Hebraic Studies - Light the Sabbath Lights

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Lighting the Sabbath Lights

With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham

The Sabbath brings light into your life, come and symbolize your faith in the Almighty by the lighting of the Sabbath lights (candles).

The Sabbath offers a wonderful break from your everyday toils and thoughts. The Sabbath offers a twenty-four hour break, and a complete escape, time to spend time with your family, as well as going to Shul (Synagogue).

By lighting the Sabbath lights we bring into the home the peace and sanctity of Sabbath by lighting the candles every Friday evening as well as on the eve of any of the Jewish Holy Days (the Feasts).

These Sabbath candles bring a wonderful peace into our homes, and they add a very special light, as well as a much needed warmth to a world that these days tends to be sadly a rather dark, evil and a cold world.

The Sabbath is a special Mitzvot for the mother, as it is the mother who generally has the blessing of bringing the Sabbath into the home. The Sabbath nurtures the family, just like a mother nurtures her children. However, a man may also light the Sabbath lights, for as a Jewish man you might be living alone, etc, but do the same with the hands as described above.

After the candles are lit, the family will enjoy special quality time as everyone sits around the Sabbath table, with the Sabbath lights having the pride of place in the centre of the table. This is a time to be joyful in song and prayer saying the “Kiddush”, thanking the Almighty for the many blessings he has given us. On the Sabbath we enjoy a special, if not a festive meal, and we should dress up a little, as if we are dinning with a king, which you really are, for the Almighty is our Heavenly King! Israel is so fortunate to have a Divinely given Sabbath, for this the Seventh day is a weekly a retreat for the entire family, and that is the way it was always meant to be, a day that is set apart!

 

How do I light Sabbath candles?

1. Get Started:

If you have never done this before, or it has been a long time since doing so, make sure that you have a real hearts desire to do so!

Go to your local supermarket or if available a Jewish store and they will stock Sabbath candles; otherwise obtain some white candles, or even tea lights, but only if absolutely necessary. A Jewish supermarket will have Sabbath candles in a box, thus in a larger quantity, meaning they will be less expensive. Avoid tall candles, as they will burn too long. You’ll also need candlestick holders, and please use the very best you have. Silver is ideal. (Doing this mitzvah beautifully is also a blessed mitzvah!), otherwise an attractive glass/pottery or metal candlesticks can be obtained and they will be affordable.

Place the candlesticks on the dining room table closest to where the Kiddush leader sits, or where is best in your situation.

2. Light up:

You light the candles around eighteen minutes before sunset on Friday (Erev Shabbat).

3. Get spiritual:

This is where you will feel a special blessing. With the candles lit, the person lighting them has a special role to play. Draw your hands with your palm facing inward (towards the face) three times to bring in the Sabbath spirit, then cover your eyes with your hands, and say the following blessing.

Say this Berakhot - Blessing;

‘Ba’ruch  ata  A‘do’nai  Elohenu  Me’lech  Ha’olam  A’sher  Kid’sha’nu  Be’mitz’vo’tav  Ve’tzi’vanu  Le’had’lik  ner  Shel Shabbat.’

‘Blessed are You, HaSHEM our G-d, King of the universe, who has instructed us on the lighting of the Sabbath lights.’

This is the same blessing but in Hebrew

Please Note: It is hard to believe, but nowhere in the Torah are we “instructed,” or “commanded” to “light the Sabbath lights,” as this custom was added by the rabbis. However, it does bring the “Sabbath Sanctity” into the home. For this reason, I have also provided an alternative blessing for you in English, which I believe is far better and inline with Torah …

“Blessed is HaShem our G-d, King of the universe, who instructed us to light the Menorah in the Temple. We light these Sabbath lights as a representation of the Menorah. May these lights fill our home with Sabbath Peace.”

Through Prayer, and Torah, one comes to love G-d.

If we pray unto the Almighty G-d with love and sincerity, there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer.

“… The Torah commands us TO: “Love HaSHEM your G-d” Davarim (Deuteronomy) 6:5. For the word ‘love,’ the Torah uses the perfect tense form VeAhavta rather than the future form TeEhov. This shows us that we are commanded to endear G-d to others, and not only to love Him ourselves.

It says in the Sifri: “‘Love HaSHEM your G-d.’ This means you should endear G-d to others as our forefather Avraham did.’ It is known that by studying the Torah/Bible one comes to love G-d.” (Shem Olam, Chapter 22).

It is so wonderful to light the Sabbath lights, and I encourage you to set n example for, not just yourself, but also for your loved ones, for you are Jewish!

Wishing you and your Mishpachah or Mesbucha (family) “Shabbat Shalom”, may the Peace of the Almighty fill you, your family and your home!

Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.

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Please Note: On this site I will show the four letter blessed *“Memorial Name” of the Almighty in Ivrit -  - Y-H-V-H, which we usually pronounce as “Adonai” or “HaShem”. At all times treat the most blessed Name with sanctity and when we even see the Name, we should say “blessed be His Sanctified Name.”

 

*This is My Name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” Shemot - Exodus 3:15.

 

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