22nd of Shevat

Many of our Sages make reference to the fact that a person’s name indicates something about the person and can teach us about him or her.

If this is true for each of us, how much more so is it true for someone like Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson (the wife of the Rebbe), whose yartzeit is commemorated this week on the 22nd of Shevat (January 28 this year). In fact, the Rebbetzin’s name teaches us not only about her holy life but about our lives as well.

On the Rebbetzin’s first yahrtzeit, the Rebbe spoke about her name, as well as the significance to us of the date of her passing:

“Chaya” means “life.” The Rebbetzin’s life was filled with mitzvot and acts of goodness and kindness. But her deeds did not remain in the realm of the spirit and were not for a select few. Her deeds affected even the lowest points of this world as indicated by her second name, “Mushka”- a name in a foreign language. This indicates that the Rebbetzin brought holiness into the world, even into the lowest parts of this world.

The 22nd of Shevat is the day of the Rebbetzin’s passing. The number 22 alludes to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Jewish teachings state that G-d created the world using these letters. These 22 letters, in their myriad combinations, contain the essence of all bounty and good. The intent is to reveal in all matters of the universe the letters of the Torah which are inherent in the created world.

From the Rebbetzin’s name and from the date of her passing we can take one combined lesson for ourselves and our lives. We should fill our days with acts of goodness, kindness, and charity that are not merely surface or peripheral but that permeate and penetrate even the lowest parts of this world.

With each individual working toward this end, we will soon see that G-dliness truly permeates this world with the revelation of Moshiach and the commencement of the long-awaited Redemption. Moshiach NOW!!!