By Mali New
It all boils down to action, as the Rebbe said so many times. We, as seminary girls, realized that we needed to do more than learn and improve ourselves this year; we had to effect the world tangibly.
And so, starting as the brainchild of Sheva Rivkin of Crown Heights and Maayan Gozlan of Montreal, Machon Bina Seminary of Beit Meir packed a whopping one thousand Shabbos candle kits and resolved to have them lit before sundown.
Our beloved principal, Mrs. Shosh Rabinowitz was thrilled with the idea, and ran out to buy all the necessary supplies.
Most girls walked around the Shuk in Machane Yehuda, while some ambled around the central train station, walking into random stores and restaurants sprinkled around the area. A few other girls actually visited a retirement home in nearby Protea Hills to do mivtzoim there.
We quickly realized that we weren’t the only ones doing Mivtza Neshek. We met many girls from Machon Shoshanas Yerushalayim, as well as lots of women from different streams of Judaism, all standing there with overflowing bags of candles, dedicated to the Rebbe’s mission.
When a few Machon Bina girls entered Yesh, a large supermarket near Tachana HaMerkaIt, they approached a woman who said impatiently, “Go somewhere else! They already asked everyone in this store!”
This wasn’t the only time that people got annoyed with us because they’d been offered neirot Shabbat four times in the past hour. Dina Sufrin of London said to her partner, “Isn’t that the Rebbe’s dream? We’ve come to that improbable point where it’s hard to find people who don’t yet have candles!”
As we boarded the bus back to Machon Bina three hours later, there was a certain elation felt in the air. “It’s crazy!” said Bryndel Gniwisch from Montreal, “A thousand more people will light Shabbos candles tonight because of our seminary!”
Rivka New of Melbourne added, “The faces of these women lit up when we passed along the little tea lights.” It’s doubtless that darkness was pushed away today.
A mere twenty-five minute drive from Yerushalayim, our school has felt pretty involved in the disasters that happened here in the last few months. We realized that it wasn’t enough to sigh and cry; something substantial had to be done. The world needs these Shabbos flames more than ever, because each lit candle is a plea to G-d, begging him to light the eternal flames of Moshiach.