Shabbat Candles: How To

  1. Candles are lit every Friday slightly before sunset. As this time changes every week and there are different customs in different locations exactly when this time is, it’s important to check for the correct time weekly. Candle lighting time is printed in many Jewish weeklies as well as on the web. See here.
  2. It is customary to give charity before lighting candles.
  3. Married women light two candles, with an additional candle for every child.
  4. Single girls light one candle starting from the age of three.
  5. Shabbat and Jewish festivals are identical for all laws of lighting candles.
  6. If a man lives alone and will be eating the Shabbat meals in a place where candles will not be lit, he should light his own candles.
  7. Light the candles. Once the candle(s) are lit, close your eyes and, with your hands gently moving above the flames, motion the warmth towards your eyes three times. Then, placing your hands over your eyes, speak the words that women across the globe have said for thousands of years: “Baruch Atah A-do-nai Elo-heinu Melech haolam asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu lehadlik ner shel Shabbat kodesh”. (for a Printable version Click here)
  8. Immediately following the candle lighting, it is a most opportune time to ask G-d for healthy, G-d fearing children, as well as any other personal request.
  9. According to Kaballah, candles should be lit with much joy.
  10. After the candles have been lit, all laws of Shabbat go into effect. Make sure that everything is ready for Shabbat prior to lighting. Of course, lack of preparation should not delay lighting.
  11. If Shabbat has already arrived and you did not light candles, DO NOT light them. Doing so on Shabbat is a violation of Torah law.

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