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