"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Parshat Chayei Sarah, 5760
Cheshvan 26, 5760
November 5, 1999
"Let There Be Light"
The Jewish Women's Guide To Lighting Shabbat
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"I BELIEVE WITH COMPLETE FAITH IN THE ARRIVAL OF THE MOSHIACH.
"AND THOUGH HE MAY TARRY, I SHALL WAIT EACH DAY, ANTICIPATING HIS
Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
THIS PUBLICATION IS DEDICATED
TO THE REBBE,
RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON
Click here, to see pictures
of the Rebbe
The Daily Sicha (in Real Audio)
- Listen to selected excerpts of the Rebbe's Sichos
[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.
We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, our weekly
publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this week's issue, we focus on one of the Rebbe's Mitzvah
Campaigns, the laws of Shabbat Candle Lighting (which is one
of the three special mitzvot for Jewish
Therefore, we present here "Let There Be Light - The Jewish Women's Guide
To Lighting Shabbat Candles," and other related material about
Shabbat Candle Lighting.
The Jewish year that has just begun is the year 5760 since Creation. The
Hebrew letters are Hei-Tav-Shin-Samech. Over a decade ago, in the
year 5742, the Rebbe stated that the Hebrew letters for that year were an
acronym for "This should be the year of the coming of Moshiach."
Since that time, the Rebbe has publicized a phrase describing the year according
to the acrostic of its Hebrew letters. This year has been designated by the
Rebbe's followers as "Hoyo T'hei Shnas Segulah," meaning "It will
surely be an auspicious year."
Our sincere appreciation to
publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing
us to use their material.
Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb
his tireless efforts.
It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption
will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!
Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind
21 Cheshvan, 5760
Brooklyn, New York
1. The other two are
and family purity. (Which will be discussed, G-d willing, in a future issue).
Parshat Chayei Sarah
This week's Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, contains an account of the
first marriage mentioned in the Torah. This marriage, between Isaac and Rivkah,
affected and is a lesson for the Jewish people as a whole, and indeed the
future of the entire nation which was to follow.
In a spiritual sense, this union between the two progenitors of the Jewish
nation, symbolizes the relationship between the two components of each
individual--the body and the soul. Rivkah was from Charan, a place which
was primarily materialistic. Isaac, on the other hand, symbolizes the spiritual
dimension, as he had already been consecrated as a "perfect offering" by
his willingness to be sacrificed upon the altar. Their marriage epitomized
the unity between these two contradictory concepts.
A Jew's soul, even when enclothed in a physical body, is totally at one with
G-d, for it is "an actual part of G-d." The mission for which it is sent
down into this corporeal world is to bring about a change in the material
realm, elevating physical objects by performing mitzvot. This unity
of the spiritual and the physical is achieved when the light of the soul
is reflected within the body, and the body becomes nullified to the demands
of the soul.
Ultimately, the unity achieved between body and soul should extend to the
point that it is obvious that all of a person's activities are performed
by both in tandem. Afterwards, this unity should be extended into the world
at large, so as to encompass every dimension of existence in the entire world.
In this manner, the Jew acts as G-d's emissary, transforming the world into
a dwelling place for G-dliness. Thus, the Jew becomes an extension of G-dliness,
in the same way that an emissary shares a single purpose and a single identity
with the one who sent him on his mission.
The ultimate goal of this unity between the spiritual and the physical is
the Era of Redemption, when this unity will be open and apparent. Our task
as Jews is to hasten this process by doing mitzvot and studying Torah,
for it was the giving of the Torah which allowed for the possibility of such
unity. Prior to the Torah's revelation on Mount Sinai, spirituality and
physicality, body and soul, were two distinct entities which could not merge.
When Moshiach comes, speedily in our day, the unity achieved through our
Torah service will be revealed in the world at large, and the union between
body and soul will be consummated.
As the children of Isaac and Rivkah, every dimension of our existence should
therefore be permeated by the awareness of this Divine mission, to make this
world a proper dwelling place for G-d.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that
"The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his
The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this
prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption,
through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.
Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.
The following true story is adapted from a talk given by the Rebbe during
the fall of 1976.
