Shabbat Candles

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A Beginners’ Guide to Shabbat Candle Lighting: Article and Video

A Beginners’ Guide to Shabbat Candle Lighting: Article and Video

The following article, How to Light Shabbat Candles, by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, Richard Siegel and Sharon Strassfeld, discusses both the how to’s of the Shabbat candle lighting ceremony and the significance behind the ritual, according to a plethora of Jewish thinkers and philosophies. Reprinted with

Learn the Candle Lighting Blessing with “Prayer-eoke”

Learn the Candle Lighting Blessing with “Prayer-eoke”

This video demonstrates the singing of the blessing over the Shabbat candles clearly and slowly with Hebrew and transliterated subtitles. The video was created by Rabbi Ahuva Zaches of Congregation Or Ami (Reform) in Richmond, VA, as part of her YouTube series, “Prayer-eoke,” a Karaoke-style program for learning

How to Light Shabbat Candles: Kabbalistic Wisdom

How to Light Shabbat Candles: Kabbalistic Wisdom

This video describes how to light the Friday evening Shabbat candles according to the Orthodox Ashkenazi tradition. In addition to the recitation of the blessing, this video provides explanations of the meaning behind the lighting of the candles according to Kabbalistic traditions. This video is for those

A Guide to Candle Lighting + Lighting Candles in Auschwitz

A Guide to Candle Lighting + Lighting Candles in Auschwitz

This two-page resource includes a simple explanation of how to light the Shabbat candles according to the Ashkenazic custom, the Hebrew, English and transliterated texts of both the blessing and a prayer often recited after lighting the candles, and a powerful story about the sacrifice

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

Shabbat Candle Lighting: An Introduction

Shabbat Candle Lighting: An Introduction

The following article briefly explains the basic structure of the candle lighting ceremony and some related customs, including the text of the blessing in Hebrew, English translation and transliteration. The post was written by Rabbi Howard Markose, a Jerusalem-based educator and former community rabbi who

Detailed Guide to Shabbat Candles in Jewish Law

Detailed Guide to Shabbat Candles in Jewish Law

This is a highly technical article about the laws of lighting Shabbat candles according to Orthdox halacha, meant for those who are familiar with Jewish legal terminology in Hebrew. It presents the candle-lighting blessing in transliteration, and as is the custom in some Orthodox circles,

Candle Lighting Times

Candle Lighting Times

This short article explains exactly when to light Shabbat candles, according to Orthodox halacha, as well as what one can do if they have missed the lighting time. It includes additional resources that will help individuals determine the correct time to light the Shabbat candles based on

Shabbat Candles FAQ

Shabbat Candles FAQ

This article contains clear and detailed answers, according to an Orthodox Jewish perspective, to a number of  frequently asked questions about lighting Shabbat candles on Friday night, including who, when, where, and with what materials to light them. Written for the lay person, one can

Chabad: How to Light Shabbat Candles

Chabad: How to Light Shabbat Candles

This short instructional video describes and illustrates step-by-step instructions on how to light the Friday night Shabbat candles at home. This video is complete with the recitation of the blessing that is said over the candles, along with the Hebrew and English transliterated texts. It also provides helpful tips

How to Light Shabbat Candles: Bringing Light to your Family

How to Light Shabbat Candles: Bringing Light to your Family

This video, by Rabbi Janet Ross Marder, describes how to light the Shabbat evening candles, with a focus on bringing light and peace to your home and family. Rabbi Marder describes some of the intentions one may have before and after the candles are lit,

Aish: How To Light Shabbat Candles

Aish: How To Light Shabbat Candles

The following ‘how to’ video provides step-by-step instructions on how to light the Friday night Shabbat candles according to the Orthodox Ashkenazic tradition and pronunciation, complete with the recitation of the blessing.  This video was designed for those who are learning to light the Shabbat candles

Chabad: How and Why We Light the Shabbat Candles

Chabad: How and Why We Light the Shabbat Candles

In this 18 min. lecture, Rabbi Yosef Shusterman, renowned Chabad rabbi and authority on Jewish law and Hassidut, gives an extensive overview of the practical how to’s of the lighting of the Shabbat evening candles according to Orthodox tradition. Topics such as the reasons behind

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on How and Why to Light the Candles

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on How and Why to Light the Candles

The following video from Jewish Online Guides, an educational initiative by The United Synagogue, explores the lighting of the Shabbat candles according to Orthodox Ashkenazi tradition. Complete with an introduction to the meaning behind lighting the candles by the Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks,

