By Aliza Lichtenfeld
The Rebbe said that even in complete darkness, the flame of a single candle can be seen far and wide. The same goes for a mitzvah. Even in a world of darkness, also known as our secular society, just one mitzvah has the impact to affect the entire world. That’s why Jews must act like candles.
As women, we have the opportunity to bring the Rebbe’s words to action by taking a short break from pre-Shabbos cleaning in order to give out Shabbos candles. It’s a wonderful feeling to offer candles to Jewish women and girls in order to give them a chance at a Shabbos connection that they may otherwise never experience.
My favorite place for Shabbos mivtzoyim is in Eretz Yisrael. I have just returned from three months of intensive shlichus in Sderot, Israel, where I was volunteering in the local Chabad pre-school.
As anyone who keeps up with the news knows, Sderot can be a very dark place both literally and spiritually. But now, the city is being rebuilt with modern stores and even a soon to be large shopping mall. All of this building is wonderful, and I was a part of it.
No, I didn’t put on a hard hat and build a mall or an apartment complex. I helped rebuild it spiritually.
Every Friday afternoon, I walked to the center of town and gave out candles. I could be found in grocery stores, the gas station, Sapir College, even just on the streets. I also taught Chassidic viewpoints on Shabbat candles to the adorable kids in the pre-school each Friday, and then handed out what they called a “special candle from Aliza.” Upon giving the candles, the smiles of the women and children were all I needed to make the assumption that candles are in fact the cure to spiritual exile.
Yes, as the Rebbe teaches, a candle’s flame reaches upward towards G-d. In fact, a Jew is like a candle. Our G-dly souls strive towards Hashem. And through erev Shabbos mivtzoim, we can spark the spiritual flames of Jewish women and girls everywhere, ending this exile.
Anu rotzim moshiach achshav!