Shortly after the first official classes were opened for women from secular backgrounds seeking spiritual growth and Torah study, the founders asked the Rebbe if they could merit to name their school after the saintly Rebbetzin Chana. The Rebbe’s response was quick and clear. “To wait until the institution was more established.” After two months and a student body of close to 100, the Rebbe, when given three options, chose the name Machon Chana.
Rebbetzin Chana went through tremendous sacrifices and deprivation for her beliefs. She therefore understood the sacrifices of many young women, who although limited in Torah knowledge were self-sacrificing in their desire for the truth. Having chosen to leave behind a comfortable and prestigious existence to ensure the survival of the most profound Chassidic teachings, she deeply understood their journey. Having lived in an era and country where the very act of learning was life-threatening and still achieving the level of knowledge she did, Rebbetzin Chana appreciated the thirst for and love of learning of these young women.
It is no coincidence that the Rebbe’s mother bears the name Chana, which signifies grace and charm. Rebbetzin Chana’s beauty radiated from within. As the Rebbe taught us, within the name Chana we find the essence of Jewish women as defined by the three Mitzvos-of-Chana.
The well-known devotion and love underscores the merit that Machon Chana has in being chosen by the Rebbe to perpetuate his mother’s name. What better testimony is there to the Rebbe’s vision of women as catalyst in the transformation of the world. “Such a school for women is of greater responsibility and perhaps is even more important than a similar school for men,” expressed the Rebbe’s outlook.
The Rebbe saw to it that Machon Chana reflect the beauty and grace that emanated from Rebbitzen Chana. He often visited the dormitory, inspecting the furniture and once even commenting that the bedrooms need mirrors and radios and the dining room needed doors to ensure privacy for those young women seeking quiet study. Every detail in his mother’s home was his heartfelt concern.
Countless lives were transformed within the walls of this unique home. Countless generations have been saved. The wellsprings that spread forth from Machon Chana honor and give true Chassidishe nachas to our Mother of Royalty.