The little Israeli girl was only five years old. One day, in school, a visitor
from Chabad told her class about lighting Shabbat candles. Although
she and her classmates were far below the age of bat mitzvah, declared
the young woman, they could nonetheless participate in this mitzvah.
When the little girl came home that Friday, and excitedly told her mother
about her new discovery, her mother replied that she knew nothing about this
whole business (she had received no Jewish education whatsoever). "Did you
ever hear of such a thing!" exclaimed the mother angrily. "A little girl
should want to do things that her own mother doesn't do, and bring new ideas
into the house!"
But we all know what young children are like. The little girl started to
cry and she pleaded with her mother. "I'm not asking you to do anything.
All I'm asking is that you should let me do it. I have a candle-holder; they
gave me one in school. I know the blessing; they also gave me a paper with
the instructions on when and how to light the candle. Please let me light
Mother gave in. "All right, do whatever you want. But stop crying, and leave
me in peace."
Our little girl was overjoyed. She put the candle on the dining room table,
lit it herself, made the blessing, and was in seventh heaven! She went around
from one member of the family to the other, warning each one of them in her
childish but serious way, that no one should touch her candle or blow it
When mother and father saw that it wasn't so terrible after all, they let
her light the candle the next Friday without any fuss. The little girl again
lit it with the same delight and enthusiasm as the first week, and her infectious
joy spread to the rest of the family.
A few weeks went by. One Friday the father said that "it just somehow didn't
seem right" to have the television on with the little one walking around
the house singing Shabbat songs, and with the candle burning on the
table. While the candle was lit, he could not bring himself to turn on the
television. Some time later the telephone rang and mother did not answer
it, because the candle was still lit.
Weeks later mother surveyed the Friday night scene and decided that something
was wrong. How strange it looked to see just the single candle burning on
the table, to see her little daughter full of joy and telling everyone that
it was a holy day, etc., while she, the mother, was busy as if it were just
an ordinary day. "It just doesn't seem right! I'm going to start lighting
candles, too!" Once she started lighting candles, she could not bring herself
to turn on the oven. "After all, I have just declared in the blessing that
it is the Holy Shabbat; how can I now go ahead with making supper--and
turn the oven on or off in violation of the Sabbath?"
No one likes cold food; so mother started to make "cholent" (the
traditional Shabbat stew allowed to cook from Friday afternoon until
Shabbat afternoon) for the midday meal. Naturally, the whole
"cholent" procedure affected the way they did things and the meals
they ate the next day, too.
Later, mother decided that since she was now lighting candles, she would
dress up in honor of the Friday night atmosphere.
And so it went on. From one thing to another. From one aspect of
Shabbat to another. From one small candle lit by one little girl following
a scene and tears; to refraining from doing work while the candle was still
burning; to the mother's beginning to light Shabbat candles; from
there to the wearing of nicer clothes in honor of Shabbat; and on
to refraining from all types of work prohibited on Shabbat.
Eventually the entire family and household became transformed. This family
has now returned completely to their tradition and heritage. All, because
of the light of one Shabbat candle!
The Jewish Women's Guide To Lighting Shabbat
LIGHT IS BORN . . . DARKNESS RECEDES
Peace descends on the Jewish home every Shabbat.
The news of the day may tell of murder and mayhem, politics and pollution,
disease and disaster - indeed the global catalogue of human misery. For ours
is a threatening world. One in which the Jewish spirit is under constant
assault by hypocrisy, injustice and rampant immorality.
But there is a divine spark in each of us. And so, there is hope. For light
is a compelling force that will always triumph over darkness.
Fire touches wick. Flame reaches upward. Another home is bathed in peace
and holiness, in warmth and unity.
A Jewish woman has invited the Shabbat Queen into her home. The darkness
of the day's headlines recedes, exiled by the peaceful glow of candles.
It is truly a gift from on high.
All that is good, all that is holy is symbolized - indeed realized - in the
flickering light of the Shabbat candles:
* * *
Tradition recounts the miracle of our Matriarch Sarah, whose Shabbat
candles burned from Friday eve to Friday eve.
