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Candle Lighting Reflections

Candle Lighting Reflections

Out of the darkness by Raquel Kirszenbaum Didio

Rabbi Nachman teaches a beautiful idea, which, for me, summarises, enhances and gives life to this beautiful mitzvah: Imagine you go into a dark room, where there are no windows or light… would you be able to see anything in there? You go back outside and then find the light switch, and suddenly the whole room is lit up and now you can see tables, chairs, people… would you think it is like ‘Toy Story’ – everyone quickly running to their places? Of course not! You know everything was always there, but you lacked the ability to see! Why? Because you didn’t turn on the light switch! Many of us live in darkness, in confusion, full of difficulty... we do not seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or the beauty or positivity. And this is only because we forget to turn on the light switch called G-d in our lives! It is up to us to bring light, meaning, purpose and direction into our lives! Candle-lighting is about women taking the initiative and the active role of refusing to live in darkness, but rather choosing light, choosing good, choosing G-d.

Raquel Kirszenbaum Didio

Jerusalem, Israel

It’s never too late by Robin Sarah Davina Meyerson

I am Jewish and have Jewish parents and grandparents. Until I was 27, I had never heard of Shabbat. When I first heard of Shabbat, I thought it was on Sundays and was only for nuns. After experiencing Shabbat in other people’s homes, I decided to learn to light Shabbat candles and keep Shabbat. I need Shabbat so much. I work incredibly hard for six days and six nights because I love to conquer the world of doing. Yet, when Shabbat comes, I light a candle for each of my five kids, one son-in-law and two grandsons. I pray deeply for each of them to be healthy, marry nice Jewish spouses, have lots of Jewish kids and grandkids. And then I pray for all the Jewish people in the whole world to know, love and keep Shabbat because it’s never too late to light Shabbat candles and keep Shabbat!

Robin Sarah Davina Meyerson

Scottsdale, USA

A moment beyond time by Daniela Lowinger

The moment of lighting the Shabbat candles and reciting the bracha is an invitation to the union that existed shortly before Hashem created the world. Thinking of Shabbat as a gift that Hashem has only given to Am Israel reminds me that it is a moment of intimacy between Him and me, between Hashem and Am Israel. This makes the moment really special, something that we must treasure as the highest of our possessions.

Daniela Lowinger

Panama City, Panama

The power of light by Alyssa M. Baumgarten

There are various customs when it comes to lighting Shabbos candles. While it is traditional in many families to light two candles, in our family, we have the custom of adding an additional candle for each child. Our family is blessed with three children and so I light five candles each erev Shabbos. When my children were young, they would join me each Friday night as I lit the candles. Each child knew that one of the five flames was added just for him or her; that his or her existence makes the world a brighter place. By lighting Shabbos candles together each week, our children learned that each of them has the power to illuminate the world. What a wonderful message to impart to our children.

Alyssa M. Baumgarten

Miami Beach, USA

Gratitude is a choice by Aviva Thurgood

I remember the first time I lit Shabbat candles three days after our beloved shul burned down and we lost six Sifrei Torah and countless memories. A shul is so much more than a structure – it's a spiritual home and a Torah scroll, although parchment and ink are living, breathing things. I remember watching the flames dance in my candlesticks and trying hard not to associate the flames with the smell of the ash and smoke that I breathed in when my husband had eventually come home from that devastating night. It was hard to imagine that we would ever be able to look at fire again without fear, tears and pain. Yet a year later, almost to the day of the fire, we were gifted with a baby boy. Born a few days before Chanukah, we have named him Neriya (candle or torch of G-d). Over the year, we saw how a fire united our community, brought with it a sense of purpose, resilience and an inner drive to continue no matter what. It has taught us to be flexible, innovative and to focus on what really matters, the people who form a community and make it into a family. Like everything in life, we have a choice of how we interpret the events that happen in our lives: are we crushed by them or do we see them as opportunities for growth and inspiration? When I light my candles now, I choose to focus on gratitude, for the G-d-given miracles of my children and the wonderful community I have the privilege of being a part of. Fire can be destructive, but it can also provide warmth, light and guidance. May your Shabbat candles dance as they usher in the magical glow of Shabbat and may your home always be blessed with the warmth and happiness that gratitude brings.

Aviva Thurgood

Johannesburg, South Africa

The glow of Shabbat by Jenny Asse Chayo

Shabbat candles deliver me to the sacred, the inner world lights up, it surrenders to the infinite of the Creator. Outside, La Paz stands tall, the commandments burn like a sun, the thought expands towards the transcendent luminosity. The gaze lights up and we can see beyond eternity. Shabbat is time to surrender to G-d.

