My Mother’s Shabbos Candles

by Sarah Goldberg

This coming Shabbos, Chof Menachem Av, marks the Shloshim of our mother, Bracha Finkelstein, OBM. 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. We ask you to join us in honoring her with the mitzvah uniquely given to the Jewish women.

Back in the late 70’s a brief and special moment took place in Kings Plaza, of all places, which created a great ripple effect. It was a fall day, right around Thanksgiving. My mother was there, a fresh new balas 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.

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

Not deterred, my mother pulled out a pamphlet about Bais Chana in Minnesota.

“Well maybe you’ll be interested in a Jewish woman’s learning institute.”

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

In the merit of this brief incident, this searching young woman became Lubavitch, married and today B”H has seven children and eighteen grandchildren, some of whom are shluchiim.

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.

In her merit we want to ask all Jewish women and girls to please take on lighting Shabbos candles five minutes early or before the 18 minutes this Shabbos Parshas Ekev.

In a sicha from Parshas Chayei Sarah (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 Tzion and usher in the geulah. May it be speedily now!

L’elui Nishmas Brocha Leah Chava Bas Shmuel Finkelstein, OBM.


  • 1. Ilana wrote:

    Beautiful Sarah.may Hashem comfert you and your sister among the mourner of Yerushalayim

  • 2. beautiful wrote:

    wow your mother was clearly someone special.
    Will IYH make the extra effort to bentsch licht early/on time tomorrow, something i always struggle with!

    thanks for the inspiration
    yehi zichrah baruch. May you be reunited with her with the coming of moshiach now.

  • 3. R wrote:

    What a beautiful woman. May you and your family be comforted and be reunited immediately.

  • 4. esther(Benarroch)Michael wrote:

    your mother was a real eishes chayil, and a very special friend, sara malka and meira may you both be comforted and may we only hear of simchas.

  • 5. amy LIeberman wrote:

    On my list of things to do today is to go to Inspiration Gallery in New Rochelle and speak with Edna the owner about Shabbos and lighting candles for your mom thanks for this lovely writing will do! xo

  • 6. sara wrote:

    What a beautiful idea. I will IY”H light 5 minutes before licht bentchen in your mother’s zechus.

  • 8. Jill Edelman Barberie wrote:

    In memory of your mom, my beloved cousin, her light always resides in my heart. I can picture her going over to this now friend and sharing her faith, love and passion, all of which has made her daughters beloved in the world and her most precious legacy.

  • 9. Sasha wrote:

    Thanks, Sarah, what an inspiring story! I always struggle with lighting on time; I will make an extra effort this week.


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