1 [Riga]

[These students, via their “shepherds,”5 had requested an audience with the Rebbe, who duly received them at 6:00 PM on the above date. The Rebbe opened the encounter by saying that he kept all the reports that the “shepherds” had given him and was well informed about Achos Temimim; he was very pleased with the present state of affairs and had high hopes, with G‑d’s help, for the future. He then proposed that one student from each class should summarize the most recent maamar of Chassidus that they had studied. Representing the higher class, Miss Beliner reviewed the content of the maamar beginning Tzohar taaseh lateivah, and Miss Kraminkov, representing the other class, reviewed the content of the maamar beginning Lech Lecha.2

[The Rebbe then addressed the group as follows:]

Every member of Achos Temimim should clearly know its goal and, with G‑d’s help, implement it in her life. That basic goal is the observance of the practical mitzvos with the proper kind of feeling that springs from a study of Chassidus.

The study of Chassidus should bring about a subordination of the mind;3 it should occupy one’s head to the extent that it necessarily makes the heart subordinate. And both the subordination of the mind and the subordination of the heart4 are attained by means of kiruv and hamshachah – drawing near and being drawn near [toElokus]. This is the difference between Chassidus and Mussar. Besides, Mussar mainly addresses the subordination of the heart, which is accomplished by crushing one’s desires,5 by self-mortification,6 whereas the subordination of mind and heart brought about by Chassidus is accomplished only by kiruv and hamshachah drawing near and being drawn near [to Elokus].

In order to repel evil character traits and rid oneself of bad habits, and to cultivate good habits and positive character traits, one must follow the longstanding practice of studying certain classic works of Mussar – with chassidic sensitivity.

It must [also] be kept in mind that “an ignoramus cannot be pious.”7 The laws that are needed day by day must be studied.

The study of Chassidus by Achos Temimim is [thus] not intended to replace the study of Mussar, and certainly not to replace the study of the laws of the Torah that every young Jewish person must master.

The goal of Achos Temimim is (with G‑d’s help) to bring Jewish girls in general, and chassidic girls in particular, to the desired level at which they will be immune to the contagious bacteria that threaten (G‑d forbid) to annihilate “the people of the G‑d of Avraham.”8 Our people are now in the midst of an epidemic. This is not the time to be explicit about the various reasons for this situation, but our youth are being led into harmful environments that darken even their faith, and certainly weaken their observance of the practical mitzvos.

Let me share with you briefly the following rich and holy teaching that a certain Rebbe once addressed to parents at a farbrengen, concerning the education of their daughters:

Shlomo HaMelech describes a fine and devout Jewish woman as eshes chayil – “a woman of valor,”9 a woman with strength. Her strength is evident in the way she conducts her household, and also in the way her husband and children conduct themselves. That is why she is called “the crown of her husband”10 – not only the crown of the children whom she has brought up, but also the crown of her husband, who is an independent adult.

In that chapter, Shlomo HaMelech first says that “charm is falsehood and beauty is nothingness,”11 and in the following verse he says, “Give her praise for her accomplishments, and let her deeds praise her at the gates.”12

The former phrase – “charm is falsehood and beauty is nothingness” – can be interpreted as alluding to a certain time that can (G‑d forbid) result from a misguided education, as follows: There will come a time when falsehood will have charm, and nothingness will be regarded as beauty. This means that at that time, charm will be vested in falsehood, and beauty will be vested in nothingness, in matters that are valueless.

At that time, Jewish men – and even more so, Jewish women – will (G‑d forbid) lose their sense of balanced judgment. After the words, “charm is falsehood and beauty is nothingness,” the above-quoted verse goes on to say that “a G‑d-fearing woman is the one to be praised.” Thus, [to resume the non-literal interpretation of that verse,] at that time, if a woman somewhere will observe the principles of Yiddishkeit, her peers will make fun of her.13 These are the fruits of a harmful education.

In the following verse, Shlomo HaMelech concludes the chapter by saying: “Give her praise for her accomplishments, and let her deeds sing her praises at the gates.” That is to say: Do not underestimate the education of girls. Let it be realized that if the conduct within a home is fine and upright, this is thanks to “the mainstay of the home.”14 The wife and mother is worthy indeed of well-earned praise and respect, for she is the one who brings up the children and guides the household. This is hinted at by the initial letters of the Hebrew words, תנו לה מפרי ידיה (“Give her praise for her accomplishments”). Those initials, when rearranged, spell תלים,15 for when the Tehillim-Yid16 with his solid faith was a child, it was his mother who nurtured him.

Precisely this is the goal of Achos Temimim – to arouse within girls their authentically Jewish spark of life, so that they will nullify the false charm and insubstantial beauty that surrounds them, and will strive to attain the heights that befit a Jewish girl.

As stated earlier, this is an era of anguish. Jewish youth are in need of profound spiritual help. Let us hope that that help will be provided by the study of Chassidus.

Every branch of knowledge grants a person a certain kind of power. So, too, the study of Chassidus, which empowers a person in a good way. However, it is axiomatic that there is no good without evil.17 Sometimes, for example, there may be indiscipline with regard to teachers, or disrespect to parents – behaviors that are contrary to the most fundamental teachings of Chassidus. If such behaviors occur among members of Achos Temimim, I would find it most painful and request that they be rectified. Students who desire self-improvement must learn to heed the words of their teachers.

From the depths of my heart I give each of you my blessing that you should be good children to your parents, and good students to your teachers, both men and women. As members of Achos Temimim, may you be worthy standard-bearers of its holy banner – to light up the Jewish environment and to build up the edifice of Yiddishkeit. And may your parents be blessed with success in raising you to Torah,18 to the marriage canopy, and to good deeds.

[Miss Mina Skabala, representing her fellow students, thanked the Rebbe for having founded Achos Temimim, which had already yielded fine fruits that would hopefully justify its foundation. She expressed the wish that in the merit of that initiative, G‑d would grant the Rebbe a complete recovery and a successful voyage.19

[The Rebbe then said:]

Good health, materially and spiritually, to each of you! May G‑d grant that I hear good news from you, and you – from me. Relate to me just as children relate to their father, because I regard all those who have a bond with me as my children. May G‑d make all our endeavors prosper, both materially and spiritually.