A Jewish Women & Girl’s Guide to Lighting Shabbat & Festival Candles

“If you will observe the kindling of the Shabbat lights, you will merit
to see the lights of the redemption of the Jewish people.”
Yalkut Shimoni behaaloscho

“Let every women – young girls included – add her holy light
to illuminate the world shrouded in darkness and confusion”
Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Shneerson

Procedure for Lighting the Shabbat Candles  

“Light is born… darkness recedes.”

The woman (or young girl) lights the candles, then spreads her hands out around the candles, drawing her hands inwards in a circular motion three times to indicate her acceptance of the sanctity of the Shabbat. She then covers her eyes and says the blessing:

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A’sher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat Kodesh.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the candle of the Holy Shabbat.

She then uncovers her eyes to behold the Shabbat lights.
The time of lighting is considered especially propitious to pray to G-d for health and happiness. The prayer is readily accepted because it is said during the performance of this great mitzvah of lighting the Shabbat candles.
The Holy Zohar declared that when a woman kindles her Shabbat candles with joy in her heart, she brings peace on earth, long life to her loves ones, and is blessed with children who illuminate the world with Torah.

CAUTION: The candles must be lit before sunset. It is prohibited, and it is a desecration of the Shabbat, to light the candles after sunset.

The Shabbat Candles

• A married woman lights two candles and may add an additional one for each of her children. An unmarried girl should light one candle in deference to her mother.
• As soon as a young girl can understand the idea of the Shabbat and can say the blessing (approximately 3 years old) her parents should provide her with a candlestick and teach her to kindle the Shabbat candle. It is imperative for every girl to light a candle, for the world is shrouded in darkness and we need everyone's candles to light up the world.
• The young girl should light before her mother in case she needs assistance from her.
• It is customary to put a few coins into a tzedaka pushka (Charity box) before lighting the candles.
• The correct time to light the Shabbat candles is 18 minutes before sunset every Friday. Young girls should light prior to this time.

The Festival Candles

• Just as candles are lit in honour of the Shabbat, so are they lit in honour of the festivals.
• Various blessings are recited on different festivals.

FESTIVAL
   BLESSINGS
First Eve of Rosh Hashanah
  4 & 1
Second Eve of Rosh Hashanah
  5 & 1
Eve of Yom Kippur
  6 & 1
First Eve of Sukkot
  2 & 1
Second Eve of Sukkot
  3 & 1
Eve of Shemini Atzeret
  2 & 1
Eve of Simchat Torah
  2 & 1
First Seder Night
  2 & 1
Second Seder Night
  2 & 1
Seventh Eve of Passover
  2
Eighth Eve of Passover
  2
First Eve of Shavuot
  2 & 1
Second Eve of Shavuot
  2 & 1

1) Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam She-heche-ya-nu Ve-ki-yi-ma-nu Ve-higi-a-nu Liz-man Ha-zeh.

2) Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov.

3) Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A’sher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat ve-shel Yom Tov.

4) Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Yom Hazikaron.

5) Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A’sher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat ve-shel Yom Hazikaron.

6) Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-deshanu Be-mitzvo-tav Ve-tzvi-vanu Le-hadlik Ner Shel Shabbat ve-shel Yom Hakipurim.

CAUTION: When lighting after the onset of a festival, a pre-existing flame must be used to light the candles since it is prohibited to create a new flame by striking a match or a lighter etc. However, it is permissible to use (or to transfer) a flame burning continuously since the onset of the festival, such as a pilot light, gas or a candle flame.