Friday evening is a time to awaken all your senses around thedinner table. But before you eat, tradition tells us to pause andacknowledge that this evening, this dinner is different. We set twocandles out and as we light them we invite the Sabbath to enter our home andsurround our family with rest and joy.These two candles can be just the start of the innovations made for Shabbat.You may choose to eat in the dining room or on the deck. You can chooseto use a tablecloth or a picnic basket. You may choose to take your jeans offand put on something special or you may want to take off the clothes wornto work and put on something less restrictive. You may want to put on musicreserved for thistime or lower the lights, buy flowers or set out a centerpiecethat a child created.

The goal is to set the day apart, to remember that it is different and special.The woman of the house traditionally lights the candles, but it is lovely torotate this honor to everyone regardless of gender. The custom is to lightthe candles then to cover your eyes while saying the blessing. This gives yourfamily a chance to see the world transformed by the light of the candles whenyour eyes are opened at the end of the blessing. Some wave their hands overthe candles as ifscooping up the holiness of the flames. Two candles aretraditional but some families add a candle for every family member.

בָּרוּך אַתָּה אַדָנָי אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל שַבָּת


Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to light the Sabbath lights. [A traditional translation.]

Holy One of Blessing, Your Presence fills creation, You make us holy with Your commandments and calling us to light the lights of Shabbat. [An alternative translation from Vetaher Libenu, a prayerbook created by Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley.]

Type of Custom: Candlelighting


Source: Shabbat Made Easy