righteous without tzitzit

Friday, 10 November, 2023 - 9:09 am

“They are righteous without tzitzit" - so said Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, the wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, regarding the individuals of "The Brihah" (the escape) who were involved in saving Jews in Europe after the Holocaust.

Now, this is not just a statement, it needs to be understood that back when the world, in the eyes of Jews, was divided into the righteous and the wicked, it was an amazing statement to hear from a righteous Rabbanit, the daughter and granddaughter of Chassidic Rabbis, and the wife of a Chassidic Rabbi. Even among Chabad Chassidim, who are known for seeing the good in every Jew, it was then a kind of innovation. The phenomenon of secularism was not new in the late 1940s, but it wasn't exactly old either. When I was a child, it was common to hear the phrase "my grandfather was a rabbi," but in the late 1940s, it was more in the style of "I was a rabbi" or at most "my father was a rabbi."

To hear then from Rebbetzin Lubavitch a judgment on Jews who seemingly did not observe Torah and mitzvot, "they are righteous without tzitzit," was a new thing that certainly clarified the direction that Chabad was taking, essentially led by her husband, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who saw every Jew as holy and pure. He educated his Chassidim, and us, his emissaries around the globe, to see every Jew as a saintly and pure child of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.

I am currently in New York at the International Conference of Chabad Emissaries. For everyone here, it is clear that every Jew is holy and pure, a beloved child of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. The emissaries are all busy doing good, each in their place, giving what they can to help, encourage, and, most importantly, strengthen the Jewish identity of those around them through Torah study and observance of mitzvot. I hear here all day the admiration and amazement for our brethren living in the Holy Land.

Dear soldiers of the IDF and residents of the Land of Israel, you show the world and the Jewish Diaspora in particular, what happens when someone touches the apple of our eye. No need to dig, not to search beneath the surface. The magnificent beauty of the people of Israel is revealed to all. I don't know how aware you, our brothers and friends in the Holy Land, are of this, and if not, I want to tell you, we are proud of you, we salute you.

And one more thing for my dear my brothers and friends, the emissaries of the Rebbe in the Holy Land: Even if you didn't come to the "Kinus HaShluchim" (Emissaries Conference) this year because you are busy, and you can't leave your post these days, I want you to know that we love you, truly and sincerely, we marvel and are amazed in admiration for the work you do. Thank you for who you are; we salute you from 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalman Wishedski

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