importance of Tznius During the Summer Likkutei Sichos Vol. 13 page 83 Free Translation The hora’a (practical instruction) from this is that a person should not say that in a major and fundamental aspect of tznius - such as the fact that “each tribe dwelled on their own and they were not mixed” - they will be careful. However, in the small and lighter details it is not important to be so exacting. For he should know that even this detail is fundamental, and it has the ability to transform every negative thing from one extreme to another. However, there is still room for the yeitzer hora’s persuasion: “when does this apply? Concerning one’s permanent conduct. However, when we are talking about temporary conduct, it is not obligatory to be so exacting in tznius – to treat the lighter details like the serious ones.” also to this (rationale) comes the hora’a: “He (Bilam) saw the openings of their tents--that they were not aligned facing one another.” even when they were in tents, “the tents of yaakov”, even in a temporary dwelling, this level of tznius and carefulness applies. On the other hand, when we are careful in this matter and the conduct is in a way of “how goodly are your tents yaakov, your camps yisrael,” then “Hashem you G-d will overturn for you (the curse into blessing)...” and as Rashi comments on the earlier verse: “it was in his heart (to curse them)... and when Hashem changed over his mouth, he blessed them etc.” until the promise of the complete goodly mishkan - that Hashem will return His security (mashkon) - the Beis Hamikdosh. Since a security connotes that even during the time of the churban it still exists - and when the atonement is complete, it will descend and be revealed, eternally. Footnote 34: Now is the opportunity to stress a timely matter: those who are “lenient” in certain aspects of tznius in the summer, especially when they are in a temporary dwelling outside of the city. and there are those who say echta ve’ashuv - i will sin and then return (repent) – when i return to the city. This applies to the conduct of men as well, and especially to women, since each one of them is called akeres Habayis. we could speak at length, but now is not the time. choices in every aspect of their lives, believing that to be the road to raising independent adults. But doesn’t this kind of training undermine the idea of kabbolas Ol, the basis of all of yiddishkeit? isn’t it the parents’ job to train their children for a life of avodas Hashem? with the purpose of lo nivreiti ela leshamesh es koni? when the Rebbe founded “Tzivos Hashem”, some questioned the militaristic nature of the organization. The Rebbe replied as follows: “The most important aspect, in my opinion, in this day and age, is the lack of kabolas Ol, not only of Ol malchus Shomayiim but also of general non-submission to authority including the authority of parents at home, teachers in school and the authority of law and order in the street. “american children have been brought up on the spirit of independence and freedom and on the glorification of personal prowess and smartness. it has cultivated a sense of cockishness and self-assurance to the extent that one who is bent on mischief or anti-social activity feels they can outsmart a cop on the beat and even a judge on the bench. “i came to the conclusion that that there was no other way to effect a basic change than through a system of discipline and obedience to rules which he/she can get accustomed to.” another example of the mainstream culture affecting our behavior in the workplace is the new, seemingly democratic policy of addressing each other by first name, no matter if the person is of the opposite gender, is older, or is a rabbi or rebbetzin. most of the women readily acknowledged this problem. One even recounted how she felt uncomfortable when she first encountered such a work environment. However, she sadly admitted that she very quickly got accustomed to this disrespectful behavior. another issue raised was the excessive socializing among young couples, and the consensus was that familiarity in certain circumstances is simply not the Jewish way. i quoted extensively from Rabbi Glukowsky’s inspiring, timely address to their husbands – the kollel yungeleight (highlights were published in issue # …of this publication), and they were all anxious to get audio copies of the entire talk. Go to the yagdil Torah website to listen to the shiur: http:// www.yagdiltorah.com/recordings/ recordings.htm. after several hours of enthusiastically sharing their experiences with me and one another, i am gratified to report that the women agreed that reclaiming our authentic yiddishe heritage is definitely the order of the day, and that the creation of a shura rishona will surely have a positive upward spiraling influence on the entire community. kollel wives, please join us in this groundbreaking effort to strengthen our families and our community. Our next meeting is scheduled for July 30. Please call mrs. C. Nemni @ (718) 809-0379 for details.