Lighting Candles: A ‘How-to’ for Kids

Lighting Candles: A ‘How-to’ for Kids

This karaoke video demonstrates how to light the Shabbat candles, including subtitles in Hebrew as well as the translation and transliteration in English. While specifically aimed at children, this video is helpful for anyone who wants to learn to read and sing the blessing. This video was

Introduction: How to Light the Shabbat Candles

Introduction: How to Light the Shabbat Candles

This introductory video provides a step-by-step explanation on how to light the Shabbat evening candles according to Asheknazic tradition, using captions, pictures, and music to capture the magical ambience of lighting the Shabbat candles. There is an English translation of the blessing as well as a brief

How to Light Shabbat Candles: Reform Tradition & Customs

How to Light Shabbat Candles: Reform Tradition & Customs

This video demonstrates how to light the Shabbat candles and recite the blessing according to the Reform tradition. In the first of a series of instructional videos, Rabbi Betsy Torop discusses the basic ‘how tos’ of the ceremony, along with several common customs that people implement

How to Light Shabbat Candles: Conservative Tradition

How to Light Shabbat Candles: Conservative Tradition

This article provides a concise overview of the ritual of lighting Shabbat candles in the home on Friday night, including where, when, by whom, and how the candles should be lit. The article provides a step-by-step guide, as well as an English transliteration and translation

Candle Lighting with Rabbi Eli Garfinkel

Candle Lighting with Rabbi Eli Garfinkel

In the first 49 seconds of this brief homemade instructional video, Rabbi Eli Garfinkel demonstrates how to light the Shabbat candles and recite the blessing according to the Asheknazic tradition, along with transliterated English subtitles. Those interested in learning how to recite the Kiddush, the

Shabbat Blessings over the Candles, Wine and Challah

Shabbat Blessings over the Candles, Wine and Challah

In this short, well-produced video, Rabbi Matt Soffer explains and demonstrates the Shabbat blessings over the candles, wine and bread (challah), according to Ashkenazic custom. Rabbi Soffer, the rabbi of Temple Israel of Boston (Reform), sings the blessings in a clear, pleasant voice and explains

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Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing: Audio and Text

Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing: Audio and Text

This audio recording demonstrates a man singing the blessing over the Shabbat candles clearly and slowly, using a popular North American melody, which was composed by Abraham Binder, musical director of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (Reform) in the 1940s. This recording was created by Beit Am,

Humanistic Liturgy for Lighting Shabbat Candles

Humanistic Liturgy for Lighting Shabbat Candles

This Shabbat candle lighting ceremony was composed by Machar: The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism. Typical of this movement, founded in 1963 by the late Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, the blessing omits any mention of God, as Humanistic Judaism enables people of any ethnic or

Traditional Prayer for the Family Following Candle Lighting

Traditional Prayer for the Family Following Candle Lighting

This prayer for the family is often recited after lighting the Shabbat candles, an auspicious time for prayer, according to Jewish tradition. Many women use this as an opportunity to recite their own personal prayers or those written by women in the past. Feel free

A “Tkhine” for Lighting Candles on Shavuot

A “Tkhine” for Lighting Candles on Shavuot

This “tkhine” (supplication) is a para-liturgical prayer in Hebrew and Yiddish with an English translation that is meant to be recited by a woman after lighting candles to welcome the holiday of Shavuot, an auspicious time for personal prayer. The prayer beseeches God to help the

Prayer for the Rebuilding of the Temple After Candle Lighting

Prayer for the Rebuilding of the Temple After Candle Lighting

There is a custom to recite this prayer for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem after making the blessing over the Shabbat candles. This is the same prayer that is said by many Ashkenazic Orthodox Jews at the end of the Amidah prayer, which

The Confusion of Sephardic, North African and Middle Eastern Customs

The Confusion of Sephardic, North African and Middle Eastern Customs

In her humorous, anecdotal style, Daniella Levy reveals the confusion that surrounds the specific customs of lighting Shabbat candles in the Sephardic, North African and Middle Eastern traditions. This post is from the Letters to Josep blog, in which the author, an Orthodox American-Israeli Jew, shares

Personal Prayer and Meditation For Candle Lighting

Personal Prayer and Meditation For Candle Lighting

This short article explains the tradition of reciting personal prayers during the time of candle lighting and also suggests meditating on mystical ideas about fire. Originally from Wellsprings of Wisdom, a “virtual retreat center,” these ideas are relevant for those seeking spiritual renewal and personal growth

