Photo Credit: Mosaica Press

Title: The Lamplighter: Experiences Of A Chabad Rebbetzin
Esther Feinstein
Mosaica Press



Rebbetzin Feinstein has written a very interesting book about her life on Shlichis in Wisconsin. Definition of Shlichus from Shlichus refers to a Chabad rabbi-and-wife couple who are dispatched to a certain locale to foster Jewish life and serve the population in any way possible. It is a useful book to any young person thinking to follow her path. It is a good look at the victories and sacrifices that make up such a life.

Many years ago, I was sent to a Chabad House to “absorb,” by a Rabbi who was guiding my return to Judaism. To his disappointment, I never left and have stayed on and continue to learn Chassidic philosophy. After that disclosure, I will describe the Rebbetzin’s book.

The book cover is a classic Lubavitcher image. It is a dim street lamp glowing in a dark brown miasma. The image reflects a foundational paradigm from the Fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Schneerson (1860-1920) “that a chassid is like a lamplighter.” The chassid lights up the souls of others.

Her book is composed of short, in-the-moment vignettes, almost as revealing as a personal journal entry. It is a very effective way of communicating the complexities, nuances, and endurance required by the chassidic practice of doctor of souls. The Rebbetzin has been very honest.

I would recommend this book to any helping professional who works with people for insight into the power of listening to enable others to help themselves. It is also a good source for an ethnographic study on Chassidic couples. I would recommend it to women as a good read on the power of women’s nurturing, emotional observation, and caring qualities to heal the world, one person at a time.

Women have many roles and we can be good at all of them. The Rebbetzin is specializing in kosher meal preparation and “living to help others.” May she be blessed.

The book is a good read. It has been closely edited. I’m a fast reader and this book did not go quickly. Be prepared to have it around for a while and come back to it. It is like letters from a friend, if we still wrote letters. It is food for thought, a full meal, not a snack.


Previous articleGetting Ready To Receive The Torah
Next articleRevitalizing Our Prayers (Part Nine)
Janice Hayward has studied Chassidic philosophy and Torah for many years. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and many grandchildren.