It is proper to place some money in a charity box before lighting the Shabbat candles.1

The woman (or man) lights the candle(s). The match should be held to each candle until the flame has taken hold of the majority of the wick which is protruding from the candle.2

As soon as all the candles are lit, Shabbat has begun for the woman who has kindled them.


a) She may not extinguish the match. Instead, she should drop it somewhere safe and allow it to go out itself. Some drop the match on to the metal tray upon which the candles are standing, while others set out a small ceramic bowl for this purpose.3

b) She may not move the match box and charity box from the table after she lights the candles. She may ask her husband, or anyone else who has not yet accepted the Shabbat, to remove the box, or she should ensure before she lights that the box is somewhere where it can remain for the entire Shabbat.

After the candles are lit, the woman stretches her hands out towards the candles, and moves them inwards in a circular motion4 – ushering in a special guest, the Shabbat Queen – three times. After the third time, the woman covers her eyes5 with her hands and recites the following blessing6:

בָּרוּך אַתָּה אַדֹנָ-י אֱ-להֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל שַבָּת קודֶש


Baruch a-ta A-do-nay Elo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam a-sher ki-dee-sha-nu bi-mitz-vo-tav vi-tzi-va-noo li-had-leek ner shel Sha-bat 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.

The moments immediately after reciting the blessing, while the woman's eyes are still covered, are an extremely auspicious time for her to offer a private prayer for anything her heart desires. It is customary to use this special time to appeal to G‑d for children who will glow with the radiance of the Torah, and that He light up the world with the light of the Redemption.7

After reciting the blessing and uttering her silent prayer, the woman uncovers her eyes and traditionally says "Good Shabbos," or "Shabbat Shalom," to all who are present.

The Zohar emphasizes the importance of lighting the candles with hearty joy and positive feelings.8

(The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, explained that this also applies to the spiritual element of candle lighting. We must execute our task of illuminating the world around us with the light of Torah and mitzvot with joy, recognizing that being G‑d's "ambassador of light" to this world is a tremendous privilege.9)

If one forgot to say the blessing, one may still say the blessing as long as the candles are still lit.10

The one who lit the candles should not eat or drink after candle lighting until the Shabbat meal.

The candles, candlesticks, the tray upon which they sit, and the charity box used before the lighting may not be moved or handled until after Shabbat—nightfall of Saturday night.

Great honor is accorded to the candles, and one is expected to behave respectfully and modestly in their presence. For this reason, it would be improper to, for example, change a diaper in the room where the candles are.11