By Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky – Chabad of Doral, Florida
Recently all the news outlets were abuzz about Ukraine again. The anniversary of the Russian invasion was broadcast with the sad reminder that this war is already going on for a whole year. The reality is that in the beginning of the war we were all riveted by the terrible news of all the bombings and atrocities. As time passed however, life just went on.
Even with the reminder of the sad reality of the ongoing war, I can’t say that I stopped everything I was doing and became glued to the unfortunate events. Time has that effect, even when such horrible things are taking place. Sure, my mind quickly scanned over the memories of last year, but almost as soon, I was back to my regular routine. Old news is sadly old news.
Here’s some good news which came out of this whole unfortunate saga. A few nights ago, towards the end of my weekly Zoom class, a lady asked to share a story.
“Rabbi do you remember exactly a year ago when you shared the story of a Shlucha who was in the midst of escaping with her family from war torn Ukraine? You told us that she and her family will be traveling on Shabbos to save their lives. Thus, she will be unable to light her Shabbat Candles. You asked all the women to add a candle in honor of all those women who couldn’t do so that week.”
She went on to tell us that she was so inspired by the story that she reached out a good friend to encourage her to add a candle. She was certain, in her assumption, that her friend certainly lights Candles every Erev Shabbos.
However, when she spoke with her friend, she informed her that in fact she doesn’t light Shabbat Candles.
After listening to the story about the families of Shluchim who are on the run, unable to light their own candles, and who have made the plea for an extra candle to be added, she committed to light Candles that week.
This lady gave her the instructions what to do, and totally forgot about the whole thing. This week, upon hearing the news regarding the war’s anniversary, her friend reached out to her to say thank-you. She informed her that since that Shabbos she has been lighting Shabbat Candles every single week.
This lady was so excited to share this good news with all of us. Her eyes were literally welling up with tears, as she excitedly told us how proud she was to be part of such a great Mitzvah.
Dear Ukrainian Shluchos,
I realize that almost all of us have absolutely no idea of the pain and suffering you and your families went through, and are still going through. Only Hashem knows. And, as we stand now, there seems to be no end in sight.
Nobody can attempt to find the words to “make things better for you”. But still, I felt compelled to share this small story with you, to tell you: your candles are still burning. You continue to brighten the world with the shine of Torah and Mitzvot in ways that perhaps we will never know. You are a pillar of light, a foundation of hope for all us, even for a Jewish woman whom you have never met, nor has she ever met Chabad Shluchim.
I didn’t fact check if indeed it is exactly a year since that Shabbos. The lady insisted that on the secular calendar, indeed it is. In any case a full year or not, your Candle does continue to shine and it will do so for many years to come.