The time of lighting the Shabbat candles is magical. Although both men and women are obligated to light the Shabbat candles, traditionally, this mitzvah (commandment) is the domain of women, who do it for the whole family. After preparing for the day, the whole household stops and welcomes the Shabbat Bride. The candles are lit, and one lifts hands and covers the eyes. Now is the time to recite the blessing over lighting the Shabbat candles. After it is said, one takes their hands away and sees the light anew.
How do I light the candles?
The good thing is, it’s not too difficult. Prepare candles (the most common number is two) – ordinary tea lights are perfect – and set them in a secure spot. The best place for the candles is where they are seen during the dinner. It’s good to prepare a dedicated corner for the candles with room for the plaque with blessings.
Light the candles and wave your hands over the flames as you gather their lights and then cover your eyes. While you have your eyes closed, recite the blessings. If you don’t know them by heart just yet, grab the plaque and read them, but try to cover the light of the candles.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ
לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת.
Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam,
asher kidshanu be-mitzvotav,
ve-tzivanu le-hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
After you complete reciting the blessing, you may linger a bit and say your personal prayer. This is a very unique moment of closeness to God, and it’s worth saying a few words of gratitude or personal request.
When you are done, lift up your hands and open your eyes. Look at the Shabbat flames as if they were a brand new creation. You just welcomed the Shabbat Bride into your home.
Many women have the tradition to recite an additional prayer for her family and loved ones after they lit the candles. You can find it – in Hebrew or English – on some of the designs.
Hebrew & English Blessings
In my store, you will find a few varieties of blessings. Some are only in Hebrew, some have the English transliteration and translation. You will also find them printed on a plaque with an easel – a practical way to have the blessing close by yet secure and safe near the candles. If you prefer to have the berachot hang on your wall, you will find posters, canvas or metal prints – whatever works for you and your home.
The Shabbat candle blessings are a beautiful idea for a gift – for a bride, a bat mitzvah, a mother, or any woman (or man!) who cherishes this tradition.