few short weeks ago one of the many e-mail
messages that pass through my inbox caught my eye. The
subject line beckoned me to do something to help the
kidnapped Israeli soldiers who are still in captivity. I was
fascinated. What could I, living in NY, do to help Israeli
soldiers taken hostage?
out that this e-mail campaign was an effort
that was spearheaded by Laurie Rappeport, a dynamic woman in
Tzfat, Israel. The e-mail was forwarded to women the world
over and was related to the Mitzvah of Hafrashat
Challah, a Mitzvah specific to women.
women who answered Laurie's call were willing to
dedicate the merit of the Mitzvah of Hafrashat Challah to
the welfare of the imprisoned Israeli soldiers. These women
dedicated the Mitzvah in an effort to affect a positive
change in someone else's life.
the soldiers are still in captivity, but this worldwide
effort by women to help these soldiers really touched a
have issues that we rally for. We all have some
goal that we work for. But the spiritual power of women who
get together to make a difference is a power that makes
involvement in the political world has shown me
this. I have seen the power of lobbyists - and it is a power
to be contended with. Two of the most powerful organizations
in the United States are Mother's Voices and Mother's
Against Drunk Driving. Just the name alone of these
organizations is so powerful, and the fact that it is
mothers who are fighting disease and drunk driving lends a
large measure of credibility.
source of the power of women is a spiritual one.
We are told that the Matriarch's prayed for their
children. Particularly the Matriarch Rachel who still cries
for her children to this day. Our sages tell us that not
only does Rachel present the case of her children's
suffering to G-d, she is the one who is answered.
the Hafrashat Challah story brought me to two
women in my very own neighborhood, the Crown Heights area of
Brooklyn, Yael Leibovitch and Leah Silverstein. They have
groups of 40 or more women who weekly dedicate the merit of
their Mitzvah of Hafrashat Challah to women who don't have
to Yael was quite an eye opener. Not only did I
find out that there are other similar groups in the
Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and many other areas all
over the world but also, that since they started their
program over two years ago countless women have been helped.
Women who had no children for 10 years and more have given
birth after their plight was kept in mind as the merit of
the women doing the special women's Mitzvah of Hafrashat
daughter is part of a group of women who do this
same special thing for their classmates. Some of my
daughter's classmates are not married and some don't have
children. Those who are lucky enough to have both of those
blessings pray for those who don't. They have witnessed the
tremendous power of their prayers which have been answered
when they have dedicated their Mitzvah to help others.
Talmud tells us that the Jews were freed from
Egypt in the merit of the women. And this is not the only
place where great occurrences are attributed to the power of
women. Throughout history women prayed and accomplished for
others - acting as a powerful spiritual lobby. And we can
take pride in the fact that it continues even today.
read about the Mitzvah of Hafrashat Challah press here