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

Sephardic Tradition: Friday Night Candle Lighting

Sephardic Tradition: Friday Night Candle Lighting

In this Hebrew clip (at 1:00), Inbar Tabiv demonstrates how to light the Shabbat candles, first reciting the blessing and then kindling the candles according to the tradition of many Mizrahi (Sephardic), Yemenite and Moroccan Jews. Note that instead of invoking God’s name (Adonai) during

Post-Candle Lighting “Tkhine”: An 18th Century Prayer

Post-Candle Lighting “Tkhine”: An 18th Century Prayer

This short “tkhine” (supplication) is a para-liturgical prayer that is meant to be recited by women just after lighting Shabbat candles, an auspicious time for personal prayer. The words express a deep desire that the act of lighting the Shabbat candles not only be accepted by God,

Shabbat Candle Lighting with Masculine and Feminine God-Language

Shabbat Candle Lighting with Masculine and Feminine God-Language

This post presents the blessing for lighting the Shabbat candles on Friday night, both in its traditional format (i.e. with masculine God-language) and using feminine God-language, an option that reflects the blend of Jewish tradition with modern feminist approaches. The feminine version not only refers

A Reconstructionist Reflection Before Lighting Shabbat Candles

A Reconstructionist Reflection Before Lighting Shabbat Candles

This short reflection, recited prior to light Shabbat candles, is written by Jewish-American poet, Marge Piercy, and appears in the Reconstructionist Kol Haneshama siddur. It encourages the reader to be grateful of his/her blessings and mindful of the sacred moment of lighting Shabbat candles. Reconstructionist

The Blessing for the Shabbat Candles

The Blessing for the Shabbat Candles

This short video demonstrates a woman singing the blessing over the Shabbat candles while transliterated English subtitles are displayed over emotive pictures of women blessing the candles in the background. The popular North American tune used for this blessing was composed by Abraham Binder, musical director

Shabbat Candle Blessing

Shabbat Candle Blessing

In this short video, Cantor Marnie Camhi first sings and then recites the blessing over the Shabbat candles. In a slow, clear and pleasant voice, she sings the blessing using a popular North American melody composed by Abraham Binder, musical director of the Stephen Wise Free

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“V’zakeini” Song: A Post Candle Lighting Prayer (Rabbi Baruch Levine)

“V’zakeini” Song: A Post Candle Lighting Prayer (Rabbi Baruch Levine)

In his heartfelt signature song, “V’zakeini,” Rabbi Baruch Levine puts an excerpt from the prayer commonly recited after lighting Shabbat candles to music. The lyrics, posted below in Hebrew, English and transliteration, are a prayer to God for wise and God fearing descendent who will live lives

Shabbat Sweet: A Unique Melody for Shabbat Candle Lighting

Shabbat Sweet: A Unique Melody for Shabbat Candle Lighting

In this video, Billy Kaplan offers a unique rendition of the blessing over the Shabbat candles (starting at 1:05), including a post-blessing message of hope. In his blessing, the singer replaces the name of God (Adonai) with a euphemism (Adoshem) in order not to recite

Alexander Goldscheider’s Tune for the Blessing over the Shabbat Candles

Alexander Goldscheider’s Tune for the Blessing over the Shabbat Candles

In this video, Alexander Goldscheider, a Jewish Czech-born composer, performs a unique musical rendition of the blessing over the Shabbat candles. Golscheider’s uses lyrical repetition and rising notes throughout the melody to create an emotive and inspiring tone. Viewers can learn the tune and the words

“V’zakeini” Song: A Post Candle Lighting Prayer (Avraham Fried)

“V’zakeini” Song: A Post Candle Lighting Prayer (Avraham Fried)

In this heartfelt song, “V’zakeini,” Avraham Fried puts an excerpt from the prayer commonly recited after lighting Shabbat candles to music. The lyrics, posted below in Hebrew, English and transliteration, are a prayer to God for wise and God fearing descendent who will live lives of

“Tell Me Mother:” A Song About a Mother’s Prayer while Lighting the Shabbat Candles

“Tell Me Mother:” A Song About a Mother’s Prayer while Lighting the Shabbat Candles

This moving Hebrew song is about a young girl who asks her mother what she is thinking about while she lights the Shabbat candles. In answering her daughter’s question, the mother recites a well-known supplication (“techina”) attributed to an 18th century European Jewess. At the end of

