Friday, January 15, 2010

Lighting Shabbat Candles

29th of Tebet, 5770

The Mitzvah of lighting the Shabbat candles is one of the special Mitzvot of a Jewish woman. Our Rabbis instituted this Mitzvah to honor the Shabbat and promote Shalom Bayit, peace at home. The traditional custom is to light two candles, one represents ”Shamor” and the other one represents “Zakhor”.

“Shamor” and “Zakhor” are the two versions of the first word of the fourth commandment. “Shamor” means, to keep Shabbat, in the sense of keeping ourselves from transgressing the Shabbat by working or doing any forbidden Melakha (creative task). “Zakhor” means “remember” in the sense of honoring Shabbat using festive clothing , having special food and mainly welcoming it with the Kiddush and honoring its departure by the Habdalah ceremony, same as one would do with an important guest: welcoming when he comes and honoring him as he leaves.

Although the woman of the house has priority to light Shabbat candles, if she is away from home the husband or one of the adult members of the family could light the candles as well.

Single girls or boys, when away from home, if for example they have to spend Shabbat in the dorms, or a husband that spends Shabbat in a Hotel room overseas, should light the candles and say the blessing for it.
Shabbat Shalom!