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Shabbat Candlesticks

Shabbat candlesticks are candles lit every Friday night, eighteen minutes before sundown, to usher in the Jewish Sabbath. It is a rabbinical mandated law to light candles during the Shabbat. This is traditionally lighted by the woman of the household, but if in any case a woman is not available, it can be handled by the  man. Once the candles are lit, the woman waves her hands over them, covers her eyes, and recites a benediction.

Two flames before Shabbat reminisce the commandment to “Remember and Observe” this special day. While candles are still the preferable flame, a lot of people have now switched over to using liquid paraffin oil inside candle shaped glass bulbs. A lot of young girls light one candle until they get married. A lot of mothers light one candle for each of their children - to symbolize that each child gives additional light to the world. A Shabbat candlestick can make an excellent Jewish wedding or housewarming gifts.

Lighting a candle has always been an exceptional and auspicious time, one of a quiet prayer and meditation. The Jewish girl or woman stands in front of the lighted flames with their eyes covered while saying the blessings. The purpose that the benediction must be said afterwards, rather than beforehand lighting the candles is because if the benediction were to be said first it would appear as though the woman has already "initiated Shabbos." Therefore, she would not be allowed to light the candles, as lighting the candle on the Shabbos is prohibited.

At this moment, when the family is assembled together, the woman has traditionally offered a verbal or silent prayer on behalf of her children and husband. In past generations, personal prayers in Yiddish called "techinos" were typically said by Jewish women prior to doing a Mitzvah and on special occasions. As a ceremonial art or object, the candle is generally not included, but it has great importance. Whether intentional for practical functions such as supplying light, or for more evocative, quasi-magical endings, like rejuvenation of the winter sun, just about all festival and celebration uses candles at some point.

Each Mitzvah presents light into the world. With certain mitzvoth, the light we produce can truly be perceived and valued. Lighting candles to bring in the Shabbat is one such Mitzvah; the candles offer a calm and delicate atmosphere to the religious holiday of rest.

Shabbat candles are customarily a woman's Mitzvah. The woman lays out the personal manner of her home; it is her job and God-given ability to ensure that light and harmony persist in her home.
Young girls are allowed to light a Shabbat candlestick when they are able to recite the blessing (approximately three years of age). A man can only light the candles if there is no adult woman available.
The necessity in lighting the Shabbat candlesticks is of rabbinical descent. It is customary to light two candles, but in certain homes an extra candle is lit for every child. The lighting of Shabbat candlestick has a double purpose: To "honor Shabbat” and produce Shalom Bayit or domestic serenity.