Paul Ben-Haim’s Rendition of the Blessing Over the Shabbat Candles (Reform)

Paul Ben-Haim’s Rendition of the Blessing Over the Shabbat Candles (Reform)

This audio clip (the second track on the album, “Sacred Services from Israel”), demonstrates an operatic version of the blessing over the Shabbat evening candles according to Reform tradition. Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984), a Liberal Jew from Munich, was already a noted composer when he emigrated to

Shabbat Candle Lighting: A Children’s Sing Along

Shabbat Candle Lighting: A Children’s Sing Along

This sweet video presents Kindergarten and Second Grade students from Temple Isaiah of Lafayette, California singing the blessing over the candles, as the transliterated text of the blessing scrolls over watercolor pictures painted by the students. The children are using a popular North American melody, which was composed by Abraham

Fiddler on the Roof: A Sabbath Prayer

Fiddler on the Roof: A Sabbath Prayer

This video is a clip from the 1971 film, Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye and his family gather to light the Shabbat candles and welcome the Sabbath. Tevye’s wife, Golde, lights the candles, and then they sing a prayer for the safety and well-being

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Informative Articles & Videos

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Covering Our Eyes During Shabbat Candle Lighting

Covering Our Eyes During Shabbat Candle Lighting

This post explains the halachic reasoning behind the popular custom of covering one’s eyes while reciting the blessing after lighting the Shabbat candles. The author, Rabbi Howard Markose, is a Jerusalem-based educator and former community rabbi who received rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. 

The History and Symbolism of Lighting Shabbat Candles

The History and Symbolism of Lighting Shabbat Candles

In this short, informative video, Rabbi Michael Laitner offers both historical and spiritual explanations for the Shabbat evening candle lighting and provides guidelines on how to fulfill the commandment. This video is appropriate for people of all backgrounds who want to learn more about the history

Women in Judaism: Lighting Shabbat Candles

Women in Judaism: Lighting Shabbat Candles

This article explains how lighting Shabbat candles brings peace and harmony into the home, both practically and symbolically, and why this ritual is connected to the unique role of women in Judaism. The author, Leah Kohn, an Orthodox educator, suggests spiritual meditations and psychological insights to

Pre-Candle-Lighting Tzedakah Custom for Children

Pre-Candle-Lighting Tzedakah Custom for Children

This short post suggests a creative way to involve children in the custom of giving charity before lighting Shabbat candles. Originally published in “A Kolot Egalitarian Bentcher: Shabbat Blessings and Customs for Your Home”(Philadelphia, PA: Kolot, 2001), this tradition was shared by Julie Korostoff and Christer

Rabbi Abraham Twerski: Candle Lighting and a Child’s Self Worth

Rabbi Abraham Twerski: Candle Lighting and a Child’s Self Worth

In this short post, Rabbi Abraham Twerski relays his childhood memories of his mother lighting the Shabbat candles, focusing on the powerful message they sent about his own inherent self worth. Rabbi Abraham Twerski is an American Hasidic rabbi and psychiatrist. This excerpt is from the manual

Shabbat Home Ritual: Candle Lighting

Shabbat Home Ritual: Candle Lighting

In this short post, Sarah Fishman describes the basics of the candle lighting ceremony, as part of an article introducing the Shabbat home rituals of candle lighting, kiddush over wine, and challah (bread). The author, a  rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi: Shabbat Candle Lighting as a Lesson in Faith

Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi: Shabbat Candle Lighting as a Lesson in Faith

This interview describes how watching his mother light Shabbat candles was a formative spiritual experience for Reb Zalman Schacther Shalomi, one of the founders of the Jewish Renewal movement, which endeavors to reinvigorate modern Judaism with Kabbalistic, Hasidic, and musical practices. When asked about his earliest memory of faith, Reb

The Power of Light in Judaism

The Power of Light in Judaism

Inspired by both nature and Jewish mysticism, this short article explores the physical and spiritual power of light in Jewish tradition as well as our own personal experience. Originally from Wellsprings of Wisdom, a “virtual retreat center,” these ideas are relevant for those seeking spiritual renewal and

Sacred Ritual: Lighting Shabbat Candles

Sacred Ritual: Lighting Shabbat Candles

This short article serves as an introduction to the basics of the candle lighting ceremony, including who lights candles, with what type of candles, when, and how, plus a mention of some deep, mystical ideas behind the ritual. Originally from Wellsprings of Wisdom, a “virtual retreat center,”

An Academic Approach to the Meaning of Shabbat Candles

An Academic Approach to the Meaning of Shabbat Candles

In this highly sourced academic article, Dr. Ismar Schorsch explores how and why lighting Shabbat candles is of paramount importance in Jewish tradition, despite the fact that it is actually not a biblical commandment. Using modern anecdote, historical sources, biblical exegesis, and a wide array of

Shabbat Candles: Why is it Called ‘A Women’s Mitzvah?’

