The Lightning of Candles and Why it is Special for Women

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Why Light Candles?

  • Light Represents Clarity: Shabbos is a day of clarity, when we can see our purpose in this world with greater clarity. All the distractions of technology and regular weekday pressures fade away. We spend a precious 25 hours focusing on the needs of our souls and our spiritual connection to God.
  • Candlelight Brings Closeness: Couples light candles at romantic dinners because the dim light brings people closer together in a deep way. Shabbos is our "date" with God because on this day, we can focus totally on God without the regular distractions of the busy week.
  • Light Brings Peace: The Shabbos candles usher peace into the home because the soft glow of the candles provide a peaceful ambiance. Practically speaking, light also helps keep peace at home because it prevents us from stumbling in the dark, and allows us to see our food better so we can enjoy it more as we eat it. Shabbos is a day of peace and rest when we can focus on our families, friends, God, and all that is dear to us.
  • The Soul is Called a "Candle of God": Just as the soul infuses spirituality into the body, Shabbos infuses spirituality into the week. The spirtuality of Shabbos lights up a week that would otherwise be shrouded in darkness, confusion, and materialism.

Special For Women

Both men and women are equally obligated to light Shabbos candles. However, lighting candles is one of 3 mitzvos that are given especially to women, so mothers and wives usually light the candles on behalf of the men in their household.

Why specifically women? Jewish tradition teaches that women are more naturally attuned to spirituality, and it is their primary responsibility to infuse spirituality into their homes. Women are more involved in the day - to - day tasks of running a home, which provides many opportunities to infuse these mundane tasks with meaning and spirituality. Women have the power to set the tone for their home and ensure that their families remain connected to God and Judaism.

Our Sages teach that Sarah (Abraham's wife) would light the Shabbos candles, her flames would keep burning all week long, from one Shabbos to the next. The power of a Jewish women extends throughout the entire week and can elevate her own life and the life of her family.