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Shabbat Candles

Shabbat Candles

Feminine Light

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What:

Every mitzvah introduces light into the world. With certain mitzvot, the light we generate can actually be seen and appreciated. Lighting candles to usher in the Shabbat is one such mitzvah; the candles lend a soft and peaceful atmosphere to the holy Day of Rest.

Who:

Shabbat candles are traditionally a woman’s mitzvah. The woman sets the tone of the household; it is her task and G‑d-given ability to ensure that light and harmony prevail in her home.

Put some money in a charity box before lighting the candlesGirls begin lighting Shabbat candles when they can recite the blessing (approx. three years of age).

A man should light the candles if no adult woman is present.

When:

Light the candles eighteen minutes before sunset. Click here for candle-lighting times for any date and location.

How:

  • Young girls light before their mother.
  • Place the candles on or near the Shabbat dinner table.
  • Put some money in a charity box before lighting the candles.
  • Until marriage, women and girls light one candle. Post-marriage, women light two candles. Some add an additional candle for each child, so that, for example, a woman with three children lights five candles.

The procedure:

  1. Light the candles.
  2. Extend your hands and draw them in a circular motion toward yourself, and cover your eyes.
  3. Say: Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai Elo-hei-nu Me-lech ha-olam, asher kid-sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav v’tzi-vanu l’had-leek ner shel Shabbat Ko-desh.
    [Blessed are You, L‑rd 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.]
  4. Candle-lighting time is auspicious for private prayer. While your eyes are covered, take a moment to pray for whatever your heart desires.
  5. Take a moment to pray for whatever your heart desiresUncover your eyes and greet your family: “Good Shabbos,” or “Shabbat Shalom.”

Technical notes:

  • Once a woman recites the blessing, she has ushered in the Shabbat. From that point on, she may not engage in any activity that is forbidden on Shabbat.
  • The candles and candlesticks may not be moved until the conclusion of Shabbat.
  • Electric bulbs can be used as Shabbat candles where an open flame is not possible, such as in a hospital.

Click here for more about Shabbat candle-lighting.

Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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Discussion (12)
August 26, 2014
I think more than the Torah say about the candle is about light in darkness. We are working six days regularly. That day is like a paradise with God, friends and family. We always work and making calls, resolving payments, fighting with our lenders, and we most be honest this cycle of life never finish is constantly. This day is our health, with or without candles. I prefer the candles, light only light, no bills, no tricks, no hiden cost etc. No business. Just a real beginning for a next Shabat.
Omar
June 9, 2013
Re Torah
Please see "Where does the Torah say to light Shabbat candles? for a response to your question.
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
June 7, 2013
Torah Portions For this commandment, please
Is there a specific Torah sportion for this commandment to light candles on Shabbat? We "pray" this, but is it in Torah?
Shershalom
December 10, 2012
To Bernie Fleischer
Ideally, the candles should be big enough that they last into the night and you enjoy your Shabbat meal in their glow. If they burn out before you had a chance to enjoy their light on Shabbat, then you need to get longer ones. Standard tea lights or the white cylindrical Shabbat candles are generally adequate, but birthday candles, for example, may be too small.
Menachem Posner
Montreal, QC
December 7, 2012
Length of Shabbat candle
Is there a minimum time a Shabbat candle should burn? Or, is there a minimum length a Shabbat candle should be?
Bernie Fleischer
Sun City West AZ
November 7, 2012
It is my dream to light shabbat candles with my 3 year old daughter as the Rebbe taught us.
Bride to-be
August 23, 2011
Shabbat Candles
I am 51, two grown children going thru a divorce. How many candles do I light. My children are grown and have families of there own
claudia
forest city, nc usa
April 5, 2011
Length of time
Because we are not allowed to extinguish a flame on Shabbat, we allow the cancles/oil wick to burn out, ideally they should burn at least until nightfall, preferably until we have recited kiddush.
Chani Benjaminson
March 31, 2011
Shabbat Candle Lighting
I would like to know how long do I let the candles burn once I've ushered in the Shabbat? Do they burn continuously until the end of it?
Anonymous
Los Angeles, California
November 24, 2009
Source for Candle lighting
Good question Rosina, Rabbi Freeman responded to a simliar question and wrote a thorough response with sources, please check it out at: Where does the Torah say to light Shabbat candles?
Chani Benjaminson, chabad.org
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