The Talmud explains that people may stumble or fall in a darkened room — an environment that can lead to bickering; the Shabbat candles bring light, and thus family tranquility, to the home. The candles also cast a soft, warm and festive glow on the Shabbat meal, fostering the Shabbat atmosphere.

On a deeper level, the Chassidic masters explain that the various components of the candle or lamp — the oil or wax that fuel the flame, the wick that channels the oil and "grounds" the flame, the variety of hues of light in the flame they jointly produce, the vessel that holds them — parallel the various components of the human being: our body; our multi-layered soul with its complex, even paradoxical strivings; our achievements. The candle and its flame offer us a vision of a harmonious joining of opposites to produce light, mirroring, and evoking in us, our own power to harmoniously join the various forces at play within our own complex being to illuminate our surroundings. (See Oil, Wick, Vessel and Flame.)