Feb 12, 2018
Rebbe's Sharp Reply to a Woman

Pirsum Rishon: How the Rebbe responded to a woman who was quick to dismiss the "misfortune" of not keeping Taharas Hamishpacha.

COLlive.com and Nissan Mindel Publications present "Archive Gems", a periodical column sharing guidance from the Rebbe and unknown details of Chabad's history in the United States.

The material is from the archives of Rabbi Dr. Nissan Mindel, the trusted personal secretary of the Frierdiker Rebbe and the Rebbe, and a renowned Chabad author of literature for young and old for close to 60 years.

Rabbi Shalom Ber Schapiro, Director of Nissan Mindel Publications, was entrusted with these treasured archives by his father-in-law, Rabbi Mindel and it is to his lasting credit that the dissemination of chassidus is thereby being strengthened.

Much of this material will be published in the forthcoming book "Chabad in America Through the Folders of Nissan Mindel," covering Chabad's activities in America from 1940 until 1994, as preserved by Rabbi Mindel in his folders.


In honor of the Kinus Hashluchos being held in New York, we are presenting material concerning Taharas Hamishpacha from the archives of Nissan Mindel.

In most of his communications with women – through letters and talks – the Rebbe would inevitably stress the mitzvos of taharas ha'mishpacha (family purity) and kashrus, in addition to the woman's role of akeres ha'bayis.

In a letter of the Rebbe to the Ladies Taharas Hamishpacha Committee of Leeds, England, the Rebbe's added notation is in English, which he writes by pen (he usually writes in pencil). The Rebbe refers to the occasion of Yud Shvat and added "urgent" on the top of this letter.

The Rebbe's notation states: "her simple assurance of performing the mitzvah properly" – and needs to be inserted after "inasmuch as …" and before "…is decisive in this area."

In another letter, the Rebbe answers a woman who writes relating to taharas hamishpacha. People would often write to the Rebbe and drop off their letter in 770 or would call 770 with a request or question. On these occasions – the Rebbe would write his answer on the letter of the writer, which he would then ask one of the secretaries to relate to him or her.

In the case of one who inquired by phone, the secretary would write down the inquiry and give it to the Rebbe. The Rebbe would then write his answer on the note, which the writer would read or which the secretary would copy for him on another paper.

The following is the answer of the Rebbe to one such letter – in the original Hebrew and our translation.

It is in the handwriting of one of the secretaries, who copied the Rebbe's answer from the original:

"As is understood
"Taharas hamishpacha and kashrus

"It is not at all understood – that when it comes to the health of a minor organ or a tooth – she asks the opinion of a doctor (because he studied this subject for many years) – but when all those who studied the topic of taharas hamishpacha/family purity say that this pertains and is fundamental to shalom bayis/family harmony the health of her entire body and that of her husband sh'y. etc – she says that this is not so, even though she is aware that she has not studied at all about the reasons of taharas hamishpacha.

"It is known that there are women who, may Heaven protect us, do not observe taharas hamishpacha - but it is also known the consequences over time even though they are ashamed to admit the misfortune they have brought upon themselves, and they have become mentally confused to the point where they do not recognize what is happening to them and what causes this, may it never materialize to us."

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