Although I have been exceptionally blessed to know Rebbetzin Fink personally, I had never been privileged to attend a LVN event myself, though I had certainly heard enough about it. I wanted the opportunity to actually experience LVN in Boro Park, so I decided go to the Chanukah mesibah, and I am so very glad that I did. Entering Rebbetzin Fink’s home on 60th street, the venue of the weekly shiur in Boro Park, as well as the location of the Chanukah program, gives you a peek into the hub of LVN itself. When you walk into her dining room, which I have done many times, you automatically feel enveloped in its warmth, which definitely reflects on the hostess herself. Tonight, there was a delightful spread laid out on the table to celebrate the Chag; doughnuts, latkes, salads, fruit and candy to tempt any palate. And yet as the girls poured in through the front door it was obvious that they had not come to satisfy their culinary appetite; they had come to feed their souls. And they were not disappointed.
The program began with a shiur, given of course by Rebbetzin Fink herself. She spoke about the ideal way to connect to Hashem, the very human emotions of love which should be directed to the Creator. She expounded on the azus d’kedushah of the Chashmona’im, the fierce spiritual brazenness which enabled them to conquer the Yevanim who are symbolized by the leopard, known for its boldness in the animal kingdom. And she gave the girls a lesson to take with them on the 7th night of Chanukah. Never give up in your quest to serve Hashem. Keep trying to succeed in your struggles, because the fight itself reflects on your sincere desire to overcome the yetzer hara and grow ever closer to the Ribbono shel Olam. The girls were intently focused on every word, drinking in the inspiration that was sure to keep them focused on the goal in the challenges of their lives.
The girls were then privileged to see an audio-visual presentation that featured Harav Mattisyahu Solomon shlita, one of the Gedolei Hador and the Mashgiach of Bais Medrash Gevoha in Lakewood. In measured words that signified how important he felt the message was, he spoke about how vital it was for girls to attend LVN shiurim. He emphasized how LVN enables them to continue to be inspired and hold close their ideals regarding their roles as the future mothers of Klal Yisrael. It was a message that resonated with the audience.
There followed another video which automatically drew in the crowd who responded with exclamations of delight – a video of the very recent LVN Shabbaton. From the responses of the girls, quite a few who had obviously been at the Shabbaton and who were seeing themselves in the video, it was obvious that it had been a remarkable weekend to remember. I myself was quite amazed at the footage shown. It gave off such vibes of camaraderie, optimism and amazing inspiration. I wish I could have been there myself.
The next scheduled activity was the hachnasas kallah package party, a great way to integrate the mitzvah of tzedakah with some good-natured bidding over prettily wrapped packages. The prizes were meant to entice the girls to give their hard-earned cash to kallos in need and it was quite a success. The girls responded very generously, enjoying themselves while raising well over $2,000 for the Hachnasas Kallah Fund.
And then the climax of the evening; the kumzitz led by none other than Malky Giniger, the highly acclaimed and very talented singer. I don’t know if I can adequately describe the emotionally charged atmosphere felt in the room, as the girls poured out their hearts in song after song, attempting to draw ever closer to the Borei Olam through the music of the soul. Their voices harmonized so beautifully as they sang the words of tefillah, words of Tanach and words of Tehillim, each song a reflection of the yearning of the neshamah to make an ever-greater connection to our Father in heaven. It was touching and inspiring to see the girls so emotionally invested in the moment.
There is no doubt that everyone who came to the LVN Chanukah mesibah that evening took something very special home with them that night. The feeling that they are so fortunate to be part of something uniquely exceptional; to belong to a group that recognizes that we are gifted with a sacred mission; a mission that Rebbetzin Fink emphasizes at every opportunity. “You are part of the Am Hanivchar – realize how lucky you are that you were chosen and make the most of every opportunity for growth, to constantly strive to develop a stronger connection with He who gave you this gift.” Which perfectly encapsulates LVN’s mission statement – to go forth and carry on in life, while focusing on the goal of making every minute count in the life Hashem has given you.