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2: Who Lights

2: Who Lights

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The mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles rests upon all members of the household. But it is the woman of the house, in her role as the mainstay of the home, who does the actual lighting. If there is no woman in the house, or if she is unable to light, the obligation falls upon the man.

An age-old custom is that all women in the household, including young girls from the age they can understand the significance of the mitzvah and make the blessing (about three years of age), should each light their own candle as well. In recent years, this custom has been revived and is common practice in many Jewish homes. "We live in times that are often enveloped in darkness," the Lubavitcher Rebbe has urged, "so every mitzvah adds much needed illumination."

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