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Candle Lighting Reflections

Candle Lighting Reflections

Unveiling the darkness by Tere Attie

The Shabbat lights illuminate, protect and guide. And we implore, with open hands, to receive Hashem's protection and His strength, observing this sacred fire where His presence is present and links us to His image and likeness eternally for who we are... His people.

Tere Attie

Mexico City, Mexico

Shabbat Shel Shalom by Rebbetzin Chen Elon

When I light candles, it is my moment to pray for all the people closest to me that I want to bless with the abundance of light and peace of Shabbat that will accompany them throughout the week. Rabbi Nachman of Breslav explains an amazing explanation about the candles. It is said in the Book of Proverbs written by King Solomon: "כי נר ה' נשמת אדם" The soul of every Jew is the candle of G-d. The candle has a very special element, says Rabbi Nachman, that connects matter and spirit. The candle itself is made of wax – it is the material. The flame is the wind, it always turns upwards. The candle without the fire has no meaning. The flame without the candle does not exist. Only the combination of the two together brings light. In our lives, it is very difficult for us to connect matter and spirit – there is a war between them. Our pure soul is within a body, and all week, we try to connect matter and spirit – to carry out our daily deeds with a connection to holiness. It's hard work to connect opposites! Almost impossible. But then comes Shabbat, and the candle shows us that it is possible. Thanks to Shabbat, we have proof that matter and spirit can be at peace. Then we have inner peace within us. That is why we greet Shabbat – Shabbat Shalom! Only on Shabbat is there peace between holy and profane.

Rebbetzin Chen Elon, Cesarea, Israel

How do you feel magic by Rebbetzin Adina Russek

I was 11 years old when I was invited for the first time to experience what Shabbat was. I remember the beautiful silver chandeliers that the owner of the house lit up, caught my attention. I saw her close her eyes for a few moments, pray, and then with a big smile, wished Shabbat Shalom to her husband and children. Suddenly the house was filled with light, the whole atmosphere changed, as if it was magic! Since then, and until my first Shabbat as a married woman, I had observed different customs in the number of candles that are lit: Some light two, others add a candle for each child, for each grandson, daughter-in-law and son-in-law... some women prefer to use olive oil and others use the classic wax candles, but the question that accompanied me the most was how was I going to light my candles and be able to feel the same magic and holiness as I had felt when I was 11 years old. Our sages teach us that to acquire kedusha – holiness, one has to elevate material things, giving them their spiritual value. I can have beautiful chandeliers because I like to have nice things in my house, or I can have the same chandeliers in honor of Shabbat. I can dress as a queen to go out to a wedding or I can do the same to light the Shabbat candles, giving importance to one of the three special mitzvot for us women. I can light the candles in an automatic way as if I were lighting the stove to cook or I can think of the light that I am bringing into my home, light of Torah and mitzvot. With a little reflection and study on the mitzvah of hadlakat nerot, we can discover endless options to elevate and beautify this mitzvah, thus bringing much holiness to our homes. This is what magic feels like!

Rebbetzin Adina Russek, Guatemala city, Guatemala

Come my girls and fellow sisters by Natalie Altman

Kerfuffle, a bustle
The time ...
Where’s my ?
Come quick
Lipstick
Put away
Don’t stray
Cholent’s on
What’s wrong?
Look at the sun – the time has come

Breathe

Come my girls and fellow sisters
It’s time to unfurl a world beyond this world
Come ignite the light to shine bright
On our homes, on our families, and on time
Let it still the quill, the never ending drill, the unrelenting will
To produce
And stem that which seduces us to acquire and climb higher on the rungs of the elusive ladder

Let our act of bringing light inspire us to reflect, protect and inspect that which is real
And that our week conceals as we rush through it
Let us look at our children’s iridescent faces
The spaces of our homes
The paces of our week, the events of which we spoke
And of those we did not speak

Let the softer glow show our families and let them know
That we are present for them, and for ourselves
And as we wave away the week and welcome Shabbos
Let us speak to Hashem from the depth of our beings
Of what we’ve seen and hope to be seeing and of what we dream
May we merit that which we’ve inherited from our mothers and their mothers before
The peace of Shabbos and a peace of our souls
Chelek Meolam Habbah

Good Shabbos 

Natalie Altman, Johannesburg, South Africa