By Margie Pensak – With permission of BaltimoreJewishLife.com.
The first thing I noticed about Leah Rubashkin when I was introduced to her before she spoke to Nshei Chabad at the home of Nuchy Zirkind, Tuesday night, was her sparkly Aleph-Beis-Gimmel necklace.
I knew the letters weren’t her initials; my curiosity was settled about half-way through her talk when she explained how she, her imprisoned husband–former Agriprocessors’ CEO, Sholom Rubashkin–and their family keep their positive attitude in the face of his 27-year prison sentence that he has been serving since 2010.
“In one second things can change,” noted Mrs. Rubashkin, using lessons learned from Parshas Beraishis and Parshas Noach. “If every minute Hashem is creating the world anew, it makes it very easy not to dwell on the negative aspects of life and it helps a person to be more positive, because if you know that any second Hashem could just decide that whatever was one minute could be very different another minute, why would you want to put yourself in a negative place? You would want to keep upbeat and daven to Hashem for that good…Hashem renews the world every moment, so it follows that things that don’t seem good or just can change in a moment. As it says; the salvation of Hashem can come in the blink of an eye. That helps to keep us in a positive mood and a positive state of mind and to see things in a positive way. We get that koach by going into the taiva–by enveloping ourselves in Torah and in tefilah–and then take that strength out of the taiva, rather than insulating ourselves.”
Mrs. Rubashkin shared details of the Federal immigration raid that targeted her husband’s family kosher meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa–a small one-mile by one-mile town surrounded by cornfields in the middle of nowhere–and the United States of America vs. Sholom Rubashkin lawsuit that ensued.
“We knew that only by strengthening our emunah and bitachon in Hashem would we get through our nisayon,” recalled Mrs. Rubashkin. “Yiddishkeit is based on emunah and bitachon. The Rebbe says that we have the “aleph” standing for “emunah” and the “beis” standing for bitachon. They are really the foundation stones of Yiddishkeit–emunah is faith in Hashem that He can do anything, and bitachon is trust in Hashem that He will do what we are asking of Him. The Rebbe says that when we internalize emunah and bitachon, then we get the “gimmel”–geualah, a personal liberation; we are worry free. We each have things going on in our lives that are challenges that are really hard for us to get through. We are bogged down by them. We are sluggish because we can’t think about anything else and when we throw this problem emunah and bitachon and say, ‘Hashem, this is way too big for me,’ we liberate ourselves and are able to have our simchas hachaim back. We are able to function as human beings by taking this trust that we have in Hashem to really help us have a normal life. We learned this concept and it became our motto: ‘Aleph, Beis, Gimmel’. We always kept it at the forefront.”
Mrs. Rubashkin recollected how although they were living through a very stressful time after the raid, prior to the imprisonment, she tried to be a very good wife and bring her husband lunch daily. One day, while her husband was so consumed by everything going on at the office, she took aleph-beis-gimmel pretzels that she bought and scattered them around his office as reminders that although they were going through hard times, Hashem is with us and we are going to get through them and bring the geulah.
“We have to keep in mind that Hashem is with us in a really personal way,” concludes Mrs. Rubashkin. “Hashgacha pratis was taken to a different level, for me…Besides the learning, we also have to open up our eyes to all the brachos that we have–what I call the winks and the smiles to coast us along while we are going through something. When a person is going through personal challenges and thinking how he or she can keep a positive mindset, the way we’ve learn to do it is by really seeing and watching how Hashem is really with us all along the way. We know that whatever is happening, whether it is good or seemingly not good, it is all coming from Hashem, so it is all good. We have to see every little single stepping stone to get to that final place, because otherwise it is a very hard journey. So, we’ve chosen to really open up our eyes to see how Hashem is with us all along the way–how He is mamash making nissim happen–sometimes unbelievable things, sometimes little things–like my husband can take food out of the mess hall.
“Let’s open up ourselves to really getting that if Hashem is with us for one thing, He is with us all the time, continues Mrs. Rubashkin. “The word “daaga”, worry, is spelled ‘daled’, ‘alef‘, ‘gimmel‘, ‘hey’. It is just missing the ‘beis’. If you have worries, you are missing bitachon….There is big bracha in achdus, and Baruch Hashem our story has brought together a lot of different type of Yidden all caring about one situation, and there has been tremendous bracha because of that. The Rubashkins have put their trust in Hashem and know that their salvation is a “blink” away.
It‘s been a humbling experience and equally humbling has been the tremendous outpouring of Ahavas Yisrael…The geulah prati will bring the geulah klali–the liberation of my husband is going to be like a forerunner for Moshiach.”
After the approximately sixty women attendees listened to Mrs. Rubashkin’s uplifting, inspiring, spellbinding talk, they made challah. Prior to the program, they recited Tehillim for the matzav in Eretz Yisrael. May Hashem schep nachas from our achdus, and may we soon experience the geulah shelaima, bimheira b‘yomeinu!