Shabbat Candles: Why is it Called ‘A Women’s Mitzvah?’

This article, reprinted on My Jewish Learning from JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, mentions a variety of candle lighting customs, including how many candles to light, the order of lighting and blessing, and some associated rituals many women do before or after lighting candles. Providing

The Meaning Behind the Flames

The Meaning Behind the Flames

In this comprehensive article, Rhona Lewis shares many of the deep spiritual and kabbalistic teachings behind the mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles. Using a wide variety of Biblical, Talmudic, halachic and historical sources, the author explores the origins of the ritual, the meaning behind it,

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

OneTable Shabbat Dinner Guide

Created by OneTable, a grassroots organization whose goal it is to help people enjoy Shabbat dinners together, the guide (39 pages) to the Friday night dinner experience provides both inspiration and optional formulae written for the host. Relevant to people of all backgrounds and levels of observance,

Lighting Candles: A Spiritual Cure-all

Lighting Candles: A Spiritual Cure-all

In this thought-provoking article, psychologist, Dr. Miriam Biber, explores the unique spiritual power of lighting the Shabbat candles through personal anecdotes and biblical, Talmudic and Chassidic sources. Described as a prototype for all of the other commandments, she explains the lighting of Shabbat candles as a physical manifestation of

Shabbat Candle Lighting: Empowering or Restricting to Women?

Shabbat Candle Lighting: Empowering or Restricting to Women?

The following article addresses whether the tradition of women lighting Shabbat candles is empowering or restricting. The anonymous author explores the role of women in Orthodox Judaism, drawing on both Jewish mysticism and practice, considering questions such as whether lighting Shabbat candles keeps women as the

Waving the Hands Before Candle Lighting: A Kabbalistic Understanding

Waving the Hands Before Candle Lighting: A Kabbalistic Understanding

This short post explores the Halachic (Jewish law) and Kabbalistic (Jewish mysticism) explanations as to why those lighting the Shabbat evening candles wave their hands three times over the lit candles before reciting the blessing. The response uses various concepts from Kabbalah, such as the five

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Quotes on Shabbat Candles

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Quotes on Shabbat Candles

These poetic quotes from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel describe the moment when Shabbat arrives, bringing with it an atmosphere of light, peace, rest, joy, and renewal. Heschel points to the creative and transformative power of lighting Shabbat candles, which officially marks the beginning of this holy day. In

Shabbat Candles as a Revelation of the Hidden Light of Creation

Shabbat Candles as a Revelation of the Hidden Light of Creation

The following excerpt is a translation and explanation of a Hasidic text relating to Shabbat candle lighting, from The Sabbath Soul: Mystical Reflections on the Transformative Power of Holy Time by Eitan Fishbane. The original text explored in this excerpt was written by the Sfat Emet (1847-1905), R.

Reconstructionist Thought on Candle Lighting

Reconstructionist Thought on Candle Lighting

In this short excerpt from the essay “Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach,” Shabbat candle lighting is expounded on as an example of the importance of ritual within Reconstructionist Judaism. Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern Jewish movement that views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization in its

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on How and Why to Light the Candles

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on How and Why to Light the Candles

The following video from Jewish Online Guides, an educational initiative by The United Synagogue, explores the lighting of the Shabbat candles according to Orthodox Ashkenazi tradition. Complete with an introduction to the meaning behind lighting the candles by the Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks,

Candle Lighting: The Test of Time

Candle Lighting: The Test of Time

The following excerpt from the article “Truth Stands the Test of Time” explains how the Shabbat candles are symbolic of the truth and authenticity of the Torah and the Jewish people. When one lights the Shabbat candles weekly, they are bearing witness to the eternity

The History of Lighting the Shabbat Candles

The History of Lighting the Shabbat Candles

In this excerpt from the article, “Lighting Sabbath Candles,” Avi Lazerson discusses the historical and textual explanations for the commandment of lighting the Shabbat evening candles. He explains how this ritual was given specifically to women, although men are also obligated to light the candles in the

Candle Lighting: A Blessing or a Curse to Women?

