Our sages have declared that the privilege of lighting the Shabbat candles belongs to the woman because:

  • She is usually more involved in the running of the house, and spends more time at home.
  • Eve, by persuading her husband to eat of the tree of knowledge, brought death to the world and extinguished the "candle of G‑d." To atone for this, women kindle the Shabbat candles, reigniting the G‑dly spark.
  • It is the woman who determines the spirituality in the home. By encouraging the study of Torah and the meticulous performance of mitzvot, and through her nurturing presence, the woman transforms her home into a place of holiness, peace and tranquility. It is thus fitting that she be the one to bring the extra measure of light and holiness with the Shabbat candles.