Jenny Asse Chayo

Mexico City, Mexico

Illuminating the differences by Daniela Schindlower

The Torah teaches us that candles must be lit to bring shalom – peace – home. But the truth is that there is no connection between lighting candles and having more peace in my house! Although maybe we don't understand it and we don't see the connection because we don't really know what peace means. We believe that peace comes when two people think the same and when there are no differences. We think that shalom is to take out the differences, to pretend they don't exist. But the Torah teaches us another definition. It tells us that true peace is like a puzzle, where all the pieces are different but they fit perfectly together. If the pieces were the same, they could not be joined. So the fact that we are different is what unites us as a whole. We don’t have to cover the differences; on the contrary, we have to try and see them, and look for the way in which they complement each other. And that's what Shabbat candles do every time we light them – we bring light to the home, which allows us to see the differences between us and find a way to complement each other.

Daniela Schindlower

Santiago de Chile

The power of Shabbos candles by Sarah Shnirer

Do you understand the implications of the candles that you light each Friday night? Why was this lofty role placed in your care? It’s because of the hidden light within your heart – you possess this special light that can light up your home! Within you is a treasure of love, self-sacrifice, loyalty and dedication to Judaism. It permeates the souls of your children, and goes into the hidden corners of their hearts. So with this powerful gift, you do the job. You form the character of your children. And when you care for your children, when you feed them, when you put them to bed, you permeate their souls with the spirit of Judaism. You implant in their hearts the most noble character traits, so when they grow up they will be loyal members of our nation. It is your job not only to light, but also to protect this light from all that threatens to darken it. You need your Shabbos candles to wage the battle as you establish a pillar of light around your home – to hold your children in your arms so they are always a part of the Jewish people. Through the Shabbos candles, the Jewish home is transformed into a fortress. Only such a fortress will make Judaism strong – today, tomorrow and forever.

Shelley Willis

Johannesburg, South Africa

Royalty  by Laura Fichelson

Lighting candles is like lighting the light of your soul and awakening it so you connect with your potential. We were all born with a single purpose. Our contribution is unique and unrepeatable, and every Shabbat we connect with Hashem and His eternal light to renew our commitment to our mission. We are princesses with a unique legacy that was passed down from generation to generation. Our tikkun olam potential to improve the world with our thoughts, emotions and actions is incalculable.

Laura Fichelson

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Eit Ratzon by Tzippy Newman

Hadlakat neirot is accompanied by a very special tranquility and special aura in the physical sense. More importantly, it allows for a unique spiritual experience with the Almighty. It provides me with the unique opportunity to take advantage of eit ratzon – a time when Hashem listens to individual requests and prayers. 

Tzippy Newman

Karnei Shomron, Israel

From the race against time to serenity by Dafna Benizri

From one Shabbos to another, the Jewish woman has a fairly hectic schedule. As a mother, grandmother and wife, there is no shortage of work. But, thank G-d, at the start of Shabbos, time stops. Stress flies slowly away as the time for candle-lighting approaches. It is not simply a lighting of candles, but a weekly invitation to prayer and introspection – an opportunity to pour out one's heart and pray in front of the candles that will bring blessing into the house. The lights of Shabbos bring about precious calm and disconnection from an active lifestyle. I would not miss this special gift for anything in the world. These candles do not only light up my house, but also provide me with energy and real inner peace.

Dafna Benizri

Nice, France

The flame - Mariacha Drai

Friday afternoon, as the sun sets on the horizon, the women of the Jewish people learn to illuminate the world with another light... Shabbat candles. The flame, which represents the soul of man, is kindled precisely at the time of the beginning of Shabbat, when our souls are invested with a higher soul. Lighting a flame every Shabbat eve is an invitation to change our outlook on the world, it is learning to have a more penetrating, interior gaze, to go beyond any form of superficiality. Lighting the Shabbat candles is, in fact, kindling the inner flame that animates our lives; it is learning to see all that is luminous within those who share our home; it is learning to go beyond the visible world. This light is the sign of the uniqueness of each one of us, it is rewarding and invites us to have esteem both for ourselves and for those around us. This flame invites us to redefine our identities and to connect us to our ultimate source. Each week, at the start of Shabbat, we remember who we are: We are all carriers of a Divine soul that enlightens, guides and gives meaning to our lives!

Mariacha Drai

Paris, France