Candle Lighting: A Blessing or a Curse to Women?

In the following excerpt from Wendy I. Zierler’s article, “Shedding Feminist Light on the Sabbath Candles,” Zierler explores the possibility that the commandment for women to light the Shabbat evening candles is based on negative associations, rather than positive ones. This article, found in “My

The Connection Between Giving Tzedakah and Shabbat Candle Lighting

The Connection Between Giving Tzedakah and Shabbat Candle Lighting

The following article describes the practice of giving tzedakah (charity) before lighting the Shabbat evening candles, along with an explanation as to how these two actions are intrinsically connected. This article is helpful for those seeking a deeper understanding of the meaning behind the ceremony through

A Woman Before God: Candle Lighting Throughout the Generations

A Woman Before God: Candle Lighting Throughout the Generations

This article discusses the strong feminine aspect of the candle lighting ritual, including how various traditions which have been handed down from generation to generation through family matriarchs have gained halachic status. Among other practices, the article explores the ancient sources for lighting the candles and

“Shamor” and “Zachor”: Observe and Remember

“Shamor” and “Zachor”: Observe and Remember

This blog post by Rabbi Adam Feldman explores the dual language of “shamor” and “zachor” used in the Torah to command the Jewish people to “remember” and “observe” Shabbat. Jewish tradition explains that one of the reasons for lighting two candles on Shabbat is to

HuffPost Blog: “Going Dark” on Shabbat

HuffPost Blog: “Going Dark” on Shabbat

In this blog post, Ellie Krupnick shares her personal journey of coming to appreciate the refuge from technology and work offered by Shabbat. Although not specifically about the candle lighting ritual, the author mentions how this “beautiful, magical tradition” ushered in the peace and rest of

Sarah’s Light: The Candles that Never Waned

Sarah’s Light: The Candles that Never Waned

This enlightening article explores the age old connection between Jewish women and Shabbat candles, explaining references to the Matriarch, Sarah, lighting Shabbat candles in the Torah and Midrash. The article delves into the tradition that both Sarah and Rivkah’s Shabbat candles miraculously remained lit from one week

Shabbat Observance in Alaska: Lighting Shabbat Candles Without Sunset

Shabbat Observance in Alaska: Lighting Shabbat Candles Without Sunset

In this article, Rabbi Dov Gartenberg shares his thoughts and halachic insights about Shabbat observance when living in Alaska, where during certain times of the year, the sun does not set at all within a twenty-four hour period. This phenomenon directly impacts when Friday night

Switching On Shabbat: Temples in Time

Switching On Shabbat: Temples in Time

Referencing Jewish thinkers Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Blu Greenberg, this article describes lighting the Shabbat candles as a transformative act that enables us to create temples in time, thus turning Shabbat on in the world. The author connects Shabbat to the Divine act of

The Significance of Fire in Judaism

The Significance of Fire in Judaism

This excerpt notes the universally recognized power of fire, as well as its particular significance in Jewish ritual, such as lighting Shabbat and Hannukah candles and the Havdalah ceremony. It comes from “The Jewish Catalog: A Do-It-Yourself Kit,” a collection of articles aimed at Jews

Candle Lighting as a Spiritual Union

Candle Lighting as a Spiritual Union

This piece provides a mystical explanation of the Shabbat candle lighting ritual, applying ancient Kabbalistic concepts in a way that is relevant for modern Jews. Written by Rabbi Goldie Milgram, a self-described “postdenominational, or reconformadox” rabbi and teacher, this excerpt comes from her book, “Reclaiming Judaism

The Sabbath as a Journey Through the Worlds   

The Sabbath as a Journey Through the Worlds   

In this piece, the author describes Shabbat as a holistic experience, beginning with the lighting of the Shabbat candles. She suggests that the two candles represent different dualistic aspects we encounter in the world. Deeply personal and spiritual, with references to many different Jewish sources,

Lighting Candles as a Way to “Unplug” from Distraction and “Plug in” to Shabbat

Lighting Candles as a Way to “Unplug” from Distraction and “Plug in” to Shabbat

In this short video, Rabbi Noa Kushner encourages people to use Shabbat – and particularly, candle lighting- as an opportunity to “unplug” from the distractions and tasks of daily life in order to connect to their values, their selves and the people they love. She

