Candles For You

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There is a wonderful organization, Arachim that is involved in kiruv bringing back ba’alei teshuvah. Every year, the grouphosts a seminar where people repeat their personal stories of their path to a religious lifestyle. The following is onegentleman’s account.

This man, let’s call him Yossi, lived in Elad and moved to Bnei Brak. But, because of the constant shootings plaguing his region,his wife was worried and did not want their daughter, Elana, to go on any buses. The only school in Bnei Brak that did not require a bus ride was the religious institution. Although thecouple was not religious, they chose to send their daughter to this school. Everyday Elana would return home discussing a new mitzvah. Her mother was then forced to come up with an excuse why they failed to keep each one.

One Friday afternoon Elana marched into the house asking, “Mommy why don’t we light Shabbat candles? My teacher said that every mother kindles candles.” The mother replied, “The only time of year we light candles is on Yom Ha’atzmaut.” Thefollowing Friday, little Elana again questioned her mother again about lighting candles. Once again, the mother said she does notpractice that custom. The third week Elana decided to take matters into her owns hands. One hour before Shabbat, she ranto the makolet (grocery store). The grocer who knows the familywell, wondered why young Elana wanted Shabbat candles. The grocer knew that this family was no Shabbat observant. So, the grocer figured that Elana was sent down by her parents for yahrzeit candles. Elana did not know the difference, so she returned home with these two memorial candles. As the family sat down for Friday night dinner, Yossi and his wife called out for Elana to join them at the table. Elana’s parents then proceeded to knock on her bedroom door but received no response. To their surprise, when then opened the door, they found little Elana sitting calmly with her two memorial candles.They question, “What is this all about?” Elana replied, “One is for my father, and one is for my mother.”

Yossi felt like he had just gotten a punch in the stomach. Onecandle was for the father who killed all the halachot in klal Yisrael. And the other candle is for the mother who killed all the minhagim for the Jewish people. That Shabbat, Yossi did not feel comfortable going to work. The following Shabbat, he again did not feel comfortable driving. Slowly but surely, Yossibecame a God-fearing religious member of klal Yisrael.

This story has been brought to you by Stories to Inspire, an organization with close to 3,000 stories from klal Yisrael’s most inspirational rabbanim and speakers. Visit their website at, call their hotline at (718) 400-7145, or join their WhatsApp broadcast and receive a story a day! WhatsApp “subscribe” to (310) 210-1205 to join.