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The Rebbe first spoke about the idea that all Jewish women and girls should adopt the custom that was in Beis HaRav (the home of the Rabbeyim), that all women and girls light Shabbos candles––not just married women––during the Sicha of Chof Daled Elul 5734/1974. That Sicha was to the “Askonios of Tomchei Tmimim and Beis Rivkah.”

Sicha (Page 4) | Audio

On the following day, Chof Hei Elul 5735/1974, the Rebbe reiterated how special and important this new initiative is, stressing the fact that even a three-year-old girl can light the Shabbos candles on her own. 

Sicha (Seif Gimmel) | Audio

At first the campaign was called "Mivtza Hadlakos Neiros Shabbos" but it soon received its famous name "Mivtza Neshek," which stands for Neiros Shabbos Kodesh.

The first step in the campaign was to make it public. Even before Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Leibel Groner turned to Mrs. Esther Sternberg, who was then part of N'shei Chabad, and is now the head of the Neshek Campaign, and told her the Rebbe's message––that an advertisement should be prepared for the press even before Yom Tov. N'shei Chabad prepared a draft and it was looked over by the late Rabbi Nissan Gordon, and was eventually sent to print.

By the next Farbrengen, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Rebbe spoke about the campaign and announced that any girl who joins the campaign will receive a special gift from the Rebbe––2 dimes.

Sichos Kodesh (Seif Gimmel & Hei)

Rosh Hashanah that year was on Tuesday and Wednesday. News of the Rebbe's "gift" spread very quickly the day after Yom Tov, in all the girls' schools in the area. On Friday the organizers received hundreds of dimes, but did not know how many girls to expect. The distribution ran out of Mrs. Sternberg's private home. Each girl would give their name and their mother's name to receive the Rebbe's Brocha and the dimes.

On Erev Yom Kippur, the Rebbe would distribute Lekach to men and on Hoshanah Rabo to women. Mrs. Sternberg would go as well on Erev Yom Kippur. That year, when she passed by, the Rebbe asked her if she had any dimes left, to which she responded that she had very few left. The Rebbe gave her a handful of coins from his pocket and said that if she needs more she should contact the Mazkirus. The coin distribution lasted until after Sukkos. (In Eretz Yisroel it lasted for years.)

On Vov Tishrei 5735/1974, the Rebbe again spoke about the campaign, taking a lesson of the effect a young girl can have from the story of Miriam Bas Bilgah.

Sicha (Sief Alef-Beis) | Audio | Yuman | Derher

On Motzei Shabbos Parshas Bereishis 5735/1974, the Rebbe again spoke about the power of the Jewish woman, especially regarding Neiros Shabbos Kodesh, connecting it to the idea of V’Yakov Holach L’Darko.

Sicha (Seif Zayin) | Audio

On Chof Cheshvan 5735/1974, The Rebbe held the first-ever weekday Chof Cheshvan Farbrengen. The Rebbe said that one of the reasons why he’s Farbrenging specifically today and not waiting until Shabbos, is in order to give over an amazing lesson in good time, so that already by this Shabbos more people will take on this “Minhag Tov” of lighting Shabbos Candles. The lesson was from Parshas Chayei Sarah, that week's Parsha, about the candles that Rivka lit after Sarah’s passing at the age of three years old. Even though Avraham continued to light the candles after Sarah’s passing, it was the three-year-old Rivka who caused them to last all week long, like Sarah’s did.

Sicha (Seif Gimmel & End of Daled)| Audio | Living Torah

Only a few weeks later, on Yud Tes Kislev 5735/1974, the Rebbe discussed the campaign again and refuted any questions one may have about the campaign, like how a young girl is able to make a Brocha and the like. (Seif Vov).

Sicha (Seif Vov) | Audio

A few weeks later, on Motzei Zos Chanukah 5735/1974, the Rebbe again spoke about the campaign and once again refuted many objections that people might have. 

Sicha (Seif Gimmel) | Audio

On Yud Daled Nissan 5735/1975, the Rebbe called in Rabbi Yosef Weinberg, Rabbi Yakov Yehudah Hecht and Rabbi Dovid Raskin, and told them that in honor of the “Lichticke Shturem” regarding Neshek they should make a Lichticke Farbrengen. The Rebbe then pulled out from his desk drawer custom made matchboxes which had “Neiros Shabbos Kodesh - Yud Alef Nissan 5735” written on it (which someone gave to the Rebbe on Yud Alef Nissan) and handed one to each person there. This was also when Mrs. Sternberg was appointed to lead the Mivtza Neshek initiative.

