In honor of the 32nd yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka on Chof Beis Shvat, N’shei Chabad Newsletter asked the thousands of women and girls named for the Rebbetzin eight questions. Here are the most intriguing responses.
In honor of the 32nd yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka on Chof Beis Shvat, N’shei Chabad Newsletter asked the thousands of Chaya Mushkas named for the Rebbetzin eight questions, including:
- When did you first become aware of who you were named after?
- How has the Rebbetzin impacted your life?
Baruch Hashem, the responses keep flowing in from around the world. Anash.org is pleased to present a small sampling of the responses received so far.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE STORY OF THE REBBETZIN?
- A child once helped the Rebbetzin carry things into her apartment. When they got to the door the Rebbetzin asked him to wait a minute and brought him a chocolate bar. He said that in his house he learned that you do a favor for the mitzvah and you don’t need to be paid for doing favors. The Rebbetzin answered that she also grew up in a chassidishe shtub, and there she learned that when someone gives you something, you accept and say thank-you.
- I love every story about her, but especially the one about her saying that all the chassidim are her children. It makes me feel close to her knowing that she considers me her child, even though I never met her.
- The story where she said she has to do teshuvah for pushing someone down to the ground to get him out of the way of an incoming bomb, even though it was in order to save his life.
- When she quietly paid the rent for a family that she saw being evicted from their home.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU TRY TO EMULATE THE REBBETZIN?
- In her eidelkeit, tznius, and humility, and in the way she was a loyal and encouraging support to her husband in everything he did. It is something I always try to keep in mind in my marriage and home, and something I always daven for when I’m at her kever, that I should have the zechus to be able to follow in her ways in all these areas, and more.
- Putting others’ needs before my own. I learn from her to make guests feel comfortable in my house, or students in my class.
- Her humility and in some ways her chutzpah. I remember seeing the video of her talking about the sefarim that belonged to the chassidim. She had such zest and strong energy in the way she spoke.
- Being a supportive wife. How she waited up for the Rebbe, respected everything he said, tried to keep him from worrying about her.
- The way that she never took into consideration what people will think. If it was the right thing to do, she did it. If not, she didn’t — simple as that.
HOW HAS BEING NAMED FOR THE REBBETZIN AFFECTED YOUR LIFE OR YOUR DECISIONS?
- I have always felt a special connection to the Rebbetzin and the Rebbe, and that I have a high standard to live up to. Wherever I go, it’s always clear that I am a Lubavitcher (B”H), including to U.S. customs agents, Israeli bus drivers and a Persian dentist in Midtown who spent my entire appointment asking me questions about Chabad and calling in all his other patients to meet me! It often leads to interesting conversations when people ask me the origin of my name, and sometimes makes me reconsider certain decisions due to what I represent. It helped solidify my identity as a shlucha in an isolated location and gave me a pride in being a Lubavitcher.
- I love my name and I find it upsetting when people named Chaya Mushka say it’s “boring” or “too common.” Besides for the incredible namesake, it is a beautifully melodious name with deep meaning. Having this name has always connected me with the Rebbetzin even when I don’t feel particularly spiritual. When I go to the Ohel I always stop by the Rebbetzin’s kever because I feel like her brachos will create positive change in my life.
- My father named me in 770 in front of the Rebbe. When I heard that, it touched me very deeply. I am proud to use my full name (even though I usually am called by a nickname). Just by saying my name to people, it’s obvious that I am a Lubavitcher and I know that I need to emulate and represent the Rebbetzin.
- I don’t work in a Jewish company, so my name is very unique at work and most people have trouble pronouncing it. I am very proud that I carry the Rebbetzin’s name, and I am happy to explain the meaning of my name and who I am named for to those who ask. Sometimes it is frustrating when I have to constantly spell and repeat my name, but I remember who I am named for and how honored I am by that.
- During my teen years with all the peer pressure, I felt her koach inspiring me to buy and wear tzniusdike skirts and to remember to look in the mirror before going out to ensure that I look like a chossid of the Rebbe. (My husband’s birthday is Chof Beis Shvat and his eidel, refined manner is a constant reminder of the Rebbetzin in our lives!)
To take the Chaya Mushka survey or to sign up for NCN emails, visit nsheichabadnewsletter.com