Published and Copyrighted 1978 by “OTZAR HACHASSIDIM”
770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y.
After the children recited the Twelve Torah verses and Talmudic Passages,’ the Rebbe Shlita addressed them as follows:
In addition to what was said recently2 to the children of the day camps (subsequently published, and no doubt conveyed to you) —
Which, of course, is meant also for you, as well as for other girls returning from summer camps,
We will say a few words especially for the benefit of Jewish daughters, Jewish girls.
There is the well-known teaching of the Baal Shem Tov3 (often repeated by my father-in-law of saintly memory, the Nasi — head — of our generation) that everything a Jew (young or old) sees or hears, should make him think what lesson he should learn from it to improve his conduct in the everyday life — in any situation; bearing in mind that whatever the situation, it is connected with a Jew’s main purpose in life, which is to serve G-d.4
This, of course, is connected with Emunah (which is also the name of your camp) — faith in G-d, which every Jew (young and old) believes deeply:
Since every Jew believes that G-d created the world and keeps it going every minute,6 including this very moment, it follows that everything that happens at any given moment comes from G-d. Therefore, everything that comes within the sight or hearing of a person must have some meaning for that person, seeing that G-d has brought it to his (or her) attention.
It is also certain that this meaning has to do with the (abovementioned) purpose for which he (or she) has been created. For, since G-d declares that every Jew is “the work of My Hands, to be proud of,”7 the better one serves G-d, the prouder and more glorified G-d is.
What has been said above is part of a person’s education (Chinuch).
Now, you have surely heard of the “Chinuch Campaign,” which helps Jewish children in their education, so that they should know how to conduct themselves not only when they are young, but also later on, when they become grown-ups.
Children’s education begins even before they start school.
The Gemoro8 rules (and the Alter Rebbe includes it in his Shulchan Aruch9) that as soon as a child begins to speak, his father should teach him Torah,l0 etc. Thus, long before the child begins to go to school, his (or her) Jewish education begins.
Even toys and games are a way of teaching little children, boys and girls.
Let us talk about girls’ toys and see what can be learned from them.
One of the favorite pastimes of little girls is to play with dolls.
The purpose of giving a doll to a little Jewish girl is to help prepare her for the time when G-d will bless her to become a wife and mother, and will take care of her own home. She will then know how to conduct her home in the way G-d wants her to, and, especially, how to bring up her children in the way G-d wants them to be raised.
So, when the girl is still very young, she is given a doll made of plastic or other material, which looks just like a little baby, to play with and “take care” of.
Later, when the little girl grows bigger, she begins to help her mother in her Jewish kitchen. When mother bakes Challah for Shabbos, she gives her little girl a piece of dough to let her make her own little Challah, and involves her also in other preparations for Shabbos and Yom Tov and in the general conduct of the home.
Other (non-Jewish) peoples also have their own ways of bringing up their children. But our Jewish people certainly was the first to show what true education is and how to bring up and train Jewish children in Yiddishkeit from a very tender age.
And in the case of Jewish daughters — special attention is given them to train them, when they are still very young, how to go about with children and domestic chores,
All of which prepares a Jewish daughter for her serious and important role, when she will be in charge of the “Chinuch Campaign” in her own home.
Of course, every Jewish girl, on her part, must do her best to make the fullest use of this learning and training period.
To be sure, learning to raise children and taking care of the home are duties and responsibilities that come after marriage; thus there is ample time to train for them since the training begins at an early age. Therefore, the training can be done slowly and gradually, in the course of time.
There are, however, certain duties which have to be fulfilled long before marriage, and the preparation for them must begin earlier and proceed at a faster pace.
This brings us to the important subject, about which we have spoken many times,” and should now be emphasized again, namely, the matter of lighting the candles of Shabbos and Yom-Tov.
Every Jewish girl, on reaching the age of Bas Mitzvah, has to fulfill the Mitzvah of lighting a candle (in good time before sunset) in honor of the holy Shabbos and Yom-Tov.
But before reaching the age of Bas Mitzvah, there is the Mitzvah of Chinuch, requiring that as soon as a Jewish girl is old enough to understand something about the importance of this shining Mitzvah, she should start lighting candles regularly, before every Shabbos and Yom-Tov.
I am sure that everyone of you — having so often heard about this great Mitzvah — does light the Shabbos and Yom-Tov candles regularly, and also fulfills the good customl3 (at any rate from time to time, and bli-neder) of giving Tzedakah (a penny or several centsl4) — before lighting the candles.
One cannot overemphasize the importance of every Jewish girl’s conduct, for it is she, along with her mother and older sisters, who was given the privileged assignments to bring the sacred light of Shabbos and Yom-Tov into the Jewish home. And it is a very meaningful assignment.
As soon as she reaches the age of Chinuch (when her training to do Mitzvos begins) — she learns to recite the Berachah, blessing G-d, and thanking Him, especially, for giving her the honor of fulfilling the Mitzvah that fills the house with holy light,
Which prepares her also for the time when she will be married and will fill her home with light in her role as Akeres Habayis, the Baleboste of her house.
And when she will be blessed with children, including daughters, whom she will raise in the same way as she had been raised, that they, too, will bring the light of Yiddishkeit into their homes, which will make their homes bright and happy in every way.
In this way, the whole world also becomes brighter and happier.
Since “G-d rewards in kind”16 (according to the nature of the Mitzvah) — the reward for fulfilling the Mitzvah of lighting the Holy Shabbosl7candles is of the same kind, in terms of light.
This is — as can be seen from the Zohar — that through the Mitzvah of the Holy Shabbos candles the Mazal of the person lighting them brightens up, as well as the Mazal of the whole household; and, in the case of little girls it brightens especially the Mazal of her parents and teachers who trained her to do Mitzvos in general, and the Mitzvah of the candle-lighting in particular.
In this way, the Mazal of all Jews in the neighborhood also shines more brightly, as well as the Mazal of the whole world.
Last but not least — this will bring the fulfillment of the Divine promise: “If you keep the Mitzvah of the Shabbos lights, I will show you the Lights of Zion (the Beis HaMikdash)”19
For, the observance of this Mitzvah, together with the other Mitzvosz0, will bring closer the Geulah, when the Kohanim will once again kindle the lights of the holy Menorah in the Third Beis HaMikdash, that will be rebuilt by our Righteous Mashiach — may each one of you, together with all our Jewish people, welcome him very soon.
The proper conduct of each one of you, and of all Jewish daughters, in these last days of the Galus, and especially the observance of the Mitzvah of spreading the light of Yiddishkeit, particularly the light of the Shabbos and Yom-Tov candles, including the coming Yom-Tov of Rosh Hashanah,
Will hasten the Geuloh2l of all our people, and G-d will grant each one of you, in the midst of all our people, a Kesivah VaChasimah Tovah for a good and sweet year,22 materially and spiritually.
The Rebbe Shlita requested that the children recite (again) the verse “Torah Tzivah”z3.
Then he gave the counselors copies of the printed Message of 11 Menachem Av, 5738 to be distributed among the girls, as well as two ten-cents coins to each girl, one dime for Tzedakah and one to keep.