Our Mother’s Shabbos Custom

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The family of Bracha Finkelstein OBM is asking the public to join them in emulating one of her Shabbos customs.

by Sarah Goldberg

This coming Shabbos, Chof Menachem Av, marks the Shloshim – 30 days since the passing of our mother, Bracha Finkelstein, a wellness professional and member of the Chabad community in Los Angeles.

In her honor we want to share with you that which she instilled within my sister and I, the power of Jewish women and their Shabbos candles.

Back in the late 70’s, a brief and special moment took place in Kings Plaza in Brooklyn which created a great ripple effect. It was a fall day, right around Thanksgiving. My mother was there, a fresh new baalas teshuva, and she spotted a young woman whom she quickly approached.

“Are you Jewish?” she asked.

The bewildered young woman responded coldly, “Yes?”

To which my mother handed her a candle lighting packet which theRebbe has encouraged to give out as part of the Neshek Campaign.

“Oh, I’m not interested in this,” the woman responded abruptly and uninterested.

Not deterred, my mother pulled out a pamphlet about Bais Chana Women International in Minnesota. “Well, maybe you’ll be interested in a Jewish woma’s learning institute.”

The young woman took the pamphlet and on it she found a list of questions she was having herself, such as what it means to be Jewish.

Let’s fast forward to the present time: In the merit of this brief incident, this searching young woman became Lubavitch, married and today Baruch Hashem has 7 children and 18 grandchildren, some of whom are Shluchim.

But it is another custom our mother had connected to Shabbos candles that we wold like to highlight.

Our mother always made a special effort to light Shabbos candles on time. She felt strongly about doing the mitzvah that we women were uniquely given, the right way, by lighting on time.

We ask you to join us in honoring Brocha Leah Chava bas Shmuel this Shabbos Parshas Ekev by taking on lighting Shabbos candles 5 minutes early or before the 18 minutes.

In a sicha (Likutei Sichos Vol. 15 pg 173), the Rebbe emphasizes the midrash in Yalkut Shimoni. There it says that through lighting Shabbos candles we will merit that Hashem will show us the lights of Zion and usher in the redemption. May it be speedily now!

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