4 questions about the Shabbat candles

Friday, 30 July, 2021 - 1:03 pm

 Για να το διαβάσετε στα Ελληνικά, κάντε κλικ εδώ


Our Sages instituted to light the Shabbat candles on Friday afternoon in order for the home not to be dark. Since it is forbidden to light a fire on Shabbat, a home where the candles were not lit would be dark. Someοne may stumble and fall, get upset that things are not organized and in their place and this would cause strain and trouble in the home. This is not fitting for Shabbat, which should be a day of rest and peace.

Besides for the above reason, to ensure to have light and peace at home, we light candles at the place where we eat, because we enjoy the meal better with more light. We say the blessing over the candles that light the Shabbat table.

Today, it is enough to leave the electric light on (which we are forbidden to open or shut during Shabbat), to be able to go around the house without stumbling and falling on something. But we still light the Shabbat candles in the room where we eat. It is customary to look at the candles when we start the Kiddush.


We must light the candles 18 minutes before sunset (this is the time written in the Jewish calendar) or a little earlier. It is a big Mitzvah to light the candles on time, but if we missed it, it is strictly forbidden to light them later, and we will show more respect to the Shabbat by not lighting them.

The Talmud mentions that someone who lights the candles of Shabbat in his or her home will have wise children. As it is written: “Ki ner Mitzvah veTorah or” “The Mitsvah is a lamp and the Torah is light” (Proverbs 6:23). Our Sages explain that whoever lights the candles of the Mitzvah (of Shabbat) will merit to have children who will light the world with the light of Torah.


Basically, both men and women have the obligation to have at home Shabbat candles. But since the woman is the pillar of the home and responsible for it, the candle lighting was appointed to her. If there is no woman in the house, the man lights the candles.

It is customary that every girl from age 3 lights her own candle (after her marriage, she lights 2 candles). The Rebbe encouraged even young girls to light candles so they get used to this special Mitzvah and add more light to the world.

How many?

The custom is to light 2 candles, one for the word Zachor (remember) and one for the word Shamor (guard), the words that G-d used in the 10 Commandments for the commandment of Shabbat (more about those 2 words here). There is also the custom of adding one more candle for every child born to the family. For instance, if a family has 3 children, the mother lights 5 candles.

May the light of the Shabbat candles bring closer the light of the Redemption with the coming of Mashiach.

Shabbat Shalom,

Arie from the Yeshiva

Comments on: 4 questions about the Shabbat candles
There are no comments.