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“If I Let It” – Poem Preceding Shabbat Candle Lighting

“If I Let It” – Poem Preceding Shabbat Candle Lighting

This short poem by Trisha Arlin provides a “kavanah,” – a direction in which to focus one’s attention – to be utilized when welcoming Shabbat. The poem mentions many ways in which Shabbat can be wonderfully different from all the other days of the week, but

Candle Lighting Photography Project

Candle Lighting Photography Project

In this creative project, artist Helene Fischman presents photographs of women lighting Shabbat candles. Her inspiration comes from both the transformative power of the ritual itself and its significance as an ancient spiritual tradition. To see all of the original images in this series, click here.

Zelda: To Light Candles in All the Worlds

Zelda: To Light Candles in All the Worlds

In this poem, the modern Hebrew poet, Zelda, describes the meaning of Shabbat candles. Her understanding of the Shabbat candles as a reminder of the redemptive power of light reflects our tradition’s understanding of our responsibility to literally and metaphorically spread the light in this

Pre-Candle-Lighting Tzedakah Custom for Children

Pre-Candle-Lighting Tzedakah Custom for Children

This short post suggests a creative way to involve children in the custom of giving charity before lighting Shabbat candles. Originally published in “A Kolot Egalitarian Bentcher: Shabbat Blessings and Customs for Your Home”(Philadelphia, PA: Kolot, 2001), this tradition was shared by Julie Korostoff and Christer

Senator Joe Lieberman: On Candle Lighting

Senator Joe Lieberman: On Candle Lighting

In this short post, former American Senator Joe Lieberman describes the candle lighting experience in his own home, including several ideas that make it personally meaningful. Although the quotes are from Lieberman’s book, “The Gift of Rest,” the entire post is from the manual of The

Are Your Shabbat Candles Toxic?

Are Your Shabbat Candles Toxic?

In this article, Lisa Rose, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, outlines some of the health and environmental issues associated with burning candles in the home, and then offers safe, healthy alternatives for Shabbat use. Relevant to those who are passionate about natural health, sustainability and the environment,

Shabbat Candle Lighting Source Sheet

Shabbat Candle Lighting Source Sheet

This resource, helpful for educators and those with background in reading Jewish texts, is both an educational worksheet and a collection of sources about lighting Shabbat candles. Created by Rabbi David Polsky of Congregation Anshe Sfard, an Orthodox synagogue in New Orleans, this comprehensive resource includes references

Shalom Sesame: Learn About Shabbat with Grover

Shalom Sesame: Learn About Shabbat with Grover

In this sweet, amusing video, Grover learns about Shabbat on “Shalom Sesame,” the Israeli version of the popular children’s television series, “Sesame Street.” Grover helps his friend prepare for Shabbat on a busy Friday afternoon, and in the process, he learns about Shabbat candles, Kiddush,

A Shabbat Eve Meditation: Breathing Exercises around Shabbat Candle Lighting

A Shabbat Eve Meditation: Breathing Exercises around Shabbat Candle Lighting

This is a short poem written to guide a group meditation at the time of welcoming Shabbat, either before or after candle lighting. It encourages group members to focus on their breathing, using their breath as a means for letting go of the stresses and

Electric Shabbat Candles: It Can Be Done!

Electric Shabbat Candles: It Can Be Done!

This lengthy, comprehensive article provides information about “LeeNer,” a product which provides a way to light electric candles for Shabbat in a manner that is considered halachically acceptably by many authorities of Jewish Law. At times, the ability to fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) of the lighting of Shabbat

Lighting Candles for Peace: A Sheikha and a Rabbi

Lighting Candles for Peace: A Sheikha and a Rabbi

This short poem, written by two women – a Jewish rabbi and Muslim sheikha – calls on readers to light a candle in their homes and houses of worship on Friday, the day that is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, so as to spread the light of

Young Girl Lights Her First Shabbat Candle

Young Girl Lights Her First Shabbat Candle

In this sweet seven-minute home video a young girl receives a silver Shabbat candlestick in a package in the mail from her grandparents just prior to her third birthday. According to the Hasidic sect of Chabad Lubavitch, girls should light Shabbat candles from the age of three. Due to

