Just as the mellow hues of adjoining stones converge into focus as a vivid mosaic, the varied and colorful components of this anthology combine to reflect the beautifully refreshing personality of the late Nechoma Greisman a"h z"l -- a young mother of ten with a feeling heart, a lively mind, a buoyant personality and an unaffected manner.
This book comprises a selection of candid thoughts on the challenges confronting her role as an idealistic emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita; articles she wrote and classes she gave on the realities of Jewish wifehood and motherhood, such as questions of role definition, marital harmony, family planning, childrearing ("the most difficult mivtza of them all") and outreach work; solid, detailed, down-to-earth advice on housekeeping ("being a Kohen in G-d's little Sanctuary"); good-humored and utterly unjudgmental observations on human nature and on interpersonal relations; insightful letters written by her and about her; and so on and on. (The minor inconsistencies in style simply reflect the fact that these talks and writings were addressed to a wide range of audiences, in different places and in varying circumstances, in the course of over twenty years.)
The Machon wishes to record its appreciation of all those whose combined gifts produced this anthology: its editor, Rabbi Moshe Miller, who judiciously selected and arranged the material; each of the named letter-writers; Uri Kaploun, for his editorial advice; Hinda Esther Baruch, for her proofreading in the early stages of the manuscript; Yitzchok Turner, for his professional touch in the typography and layout; Abba Richman, for the cover design; and finally, despite the pressure of time, Rabbi Yonah Avtzon, for his extensive input as publisher.
Nechoma Greisman passed away suddenly at the age of thirty-nine, on the 23rd of Shvat, 5752 (1992), just a few hours after the birth of her tenth child, leaving thousands -- in the Lubavitch chassidic community, in the worldwide ranks of the Teshuvah movement, and in Jewry at large -- with a real sense of personal bereavement.
Nechoma was born in New York to her distinguished parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Mordechai Schusterman. Even as a child she exhibited the devotion to Torah and the enthusiasm for mitzvos which flourished in later years. She married Rabbi Shmuel Greisman, and in 1976 she and her husband were privileged to be chosen by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita as emissaries to Israel.
In addition to supporting her husband, a member of Agudas Chassidei Chabad, in his considerable tasks as chairman of the Shluchim (Emissaries) Organization and head of the Committee for Writing the Sefer Torah for Children, she devoted herself at every possible opportunity to teaching women from the perspective of Chassidus, and teaching Chassidus from the perspective of a woman. Much of her best-remembered teaching took place in Jerusalem's cozy Israel Center, and at Machon Chaya Mushka, the women's institute for advanced part-time studies which she and her husband founded and nurtured.
Characteristically, she never allowed the constant calls on her time -- for teaching, counseling or hospitality -- to compromise her total and ever-patient dedication to the daily needs and education of her children.
Nechoma, one of the pioneer shluchos of the Rebbe Shlita to Eretz Yisroel, opened doors for many people. She will be missed by all those whose lives were warmed by her compassionate encouragement, her level-headed counsel, her tireless outreach work, and her constant happiness.
For more people than she knew, her life served as an inspiring example of what a chassidic woman, wife and mother can aspire to.
"My Beloved went down to His garden to gather roses." This verse the Midrash perceives as alluding to G-d, Who "gathers in those righteous souls" which have completed their mission in this world.
Nechoma Greisman was one of those roses. But petals close in the evening only to reopen in the morning. In the meantime, until that long-awaited dawn, this volume is dedicated to her luminous memory.
Machon Chaya Mushka, Women's Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem
23 Shvat, 5753 (1993)