On Yud Alef Nissan 5735/1975, after receiving those matchboxes, the Rebbe briefly discussed Mivtza Neshek.

Sicha (Seif Hei) | Audio

On Tes Tammuz 5735/1975, Rabbi Chodakov delivered the message that the Rebbe requested that special candlesticks be made to give out to women to light candles. The directors of the Mivtza Neshek project made a few different samples of the candles, and the Rebbe requested they be brought to the Farbrengen of Yud Beis Tammuz 5735/1975.

On 24 Elul 5735/1975, one year since the launch of Mivtza Neshek, the Rebbe once again said a special Sicha to N’shei Chabad where the Rebbe stressed on the importance of Mivtza Neshek.

Sicha (Seif Yud Tes) | Audio

A few days later, on Vov Tishrei 5736/1975, the Rebbe spoke about how the introduction of having young girls light candles again has brought about a change in some homes already. The Rebbe spoke of one case in which he knows about a young girl who was taught about Shabbos candles in summer camp, and insisted on doing it when she got back home. Her insistence made the rest of her family realize how they’d been lacking Shabbos in their home, and ultimately “turned over” the whole house.

Sicha (Seif Beis-Gimmel-Daled) | Audio | Living Torah

The Rebbe discussed Mivtza Neshek many times throughout the years since its launch, usually around Vov Tishrei, the Rebbe’s mother, Rebbetzin Chana’s Yartzeit, for example:

Chof Ches Elul 5739 (Seif 17-21): Sicha | Audio | English | Yoman

There are many more Sichos from 5735 and the years following on this topic. We were not able to include them all here. For some more Sichos that were not included in this list, check out the Likkut Sichos and Michtovim from the Launch until 5742 which was published for the yearly Mivtza Neshek Melaveh Malka, which the Rebbe mentioned in many Sichos as well.


Read a complete overview of the Rebbe’s Mivtza Neshek in Hebrew

Likkut Sichos & Michtovim from Vaad Mivtza neshek 5742

Likkut Mainos Kodesh on Mivtza Neshek  

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Neiros Shabbos Kodesh is only one of the three Mitzvos special for women. The three are Challah, Nidah/Taharas Hamishpacha and Hadlakas Ner Shabbos Kodesh, which is the Acronym of Chanah. The Rebbe commonly spoke about these Mitzvos on Vov Tishrei, the Yartzeit of the Rebbe’s mother, Rebbetzin Chanah.

There are three fundamental Mitzvos entrusted to every Jewish woman.

Separating challah “from the first of your dough” shows that before benefiting from anything in this world, we “set aside an offering for G‑d.” By knowing that the beginning of everything is for G‑d, the entire home becomes a dwelling place for Him.  Find out more about Separating Challah here

Every day the Cohen Gadol kindled the menorah’s lights, brightening the Holy Temple and the entire world with divine light. The Midrash teaches that this G‑dly luminescence will return in the merit of Jewish women lighting Shabbos candles, brightening their homes, and passersby with the light of Torah and Mitzvos.  Learn more about Mivtza Neshek here

The “Well of Miriam” provided the Jews in the desert the ability to perform the mitzvah of family purity. This commandment is so vital that the entire Jewish people, and even G‑d Himself, waited an entire week in the desert until Miriam could proceed with them.  Check out our page on Mivtza Taharas Hamishpacha

To read more about the three Mitzvos for every Jewish Woman click hereTo watch a class from Rabbi Shais Taub on the three Mitzvos click here.


Yud Zayin Sivan 5740: Living Torah

Vov Tisrei 5743 (towards the end of the Farbrengen): Sicha | Audio | Video | English

The Rebbe commonly spoke about the idea on Vov Tishrei, for example, Vov Tisrei 5733, Vov Tisrei 5734, Vov Tisrei 5735, Vov Tisrei 5736, Vov Tisrei 5737, Vov Tisrei 5738 and many more. To learn those Farbrengens click here