Gimmel Tammuz Conclusion The very next day, Thursday — Rosh Chodesh Tammuz — three officers entered the Rebbe’s cell. Prison protocol called for utmost respect on the part of the prisoners; when addressed by a guard or officer, inmates must stand at attention. The Rebbe refused to arise, and said so, in yiddish. One of the officers, a Jew, retorted, “ if you don’t stand, we will hit you!” The Rebbe replied softly, “Nu?” The guards hit the Rebbe, and left his cell. a short while later, lulov entered the cell with some prison officials. “Rebbe!” lulov said sarcastically, “why aren’t you standing? These men are here to give you good news!” Once again, the Rebbe refused and was struck once again. This procedure was repeated a third time, with the Rebbe still declining to stand for the jail guards. Finally, they ordered the Rebbe to follow them to the office, where he was shown his verdict. There were three sentences on the official document, the first two crossed out. The first one, was the death sen tence: “Death by a firing squad”. Next to it, the word, Nyet — No. The second sentence, also with a line running through it, was: “Ten years in Slovaki”, followed by another “Nyet”. The third sentence, left unedited, read, “Three years in kostroma.” This, then was to be the Rebbe’s punishment: a relatively mild exile, not too far from civilization. inwardly, the Rebbe rejoiced and thanked Hashem with his whole heart. He had escaped immediate death by bullet; then the terrible exile in Slovaki — a double miracle! lulov’s harsh voice broke through the Rebbe’s thoughts: “your situation in kostroma will be deplorable. a lot of hard work, and much pain is awaiting you. However, if you retract your statement concerning the leningrad Jewish communal conference, i will arrange your immediate freedom.” For over an hour, lulov tried to convince, cajole and threaten the Rebbe, to make him change his mind. But the Rebbe remained firm. “i don’t regret what i did, and i won’t change my opposing opinion,” he replied stoically. “Threaten me, if you will, with Siberia; i won’t take back anything i said.” Both lulov and the head of the local G.P.u. were infuri ated and humiliated. How they longed to punish the Rebbe! But their hands were tied; the National chief director of the G.P.u., monshinsky, had already decided; he, not them would decide the Rebbe’s fate. The Rebbe had bested them, and they knew it. But they would have their sweet revenge; the Rebbe would have to leave jail the following day, on Friday, and arrive in kos troma on Shabbos. lulov was adamant about his decision. if the Rebbe chose not to travel on Friday, then he won’t be able to leave the prison at all — and lulov and his cohorts will have him retried. Once again, mrs. Peshkova used her considerable influ ence in moscow. at an emergency meeting with the Prime minister, she made her case. in her presence, Rykov called monshinsky, the head of the G.P.u., and told him to allow the Rebbe to travel on Sunday. Once again, lulov had lost — but he refused to give up completely. One last time, he tried to convince the Rebbe. “if you leave tomorrow, on Friday,” lulov told him, “you will be released immediately after your arrival there.” The Rebbe replied, “i don’t care if i have to remain in prison for an extremely long time because of this; i refuse to travel on Shabbos.” The Rebbe spent that Shabbos in jail. On Sunday, Gimmel Tammuz, at two o’clock in the afternoon, he was told that he could go home for a few hours, but he must catch the eight o’clock train to kostroma. The Rebbe made his way home. One could only imagine the happiness and relief of his family, when they saw him enter the door! after a joyous reunion with his family, the Rebbe went into his room to daven mincha. word of his arrival had spread like wildfire, and people streamed from all parts of the city to catch a glimpse of their Rebbe. Chassidim stood by the door of his study, and lis tened to the Rebbe daven, enraptured by his emotional and heartfelt Tefillos. The few hours that were allotted went by very fast, the hour turned seven and the Rebbe was preparing to leave. He was allowed to take along one family member and one Chossid. The Rebbe chose his second daughter the Rebbetzin Chaya mushka and the Chossid Reb eliyahu Chaim althaus. many Chassidim went to the train station to buy tickets, but none were for sale. The G.P.u. forbade it. The train will travel almost empty, as long as the Rebbe won’t be with his Chassidim. By The Train Station The Rebbe arrived under heavy guard of the secret police and the regular civil police. Standing on the station platform, the Rebbe turned to the crowd and unintimidated by the “authorities” the Rebbe addressed the crowd “we raise our lips in prayer to Hashem: ‘yehi Hashem elo kaynu imanu kaasher Haya im avosaynu al yaazvaynu v’al yitshainu’ — Hashem should be with us as he was with our fathers, He should not forsake us or abandon us. “Not only is this a prayer to Hashem not to forsake us but it is also a promise and blessing that Hashem will not forsake us, even when we are in exile. “let the nations of the world know and realize. we did not go into exile on our own will, nor will we return [to eretz yisroel] by vir tue of our own capabilities. Hashem our father and king sent us in exile and He will redeem us by sending us moshiach. However only our bodies were sent into exile and subjected to foreign rule. Our souls were not. “we are obligated to publicly proclaim before all, that on any matter affecting the Jewish religion, Torah, mitzvos and even its customs, no one can impose his beliefs on us nor coerce us to act contrary to our beliefs. “we resolutely state with the steadfastness of the Jewish nation: ‘Touch not my anointed nor attempt to do evil unto my prophets.’ “it is well known that the law [of the country] allows us to learn [and teach] Torah and perform mitzvos. it is only because of the efforts of false informers with totally untrue accusation that religious Jews are imprisoned and sent to labor camps. The actions of those ignorant and evil doers shall be completely nullified. “This is our plea to Hashem: Do not abandon us, rather give us the strength that we do not falter in face of this physical suffering. The more they afflict us, should bolster our fortitude of strengthening Judaism. “Remember, their punishments are in the physical realm of the world, which is temporary. while Torah, mitzvos and israel are eternal. “Shalom — may Hashem bring peace upon you. we shall merit the blessing, ‘Hashem shall be with us as He was with our ancestors to neither forsake nor abandon us.’ and there shall be light unto all Jewish people in their abodes in the spiritual and material senses.” Thus spoke the Frierdiker Rebbe in front of the dreaded officers on his way to exile the very same words he said by the Purim farbrengen that caused his arrest. Kostrama The traveling was non stop, for almost twenty four hours. late monday night the train arrived in kostrama. in defiance of their commands that he immediately report to the local authorities the Rebbe went to his lodgings in the house of the local Shochet. Tuesday morning the fifth of Tammuz, the Rebbe went to the local checka — secret police. The administrator received him in an extremely sullen and antagonistic manner. He declared, you are an exile prisoner receiving your punishment for your criminal activities against the good of the country. Not only can you not leave the city without special authori zation, you must inform us even if you are just changing your place of residence. July 25, 2008 ~ CROWN HEIGHTS NEWSpapER 11 you will be watched and we will be informed of all your activities, public and private. Finally, you are to present your self here every Tuesday. The rescue committee continued their efforts on behalf of the Frierdiker Rebbe, notwithstanding the advice that they were given to wait for a while, as it would be perceived as open defiance towards the G.P.u.. messing the head of the leningrad G.P.u. claimed it would give cause to anti-Se mitism, showing that only a Jewish leader is freed while other clergy are not. even if moscow orders the Rebbe’s free dom he would immediately rearrest the Rebbe. mrs. Peshkova continued her intensive endeavors on behalf of the Rebbe and was finally successful. according to the terms of his exile, the Frierdiker Rebbe had to check in at the local offices of the k.G.B. every Tuesday. On the following Tuesday which was yud Beis Tammuz, the Rebbe’s 47th birthday, the Rebbe accompanied by Reb eliyahu Chaim althaus returned to the office. Being that it was a local holi day, the station was quite empty and quiet. To the Rebbe’s surprise, he was warmly greeted by the local commander himself. The k.G.B. chief informed him, he had just received word to release the Rebbe from his exile. However, since it was a legal holiday, the paperwork would have to be done on the following day, on yud Gimmel Tam muz. when the Rebbe entered his home, he was greeted by his daughter, Rebbetzin Chaya mushka and the Chassid, Rav michoel Dvorkin, who spontaneously began singing: “Nyet, Nyet...” signifying that there was nothing besides Hashem. The Rebbe then said the maamar, “Hashem is with me among my helpers, and i will see [the downfall of] my enemies.” The following day after receiving the official papers of his release the Rebbe said the maamar “Blessed is the one who bestows beneficences upon the culpable, for he has bestowed goodness on me.” The Frierdiker Rebbe had noticed a subtle change in the local commander’s demeanor; once he received the order to free the Rebbe, he had become cordial. The Rebbe boarded the train to leningrad, hoping that in the big city, too, the k.G.B. and the yevsektzia will stop their harassment. Perhaps in leningrad, they may even admit that his outreach activi ties were legal! Leaving Russia The Frierdiker Rebbe arrived home on Friday, the 16th of Tammuz. The mood of the yevsektzia had indeed changed — but for the worse. The Jewish Communists were bitterly dis appointed that their carefully wrought scheme had failed, and their archenemy was once again free to continue his work. 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