My parents (Rabbi Israel and Rochel Rubin, may they live long and be well) have been learning together for many years. They’ve studied Talmud together, completing numerous tractates, they study the daily Chumash and for some time now, the daily 1 Chapter Rambam study cycle. My mother continuing their long-standing studies together, reading aloud at my father’s hospital bedside after his stroke helped me realize that Torah study together may be their “love language”.

It was #1ChapterRambam study that was one of the first signs of my father’s cognitive strength after the stroke. My mother was reading aloud Chapter 25 of the Laws of Vessels, the 1 Chapter Rambam of that day. She misread “Agalah Shel Katan” as “a small calf” which my father, despite his condition, said audibly enough, “No, it’s a baby carriage!” It was so stunning when he said that, so reassuring and uplifting!

A few days later, just before his discharge from the hospital, he shared something beautiful from the Rambam she was reading aloud, by this time in the laws of Mikvaot, the laws of Mikvah (ritual immersion pool).

First some introduction to the concept at hand:

The laws of Mikvah require a minimum of 40 Seah (a measurement) of unadulterated rainwater, pooled in a specific way. Most Mikvahs are designed with a dual-pool system: One larger pool of city-water (regular tap-water) that is filtered and regularly cleaned and can even be changed as needed. But it is attached to a covered/hidden side or bottom reservoir below that is filled with that minimum of ritual rain-water.

The connection between the two pools is minimal! It is a tiny connector, basically a touch-point. But the remarkable law is once the ritual reservoir has been filled with that minimum of 40 Seah of rainwater then connecting an adjacent pool of regular non-ritual city/tap-water transforms all of it into an actual fully-Kosher Mikvah! In fact, the Mikvah that is used for immersion is that connected pool!

Discussing this law with my mother, in his labored and limited speech, my father suddenly got emotional. He saw this law as a figurative expression of the Rebbe’s great love and concern for each and every Jew, and his transformative efforts on behalf of the Jewish people.

In a figurative way, many Jews today may be considered more like the “Mayim She’uvim” assimilated into and blending in with the regular waters of the world, they may not be the designated ritual-water types. But Rebbe was eager for them to all be a Mikvah! He sought a way to make that touch-point, that connector, to a reservoir of the 40 Seah, thereby transforming the whole adjacent pool, or all that “assimilated” and ordinary city water into a purifying Mikvah.

In this figurative metaphor, the Rebbe’s Shluchim – and all those who dedicate themselves to serve as connectors bridging between inner and outer worlds – act as the conduit, that channel, that connector, allowing the outer and inner waters to touch and be affected. It may just be a small touchpoint, but it can be so effective and transformative, as long as it reaches out to connect and the inner reservoir must be filled to (and beyond) its 40 Seah minimum. It must maintain its inner integrity.

My father got very emotional about this. He said the Rebbe was like the biblical forefather Isaac who kept digging wells, seeking and searching to find water. The Rebbe kept searching for the soul within, finding the inner spark, revealing the inner “waters”.

Soon after the iPad at his bedside happened (by Providence!) to play the Rebbe’s “Tzamah Lecha Nafshi” niggun melody. My father saw this song in the same vein, the Rebbe yearning and striving for “water” to see the inner spiritual and divine “waters” within every Jew and within the world.

Obviously such a rich insight is beautiful on its own, but hearing this from his hospital bed, was incredibly uplifting and reassuring. Indeed, learning is such a huge part of who he is, and so central to his relationship with my mother. May she have the strength and may he have a complete recovery!