Hmm… so you must’ve heard the concept and now you’re looking it up. Shabbat Candles. What are they?
They are candles we light in honor of Shabbat. Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest. In order to delight in the Shabbat and enjoy it, Jewish women and girls light beautiful candles.
Wait but when’s Shabbat?
We light the candles as we start Shabbat. So, precisely 18 minutes before sunset every single Friday evening, rain or shine, we set up candles and lovingly ignite them. As we light them we bring light, serenity and happiness into our home and the entire world.
How many candles?
The woman of the home is encouraged to light two candles. The two candles correspond to the two mitzvot of Shabbat. We are told to- one: Remember the day of Shabbat, and two: Keep the Shabbat holy. To show our regard to these two mitzvot we light two candles.
More or less than 2…
Many women have the custom to light the main two for Shabbat- and then additional candles for each of her children.
It is greatly encouraged for girls to light their own Shabbat candle as well. Girls can start from the ripe age of three- once they are big enough to comprehend the idea. Girls light one candle until they are married, and then, becoming the woman of the home, they light two.
And put them where?
We place the candles near or on our table where we will have Shabbat meals. That way we get to enjoy the lights of Shabbat.
Way back when…
Lighting candles dates all the way back to the time of our first Matriarch Sarah. And from Sarah the tradition was passed to Rivka, Rachel and Leah. From generation to generation it got passed down until us, who 2000 years later and we are still lighting those Shabbat candles every Friday night.
Peace and serenity
Before lighting the candles it is nice to put coins into a charity box. In doing so we are asking G-d to bestow kindness onto us, like how we display kindness and are charitable.
We then light the candles and say a special blessing. We say the blessing with our two hands covering our eyes.
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.
And here is the blessing in Hebrew if you can read it:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אַדֹנָ-י אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת קֹדֶשׁ
And if you prefer to say the Hebrew blessing but can’t read Hebrew, this is the transliteration:
Baruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-tav Ve-tzi-va-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Sha-bbat Ko-desh.
After the blessing we can pray to G-d for anything we wish. It is a special time for women and girls to talk to G-d. You can ask for health, happiness, love, children, redemption, spiritual closeness and really just about anything that is on your mind.
The flickering soul…
Yes, that flickering, glistening, yearning flame of the Shabbat candle is akin to the flame inside you.
As it says in Proverbs, “The soul of man is a candle of G‑d.”
If you look closely at a flame you’ll see it jumping to and fro, trying to free itself from its captor, the wick. Our Divine Soul too, is prisoner in our physical body and is constantly yearning to free itself from this coarse material world and be re-united with its Maker.
What to use…
Although using ordinary tealights like these ones are definitely okay, it is especially nice to buy specific candlesticks for the holy Shabbat.
There are many different styles and types varying between different types of women with different taste. Below we will list for you a few favorites of ours that you can buy on Amazon, either for yourself, or to gift as a meaningful present to a loved one.
Candlesticks We Love
Well, that’s just a few of our favorites, but the options are endless. You can find candlelabras too- of all sizes and candles depending on how many candles you want to light.
You can also find endless types of candles to insert into your candlesticks. Most of the decorative ones come from Sefad, Israel. We love these ones but they’re all great and they all add a nice beauty to your home.
Happy shopping and most of all enjoy lighting the mystical Shabbat candles.
We wish you a restful and peaceful Shabbat.