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Something Remarkable Happens
...every time you light candles for Shabbat and for the Holidays. It's something that fills your heart with joy and binds you to your people. It's something that inspires you, offers hope and provides peace. It's something that bestows the blessing of light to illuminate the world above you.
Look back to biblical times, to Sarah, our matriarch, whose miraculous lamp gave light to her husband Avraham her son Yitzchak from Shabbat to Shabbat. Refer to Rivkah who, after Sarah, blessed the Shabbat lamp from the time she was only three years old.
It is this 3700 year-old tradition which Jewish women remember and observe in welcoming the Shabbat Queen. It is this mitzvah that rekindles the Divine spark in every Jewish being.
Today, all of us have an even greater obligation to dispel the darkness and defeat the depravity which, if left unchallenged, would destroy the Jewish home, Jewish life, and morality.
So now, once again, young and old, mothers and daughters of all ages in every Jewish home may participate in lighting candles and know the joy of pronouncing the bracha (or blessing), and opening her eyes to behold the smile of G-d's approval and love.
Today, every Jewish girl needs strength of the inner light that is kindled by the mitzvah of candle lighting. Let it be a beacon that guides her in every step of her life and lights her way when darkness threatens.
In the act of lighting the Shabbat candles, every girl will find that something remarkable happens.
May this act of dedication illuminate a bright future and let it be a source of eternal peace for all people.
Who should light the Shabbat candlesA married woman customarily lights two candles and may add an additional one for each of her children. An unmarried girl should light one candle in deference to her mother.
As soon as a young girl can understand the idea of Shabbat and can say the blessing (approximately three years old) her parents should provide here with a candlestick and teach her to kindle the Shabbat lights.
The young girl should light before her mother in case she needs assistance from her.
If there is no woman in the house, the a man should light the candles instead.
What should be done before lighting the Shabbat candles ?It is customary to put a few coins into a "tzedoka pushka" (charity box) before lighting the candles.
What is the correct time for lighting the Shabbat candles ?The correct time to light the Shabbat candles is 18 minutes before sunset every Friday. Young girls should light prior to this time.
Other times we light candles ?Just as candles are lit in honor of Shabbat so are they lit in honor of the festivals.
Procedure for lighting the Shabbat candles:
The woman (or young girl) lights the candles, then spreads her hands out around the candles, drawing her hands inwards in a circular motion three times to indicate her acceptance of the sanctity of the Shabbat. She then covers her eyes with her hands and says the blessing. She then uncovers her eyes to behold the Shabbat lights. The time of lighting is considered to be especially propitious to pray to G-d for health and happiness. The prayer is readily acceptable because it is said during the performance of the great mitzvah of lighting the Shabbat Candles.
CAUTION: Shabbat candles must be lit before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.
Various blessings are recited on different festivals click here to see them.
click here for a Shabbat guide.
click here for some laws of Shabbat candle lighting for the blind
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