Our sages tell of our Matriarch Rivkah, who lit Shabbat candles from
the tender age of three.
Two millennia ago, the Holy Zohar declared that a woman kindling her
Shabbat candles with joy in her heart brings peace on earth, long
life to her loved ones, and is blessed with children who illuminate our world
And in our generation, the Rebbe said: "Let every woman - young girls included
- add her holy light to illuminate the world shrouded in darkness and confusion."
* * *
Lighting Shabbat candles is the historic responsibility of every Jewish
wife and mother. But in our times their light is not enough . . .
Today we also need the holy flame of every Jewish girl in order to keep the
forces of darkness at bay.
These are times when children look beyond home and hearth, in quest of their
own identity and the desire to create a meaningful life for themselves.
Let them hold a candle all their own . . . Let them kindle a flame of their
own . . . Let them bring their aspirations in sync with the divine warmth
of the Shabbat light.
Jewish Girls! Your mothers need you. Your people need you. Your future
as Jewish women cries out for you to enter its service now.
Jewish Mothers! As soon as your daughter is old enough to recite
the blessing, teach her to kindle her own Shabbat candle. Because
darkness is all around us, and only you have the power to drive it away.
2. Adapted from the brochure published by: The Lubavitch Women's Candle Lighting
LAWS OF SHABBAT CANDLE LIGHTING
FOR THE BLIND
See Below Laws of
Shabbat Candle Lighting for the Blind
Just as candles are lit in honor of Shabbat, so are they lit in honor
of the festivals.
Various blessings are recited on the different festivals. (See our
"Festival/Holiday Guides" published before every Festival/Holiday, for the
NOTE: When lighting after the onset of a festival, a preexisting flame must
be used to light the candles, as it is prohibited to create a new fire by
striking a match or lighter, etc. However, it is permissible to use, or transfer
live, from a flame burning continuously since the onset of the festival -
such as a pilot light, gas or candle flame.
SHABBAT CANDLE LIGHTING BLESSING
See Below Shabbat Candle
Eight plus ten plus five is 23. Add to that 40, 6, 300, 100 and 1 and you
have the number 470. But 470 isn't just the sum of a random set of numbers.
In Hebrew, each letter has a numerical value. And the numbers listed above
are the numerical values of the Hebrew letters that spell the name of Rebbetzin
Chaya Mushka, the Rebbe's wife.
One of the very first activities initiated in memory of the Rebbetzin was
"Project 470," a division of the Lubavitch Women's Organization Candle Lighting
Campaign. Esther Sternberg, coordinator of the campaign since its inception
at the Rebbe's behest in 1974, tells about the background of Project 470.
"We had scheduled our annual fund-raising event for the 26th of Shevat
that year (5748/1988). We sent the invitation to the Rebbe and received the
Rebbe's blessing. When the Rebbetzin passed away just days before the event,
which meant that it would take place during the shivah (the week of
mourning), we thought to postpone it. But, as we had already received the
Rebbe's blessing we decided to go ahead.
"At the evening itself," remembers Mrs. Sternberg, "we announced that we
were establishing a special fund in the Rebbetzin's memory that would be
devoted exclusively to publicizing, through newspaper and radio ads, the
special mitzvah of Shabbat candles."
At that point, the project did not yet have a name. It was through a comment
made by the Rebbe that this far-reaching project received its name. Explains
Mrs. Sternberg, "Right after the Rebbe got up from shivah, we were
told that the Rebbe wanted to see my father (Rabbi Shneur Zalman Gurary,
shlita) and me. My father and I were both with the Rebbetzin in her
last moments, and we thought that maybe the Rebbe wanted to ask us some
questions. When we arrived in the Rebbe's office he was holding the invitation
to our evening. Someone had informed the Rebbe about the fund. The Rebbe
wanted to give $470 'al shem hanifteres'--in the name of the departed--and
another dollar that the project should be a success."
Animatedly, Mrs. Sternberg describes the rest of the audience with the Rebbe:
"The Rebbe gave many, many blessings for the Candle Lighting Campaign and
said that anyone who inspires others to light Shabbat candles, as
well as those who begin to light Shabbat candles, 'yair
mazalon'--their fortune will shine. The Rebbe showered blessings on anyone
who would be involved."
