In this week’s parshah, Chayei Sarah, we read that Yitzchak Avinu married Rivkah. Sarah Imeinu had passed away, and Yitzchak Avinu was still mourning the death of his great mother. But soon after he married Rivkah, he was comforted, because he saw how special she was.

How did Yitzchak know?

There were three signs. When Rivkah entered Yitzchak’s tent, a cloud of glory hovered above. Yitzchak Avinu said, “While my mother was alive, a cloud of glory always rested upon her tent. But it disappeared when she died.” Yitzchak watched for other signs. They came very soon.

As Rivkah baked the challah for Shabbos, she modestly told Yitzchak: “There seems to have been a special blessing in the dough, it rose so well.”

Yitzchak Avinu was overjoyed. He recalled that his mother’s dough had the same blessing.

By the end of the week the third sign was clear. Rivkah’s Shabbos candles burned all week long, just as Sarah’s had. During the entire week, Yitzchak and Rivkah felt the holiness which came from the light of the Shabbos candles.

Every mitzvah which we perform brings light into the world, as it says: Ner mitzvah veTorah Or: “Mitzvos are like candles and Torah is light.” But we don’t always see or feel this light. The Shabbos candles are special, because we can actually see their light, the light of the mitzvah, shining in our homes. When we watch the peaceful flickering of the Shabbos candles, we understand and feel the special holiness that comes with this mitzvah.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if this holiness could last the whole week? Well, that’s what Sarah and Rivkah felt. This happens in our homes too.

The Shabbos candles bring us feelings of joy and peace. Although we may be very rushed and busy on some Fridays, our homes suddenly become calm as soon as we light the Shabbos candles. And this light remains even after the Shabbos ends. Even though we can’t actually see their light throughout the following week, as Sarah and Rivkah did, it’s still there, making our homes peaceful and happy.

Rivkah Imeinu’s Shabbos candles brought this holiness when she was only three years old! This set an example for all Jewish girls.

As soon as a little girl reaches the age of three or as soon as she understands the meaning of lighting candles she should light her own Shabbos candle. This will bring light and holiness into her home and into the entire world.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XV, pgs. 163-173)