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Candlelight is very different than the harsh lights of our homes and offices. We begin Shabbat bathed in their sweet, gentle glow.
Candles are lit a minimum of 18 minutes before sundown on Friday evening.
Light at least two candles (some add an additional candle for each child.)
Draw in the light by waving your hands toward your eyes three times.
Recite the blessing, while covering your eyes with your hands.
Uncover your eyes and take a moment to appreciate the sweet light of Shabbat.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו
וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam,
asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu
l’hadlik ner shel shabbat.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God,
Ruler of the universe,
Whose mitzvot add holiness to our lives and
Who has given us the mitzvah to kindle the lights of Shabbat.
I started giving blessings at High Holiday services at my shul. I sat in the lobby and put up a sign on an empty chair offering blessings. Since then I've created a simple format and trained people. The "Blessing Booth" has become part of High Holiday services and many Friday evening services.
Giving a holy blessing is a beautiful thing. Anyone can learn to do it. It is brief, under five minutes. It is...
Fasting on Yom Kippur is not as obvious as one might think. Nowhere does the Torah explicitly command it. Instead, the verses teach us to “afflict ourselves” without defining the nature of this “affliction.”
We do know that Yom Kippur is about atonement and forgiveness. So how does “afflicting” ourselves through fasting relate to teshuva ? Many assume that fasting is a form of...
This is adapted from an original post that I wrote in 2010.
The 10 Days of Repentance represent the window of time in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, during which time we are meant to repent on the sins of the past year. I’ve always found it tough to focus on this and properly bring it down to earth, so I developed this writing exercise to help me through it. It can work for anyone, irrespective of faith....
Happy New Year! Traditionally, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is a time of introspection and reflection. How did we do in the past year? What are we hoping to change in the coming year? During this meal we will rejoice in being together, and think backwards on the year that was, and forward to the year that will be. Plus delicious food, puns, and casting off some bad karma. To a sweet new year!
It’s time to say thank you. To your host or to your guests. To the people who have supported you through the last year, and the people who inspire you going forward. Say a real thank you--be as specific as you can, because thank yous are like fuel--they power us for the year to come. And don’t forget to thank God (or the creator/the Universe/the mystical source of connection) one more time for the year you just had,...
Jewish meditation can refer to several traditional practices, ranging from visualization and intuitive methods, forms of emotional insight in communitive prayer, esoteric combinations of Divine names, to intellectual analysis of philosophical, ethical or mystical concepts. It often accompanies unstructured, personal Jewish prayer that can allow isolated contemplation, or sometimes the instituted Jewish services. Its...
In the days prior to Rosh Hashanah, throughout the Hebrew month of Elul, traditional Jews add Psalm 27 to their daily prayers. Here’s a contemporary translation by Norman Fischer from his book Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms
You are my light and my help
Whom should I fear?
You are the fortress of my life
Whom should I dread?
When the narrow ones gather...
Reprinted fromThe Jewish Religion: A Companion, published by Oxford University Press.
Kiddush is the sanctification of the Sabbath.
On Friday night, when the Sabbath begins, the Kiddush ceremony is carried out before sitting down to the Sabbath meal. A cup of wine is filled and held in the hand by the person presiding, usually but not necessarily the father of the house, and the benediction over...
Abraham Joshua Heschel. a rabbi who marched for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King, Jr
Wrote that morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings,
That indifference to evil is worse than evil itself
That in a free society, some are guilty but all are responsible
May we continue to practice tikkun olam, repairing the world
Af-Bri (Anger-Health) is the name of the angel of rain; he thickens and forms clouds, he empties them and to cause rain. Water to crown the valley’s vegetation, may it not be withheld because of our debt. In the merit of the faithful ancestors protect the ones who pray for rain. Blessed are you, Hashem, shield of Abraham. You are eternally mighty, my Lord, the resuscitator of the dead; abundantly able to save. May the...