The main undertaking of Project 470 has been a classified ad on the front
page of the New York Times every Friday, reminding Jewish women and
girls to light Shabbat candles. The ad includes the correct time for
candle lighting that week in New York City as well as the computerized telephone
system (718-774-3000) that gives the candle lighting time for any location
in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. This classified
ad has run consecutively for the last 12 years.
Mrs. Sternberg notes that she constantly receives calls for candle lighting
times around the world, which is not surprising, as the front page of the
New York Times is duplicated in all foreign editions as well. A system
to allow callers to receive computerized information for the entire world
is currently being created for Project 470.
Although there are hundreds of stories connected to the Candle Lighting Campaign
in general, Mrs. Sternberg retells one unique incident: "Exactly 21 years
ago, I was going to Israel. I saw many Jewish college students who were also
on their way to Israel in the El Al area at the airport. Always eager to
encourage more Jewish girls and women to light Shabbat candles, I
approached the young women and asked them if they light Shabbat candles.
They all answered affirmatively. They were very proud and excitedly told
me about their interaction with Chabad on their college campuses around the
country. I was elated by their positive responses."
Continues Mrs. Sternberg: "In those days the El Al security system included
booths that were electronically monitored. As I was planning on going to
a few European countries after Israel to talk about the Candle Lighting Campaign,
I had an entire suitcase full of candlesticks with me. I was afraid the metal
detectors would be set off by the candlesticks, so when I was about to enter
the cubicle, I told the security guard in Hebrew, 'I'm afraid to go in.'
He told me not to be afraid. He saw I was in a very good mood and commented
on it. 'You can't imagine how happy I am,' I told the officer, truly exuberant
over my conversations with the college students and my trip to Israel.
"'So, Madam, maybe you have neshek?' the officer asked me with a twinkle
in his eyes. I was sure that he had seen me talking with the students and
had seen me pull out some candlesticks from my suitcase." In Israel, the
Candle Lighting Campaign is well known as Mivtza Neshek.
Neshek, which literally means 'weapons' is an acronym for Neirot
Shabbat Kodesh--Holy Shabbat Candles. "We consider 'Neshek'
as one of the 'weapons' in the Rebbe's war against assimilation and apathy.
"I said proudly, 'Of course I have Neshek, a whole suitcase full!'
Instantly an alarm was sounded and within seconds five police came running
to the little cubicle to arrest me."
With a chuckle, Mrs. Sternberg remembers, "I opened the suitcase and showed
them what was inside. 'I am talking about a different kind of Neshek
altogether,' I told them innocently."
May the Shabbat candles, of the millions of
Jewish women and girls around the world,
illuminate our way, until we very soon see
the fulfillment of G-d's promise (as it is written
in the Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Beha'alotecha)):
"If you will observe the kindling of the Shabbat lights,
you will merit to see the lights of the redemption
of the Jewish people," speedily in our days, NOW!
Jewish Women and Girls Light Shabbat
For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ
Friday, Nov. 5, Erev Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah:
Light Shabbat Candles,(3) by 4:31 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 6, Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah:
Blessing of the New Month, Kislev.(4)
Shabbat ends at nightfall, at 5:32 p.m.
3. The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes
before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration
of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.
4. Rosh Chodesh Kislev is on Tuesday, Nov. 9, and Wednesday, Nov.
Edited by Rabbi Y. K. Marlow*
If she is eating and lighting in the company of others who are non-visually
impaired, and they lit the Shabbat candles, she should light her own
Shabbat candle(s), but without the blessing.
*. Head of Bet-Din (Rabbinical Court) of Crown Heights.
BO-RUCH A-TOH ADO-NOI E-LO-HEI-NU ME-LECH HO-OLOM
A-SHER KI-DE-SHO-NU BE-MITZ-VO-SOV VE-TZI-VO-NU
LE-HAD-LIK NER SHEL SHA-BOS KO-DESH.
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments,
and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.
The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes
before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration
of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.