Friday, February 4, 2011

Candle Lighting

Today is the 30th day of Shebat (Rosh Chodesh Adar), 5771

The Mitzvah of lighting the Shabbat candles is one of the special Mitzvot for 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 representing Shamor and the other one representing Zakhor.

Shamor and Zakhor are the two versions (like: the 'two sides' of the coin) of the first word of the fourth commandment. Shamor means, 'keeping Shabbat', in the sense of refraining ourselves from transgressing the Shabbat working or doing any forbidden Melakha (creative tasks, as defined by the Halakha). And Zakhor includes the performance of all positive things we do to honor the Shabbat.

1. Using festive clothing and having special food for Shabbat.

2. Welcoming Shabbat with the Kiddush.

3. Honoring Shabbat when it finishes, 'accompanying' its departure by the Habdalah ceremony, same as one would do with an important guest: welcoming him when he comes to our house and accompanying him as he leaves our house.

Although the woman of the house has priority to light Shabbat candles, if she is no home or if she is not able to light the candles, the husband or one adult member of the family could light the candles, and recite the corresponding blessing.

When single girls or boys are away from home, for example, if they have to spend Shabbat in their dorms, or when a husband is in a business trip and spends Shabbat in a hotel room out of town, they should light the candles in their room and say the blessing for it.

Shabbat Shalom!

Candle lighting in NYC: 4:58 PM

Shabbat Ends in NYC: 6:07 PM

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024