Before I start this story, I need to tell you two things. First, my mother dislikes dogs (so do I, but that isn’t part of this story), and second, one of our neighbors doesn’t like us (but that is another story).
So my story begins in 2014 when the war in Israel broke out — “Operation Protective Edge,” on July 8th. After many Jewish soldiers were wounded, a group of mothers in my school got together and organised Neshek packages. Each contained the brachos, information about lighting candles in general, two tea lights, and the name of a wounded Israeli soldier who needed a healing. Between the three of us, my two sisters and I brought home four of these Neshek packages.
On Friday afternoon, as Shabbos was fast approaching and everyone was busy getting ready, my mother saw these packages and felt that if she didn’t give them out to the neighbours who live on our street, no one would be lighting candles for the soldiers. So my mother went to two of our friendly neighbours, who she knew would not refuse her and who would give her an extra boost to go on to our other neighbours. The third lady my mother went to was very receptive and open to the idea and asked my mother about the Brachos and what she should do, so my mother showed her.
And then, my mother was left with one more Neshek package and our unfriendly neighbour. She had an internal debate about what she should do. “They don’t like us, but someone needs to light Shabbos candles for this soldier, but they don’t like us AND they have a dog…”
Finally, my mother courageously walked up the steps of the house and rang the doorbell. She still had thoughts of quickly leaving, but she remained rooted in her spot. When the lady finally opened the door, she rolled her eyes upwards as if to say, “What do you want?” My mother explained that the package contained the name of a wounded Israeli soldier and asked if she would be willing to light the candles for his recovery. As they stood there, the dog came barking and running outside and leapt onto my mother. She stood there calmly and said hello to the dog.
Later, when my mother told me about her experience, she said, “And I wasn’t even scared of the dog!” At this last comment, I replied, “Of course you were not afraid — when you are busy with the Rebbe’s Candle Lighting Campaign, the Rebbe is with you!”
And that Shabbos, our candles shone with an extra special glow.
— Faigy Amzalak, Age 13
Beth Rivkah Ladies College