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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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1000 characters remaining Staff via 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. Reply

Darlene Az June 13, 2015

Shabbat I have a question when I light candles do I say the blessing before I cover my eyes Reply

Steven shapiro March 16, 2014

Why don't men who are present cover their eyes? Reply

Rochel Chein for 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. Reply

Step-Grandma 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 Reply

Anonymous Haifa 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 Reply

Malkie Janowski for 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. Reply

Anonymous Toronto, Canada 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. Reply

Anonymous Milan, Iyaly August 25, 2012

re Thanks,Rabbi Posner! Reply

Rabbi Menachem Posner 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. Reply

Malkie Janowski for Coral Springs August 22, 2012

Looking at our fingernails is only done during havdala, not kiddush. Reply

Anonymous Milan, Italy August 22, 2012

re Yes, but where did these rituals (looking at fingernails and waving the hands) originate from? Reply

Bill Berkowitz Trumbull, Ct August 18, 2012

Shabbat Candles On Friday night when we light Shabbat candles, do we cup our hands also and look at our fingernails, or is only done at Havdala Reply

Anonymous January 8, 2012

But why do some women wave their hands in a somehow circular kind of motion? Reply

Anonymous Haifa October 20, 2011

candle lighting on festivals If the reason for covering the eyes is that written here, does this mean one does not need to cover the eyes on a festival which does not fall on shabbat, that in fact one can say the blessing and then light? Reply

Chani Benjaminson, October 20, 2009

Covering our eyes Hi! Please see the text above for a response to your question. Reply

Bobbie Kirk Montgomery, TX October 19, 2009

Candle Lighting Why do the eyes need to be covered to recite the blessing? Reply

Welcome to our candle-lighting section, where you will find the details and practicalities of lighting Shabbat candles, along with the meaning, spirituality and power of doing so . . .
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