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Candle Lighting

Thursday, 11 April, 2013 - 9:00 am


Dear Fraida (and Rabbi Kushi),

I noticed that by the Friday night candle lighting you covered your eyes and swayed. Is that a family custom? A Jewish tradition?



Dear Lisa,

Shabbat candles represent and bring Shalom Bayit - peace in the home. Shabbat candles are a spiritual light, a light of holiness, as well as a physical light.

Many people take this moment of holiness to ask G-d for good things, peace in the home and/or any special request they may have. So yes, I think it is a nice tradition.Here is a story my cousin emailed me about the powers of Shabbat candle prayers.



Shabbat candles are also connected with this week’s Torah portion where we read about the metzorah, someone inflicted with the spiritual tzaraas malady.

The Mishna teaches that the entry into a building by a “metzorah” makes the building impure. The only time this is not so is when the owner of the house shows his displeasure in the metzorah being in the house. The owner must show his displeasure in ‘the amount of time it takes to light a candle’ (mishna negaim ch. 13).

Why is the impurity duration determined by the length of the candle lighting time? The commentators’ explain that maybe the landlord was lighting Shabbat candles and therefore could not turn to the leper and remove him. Hence, extra time is given to show displeasure. This time limit is determined as the timeframe to cause impurity in such situations.

In Torah everything is accurate. The fact that candle lighting prevents impurity reflects the inner relationship between the two.

As mentioned previously, Shabbat candles bring Shalom Bayit - peace in the home. Leprosy is caused by defamatory speech, the opposite of peace. Defamation causes separation and controversy. Shabbat candles - matters of peace - protect the home from being tainted by leprosy – relating to controversy and hatred.

This commandment brings physical light into the house; a Mitzvah that brings with it peace into the home. It also has the power to stand against impurity and protect the occupants from disagreement and hatred.

If we keep the commandment of Shabbat candles, the following verse will be fulfilled: "If you preserve the Sabbath candles – I will show you the Candle of Zion" very soon, in the Third Temple, G-d willing now!

Hope this helps

See you Shabbat morning

Rabbi Kushi

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