Kindling the Lights of Peace: A Meditation for Shabbat Candle Lighting

Kindling the Lights of Peace: A Meditation for Shabbat Candle Lighting

In this article, Rabbi Leah Doberne-Schor encourages readers to pray for peace when lighting the Shabbat candles. She includes a poetic meditation, which mentions those suffering from war and injustice in the United States, Israel, and the world at large. The emphasis on universal social

Shabbat Candles Across History

Shabbat Candles Across History

The following video offers a wordless demonstration of women lighting the Shabbat candles from Canaan (the biblical reference for Ancient Israel) 2200 BCE to the present day. Created by Rabbi Eitan and Gitty Webb, founders of the Scharf Family Chabad House at Princeton University, viewers

Bella Chagall’s “Burning Lights:” A Recollection

Bella Chagall’s “Burning Lights:” A Recollection

In this excerpt from the book “Burning Lights: A Unique Double Portrait of Russia,” Bella Chagall describes a detailed accounting from her childhood of what the Shabbat candle lighting ceremony looked like in her hometown in Russia in the early 1900’s. Although describing an event that

Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing in ASL

Shabbat Candle Lighting Blessing in ASL

This video demonstrates how to sign the Shabbat candle lighting blessing in American Sign Language, which is especially helpful for those who are deaf or hard of hearing and those seeking to make their practice more inclusive. While there are no subtitles, there is an audio

“Blessed is the Match”: A Poem by Hannah Senesh

“Blessed is the Match”: A Poem by Hannah Senesh

The following poem, “Blessed is the Match” by Hannah Senesh, describes the human soul as analogous to a match that is desperate to spread its light to other flames. Although not necessarily written to describe the Shabbat candle lighting ceremony, Senesh’s words can be used to

Shabbat Observance in Alaska: Lighting Shabbat Candles Without Sunset

Shabbat Observance in Alaska: Lighting Shabbat Candles Without Sunset

In this article, Rabbi Dov Gartenberg shares his thoughts and halachic insights about Shabbat observance when living in Alaska, where during certain times of the year, the sun does not set at all within a twenty-four hour period. This phenomenon directly impacts when Friday night

Mother’s Prayer for Bar/Bat Mitzvah Upon Lighting Shabbat Candles

Mother’s Prayer for Bar/Bat Mitzvah Upon Lighting Shabbat Candles

This short English prayer is recited by a mother prior to blessing the candles on the Shabbat celebrating her son/daughter’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The time of lighting Shabbat candles is considering an auspicious time for prayer, according to Jewish tradition, and women have used this an

Mayim Bialik: How Many Shabbat Candles Does a Divorced Woman Light?

Mayim Bialik: How Many Shabbat Candles Does a Divorced Woman Light?

In this article, actor and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik shares her personal experiences of motherhood and divorce in relation to lighting the Shabbat Candles. This article appeared on Kveller.com, a website for those who want to add a Jewish twist to their parenting.  

Schindler’s List: The Vanishing Shabbat Light

Schindler’s List: The Vanishing Shabbat Light

This video is the opening scene of Steven Spielberg’s much hailed film, “Schindler’s List.” Shabbat candles are lit in the presence of the family and the blessing is recited over the wine. As the blessing continues, the light of the candles begins to decrease, and at

Israeli Family Performs Kiddush and Candle Lighting

Israeli Family Performs Kiddush and Candle Lighting

This home video shows an Israeli family in the Galilee performing traditional Shabbat rituals around the table, including the lighting of the Shabbat candles and the recitation of the Kiddush. Regardless of their level of religious observance throughout the week, many Jewish families in Israel

Shlomo Carlebach: The Shabbat Candles Story

Shlomo Carlebach: The Shabbat Candles Story

In this 12 minute long audio recording, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach tells an inspirational story, centered on the Shabbat candles. A narrative of hope and resilience, the story is about a young couple he met and the hardships they endured. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994), more commonly referred

Fiddler on the Roof: A Sabbath Prayer

Fiddler on the Roof: A Sabbath Prayer

This video is a clip from the 1971 film, Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye and his family gather to light the Shabbat candles and welcome the Sabbath. Tevye’s wife, Golde, lights the candles, and then they sing a prayer for the safety and well-being

“Imma Shel Shabbat” (“The Shabbat Mother”)

“Imma Shel Shabbat” (“The Shabbat Mother”)

In the first minute of this short and sweet home video in Hebrew, watch a little girl named Shiri recite the blessing over the Shabbat candles in preschool. In many Israeli preschool classrooms, this activity is the highlight of the week, when the children take turns

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