COLlive presents 3 little known stories about Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, obm, renowned for her unparalleled humility and unique personality.
By Mrs. Henya Laine
R' Chesed Halberstam, who served as helper to the Rebbe and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, ate at our home one Shabbos.
I told him he has to pay for the meal by telling me stories of the
Rebbetzin that nobody heard.
Here is the story he told.
One Friday, the Rebbetzin tripped on the stairs and bruised her foot badly. The Doctor said that the best thing would be for her to stay off her foot.
The Rebbetzin asked Chesed not to burden the Rebbe with the news.
As soon as the Rebbetzin was comfortably resting in bed, Chesed ran to 770, knocked on the door of the Rebbe's room (he had permision to go in anytime) and told the Rebbe all that transpired, including the request of the Rebbetzin.
The Rebbe smiled and thanked him.
When the Rebbe came home Friday night, the Rebbetzin was sitting at the dining room table and apologized for not getting up, saying that because she was hungry, she had asked Chesed to make Kiddush for her.
The Rebbe played along and made Kiddush without comment. Then the Rebbetzin told the Rebbe she already washed for Hamotzi and ate a piece of Challa.
Again the Rebbe said nothing.
When the Rebbe arrived, Chesed had already had the fish on the table, so they both ate together. But then came the test. It was time for the soup, and the Rebbetzin always served the Rebbe. Since she could not walk, due to the pain, how could she serve it?
Before anyone could say anything, the Rebbe started to sing "Azamer Bishvochim," which is customary to sing at the Shabbos meal, in the Yom
Kippur niggun, and the Rebbe went into a devaikus.
While the Rebbe was singing, the Rebbetzin called to Chesed, who always sat in the kitchen while they were eating waiting for instructions, and told him to quickly bring the soup, chicken and dessert.
As soon as all the food was out on the table, the Rebbe finished the Niggun, and they both ate the Shabbos meal together.
After the Rebbetzin's passing, Mrs. Edith Block told the following story at her Friday night Oneg Shabbos.
Mrs. Edith Block and her husband, obm were in Florida at a hotel on vacation. Friday night at the meal, a Chasidishe women sitting at her table, said to her: "You look like a Lubavitcher, I am very sorry about the passing of Rebbetzin Schneerson. I have something to tell you about your Rebbetzin."
This is the story she told.
"We were Bobover Chasidim, and Holocaust survivors. We were all young and a group of us just couldn't have children. Since we were the only survivors of our large families, we went to the Bobover Rebbe for Brochos, but to no avail.
"One of the young women decided to go to the Lubaitcher Rebbe for a Brochah because she heard he was a 'Baal Mofais' - a holy individual who has brought about miracles from G-d. About 10 of us women decided to join her.
"We knew that the Rebbe lived on President Street, which at the time was right next door to the Bobover Rebbe.
"As we came to 1304 President Street, we got cold feet and couldn't decide who should be the one to knock on the Rebbe's door.
"We were standing on the sidewalk talking about it, when a car pulled out of the driveway. The woman driver walked out of the car and asked us what she could do for us. We stumbled over our words, but finally we told her about our predicament.
The woman took out a pad and pen from her purse and asked us for our names. She then proceeded to give us the name of a fertility doctor in Manhattan and told us to call him in a few days."
This Chasidishe woman continued and said, "I don't know what happened to all the other women. We all went our own ways. This is what happened to me.
"I called the doctor's office and the person at the other end told me that she could make me an appointment with this very busy doctor in a year. I started to cry and the person on the other end asked me to repeat my name. She then told me to wait. A few minutes later she came back to the phone, and told me that they actually have an appointment for me already reserved for the following week.
"Through that doctor," she continued, "G-d blessed me with a daughter. And that daughter has given me 10 grandchildren!"
"Later, I found out that the person who made the appointments for us was none other than the Rebbetzin herself."
Years ago, an Orthodox Jewish man had arrived in Paris, and needed to buy Kosher food. He had no idea where to begin looking for a kosher restaurant or store.
He was sitting on the Metro bench in the Paris subway, looking at passersby, trying to see who looked Jewish enough to ask this question.
Suddenly, he saw a yid with a hat and a suit walk briskly out of the Metro door. This man ran after him calling, "Reb Yid, Reb Yid, where is there a Kosher place to eat? I am starving."
The Rebbe stopped abruptly and told this Yid, "Come I'll show you a place."
The Yid followed the Rebbe back into the subway. They traveled a few stops, got out and walked into a bulding.
The Rebbe opened the door and announced to his wife in Yiddish, "Mir hoben a gast - we have a guest."
The Rebbe and the man walked into the tiny, immaculate dining room and sat down.
There were three settings on the table: set in real cutlery, china, and glassware with cloth napkin.
The man said he was in awe of the cleanliness in the tiny Paris apartment, and the regal way the table was set.
The wife brought in fruit as an appetizer, then fish with some vegetables and fruit as a dessert. The Yid was a little surprized that there was no Hamotzi or Mezonos, but did not say anything.
After bentching the Rebbe apologized for not serving bread or cake. The Rebbe told him that he went to check out the bakeries and was not satisfied with the flour used in baking these foods. Therefore, his wife didn't buy flour at all, even to bake herself.
The Yid thanked them for literally saving his life, and left.
Many years later, this Yid was living in New York, and he chanced to see a photo of the Rebbe in the Jewish newspaper.
He was so upset realizing that the couple who served him was none other than the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rebbetzin.
He was devastated, so he traveled to 770 to ask forgiveness from the Rebbe. When he saw the Rebbe, he burst out crying asking for Mechilla.
The Rebbe recognized him and said, "I have to thank you for giving me the opportunity to do the Mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim."
Beis Rivkah’s “Campus Chomesh,” was named after and in memory of the Rebbetzin.
The genesis of this magnificent structure came immediately after the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, obm, dear and devoted wife of the Rebbe and beloved figure to thousands of Lubavitchers. Plans were rapidly set in motion to build a campus that would properly memorialize and honor her.
The groundbreaking ceremony occurred just thirty days after her passing. On his way to visit her resting place, the Rebbe stopped by the ceremony and participated in the dedication.
Today 1600 students, head start through elementary, learn in Campus Chomesh. Stop and participate! Donate to Bais Rivkah Campus Chomesh on this special day. Visit Bethrivkah.edu to donate.