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Why do we cover our eyes when reciting the blessing on the Shabbat candles?

Why do we cover our eyes when reciting the blessing on the Shabbat candles?


Normally, the blessing is recited before the performance of a mitzvah, but here we light the candle and only afterwards recite the blessing. This is because once the blessing is recited Shabbat has been ushered in, and lighting the candle would be forbidden. For this reason, we cover our eyes immediately after lighting to recite the blessing. Thus, our first enjoyment of the Shabbat light -- and the fulfillment of the mitzvah -- occurs after the blessing.

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Discussion (17)
June 14, 2015
To Darlene
Ashkenazic tradition is to light the candles, then wave one's hands over the candles, cover the eyes and recite the blessing. Staff
June 13, 2015
I have a question when I light candles do I say the blessing before I cover my eyes
March 16, 2014
Why don't men who are present cover their eyes?
Steven shapiro
September 9, 2013
To Step-Grandma
Some recite the blessing before lighting the candles on Yom Tov, and then there is no need to cover the eyes. However, as Malkie Janowski wrote in a previous comment, there is good reason to light the candles before reciting the blessing on Yom Tov as we do on Shabbat, and then the eyes are covered on Yom Tov as well.
Rochel Chein for
September 4, 2013
Covering eyes when lighting Yom Tov candles
Throughout my life, I have covered my eyes, even when lighting Yom Tov candles, as did my Mother, and presumably her Mother before her. I do not "bring in" ie wave my hands around the candles. My step-grand-daughter tried to stop my covering my eyes on Shavuos and it was very disconcerting. Please advise the correct procedure, as the answer is not above. Many thanks and Shana Tova
May 23, 2013
Candle lighting on festivals
Many thanks for the update in this discussion about candle-lighting on a chag which is not Shabbat, although I find the reasoning rather demeaning towards women’s intelligence. From all that has been written in this discussion, I understand that my initial assumption was correct-we make the blessing, then light, as with any other bracha. Covering one’s eyes has the added benefit of helping us concentrate and not be distracted by others around us, but that is true for any prayer.
Shabbat shalom
May 22, 2013
Although one can say the blessing and then light the candles on holidays, women who light candles on holidays still light the candles before saying the blessings so that they don't get confused and mistakenly say the blessing before lighting candles on Shabbat. However, if for some reason the man of the house lights the holiday candles (and he is not the one who lights the Shabbat candles) he would first say the blessing. We are not concerned about him getting confused because he doesn't light Shabbat candles, and so has nothing to be confused with.
Malkie Janowski for
May 18, 2013
Candle lighting for Yom Tov
The reader's question was never answered. What is the order of lighting candles for Yom Tov (First make the blessing, then light and do we cover our eyes?)

Thank you.
Toronto, Canada
August 25, 2012
Thanks,Rabbi Posner!
Milan, Iyaly
August 24, 2012
To Anonymous, Milan, Italy
During havdalah we look at our fingernails in the light of the fire in order to "benefit" from the fire. We look at the nails specifically because Adam and Eve were originally covered in a suit made of a material similar to the fingernail. Looking at our nails reminds us of how Adam and Eve discovered fire after having been expelled from the Garden of Eden.
Rabbi Menachem Posner