WHY DO WE LIGHT SHABBAT CANDLES

By Messianic Rabbi Eric Carlson

Every Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) Jewish women around the world begin the centuries old traditional mitzvot (command) of lighting the Shabbat candles. Lighting the Shabbat candles is an eternal bond bestowed upon Jewish women linking us to thousands of years of heritage that defines Jewish and Biblical life! These holy flames are our link to the future generations. The Shabbat candles are traditionally lit 18 minutes before sunset, in the same room that the Shabbat meal is to be eaten showing that the lights are to honor Shabbat.

The world we live in today is tumultuous and filled with tribulation and is spiritually challenging. The Lighting of the Shabbat candles every Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) is more important than ever as a testimony to the power and love of God, bring our families together in the name of Yeshua! The flickering flame is a reflection of the divine spark within each of us. It is a focal point for the family, united together in Shalom around the "light", to pray together, to spend time together, to pause and share the Shabbat meal together while focusing on Yeshua!

The Shabbat Candles are traditionally lit by the women because it was a woman who removed the light from the world (Eve) and it was a woman who returned the light to the world (Miriam (Mary) who gave birth to Yeshua). The wife (woman) is the keeper of the light for her entire family and holds the honor of lighting the candles. Her daughters should be taught how to light the candles at the earliest age possible and they should share the responsibility of lighting the candles. Single men and women who live alone assume the duty of lighting the candles. There should always be at least two candles but there may be more. Increasing the number of candles increases the blessing. There may be more candles such as lighting a menorah on Feast Days but never less then two. Both candles have a symbolic meaning. The first candle represents Creation "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...And God said, 'Let there be light' and there was light." Genesis 1:1,3. The second candle represents Redemption, Yeshua said, "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12. Traditionally, the woman covers her head with a scarf while lighting the candles as a reminder that God is over her and she is submissive to Him. A second, smaller set of candles may be simultaneously lit by her daughter, as she learns from her mother. The woman lights the candles one at a time then closes her eyes (so she does not enjoy the light before blessing it). She will then spread her hands out around the candles, drawing her hands inward in a circular motion three times. In traditional Judaism the three times is symbolic of life, liberty, and happiness. In the body of believers, it represents and is symbolic of Father, Yeshua (Son), and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). After the candles are lit, the woman covers her eyes and recites one of the following blessings to finish the lighting ceremony:

CANDLE LIGHTING BLESSINGS

1. Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kid-shanu b'mitz-

votav, v'tzinvanu l'hadlik neyr shel Shabbat

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe who has set us

apart by Your commandments and has enjoined upon us the kindling of the Sabbath light.

2. Baruch atah Ad-nai Elohenu melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b'id v'rekha vna-tahn la-noo

et Yeshua m'she-chay-noo, v'tzee-va-noo l'he-oat oar la-oh-lahm. Ah-main.

Blessed are You or Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us in Your Word, and

given us Yeshua our Messiah, and commanded us to be light to the world. Amen.

Try this at home next Friday evening, free in the Spirit and pray together as family and friends with the power and anointing of Yeshua!