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Candles are lit in the home and in the synagogue on Friday evening to mark the beginning of Shabbat. Traditionally, two candles are lit to represent the words in the two versions of the Ten Commandments for the mitzvah of Shabbat – "Remember (זכור; zachor) the Sabbath day to sanctify it" (Exodus 20:8), and "Keep (שמור; ​shamor) the Sabbath day to sanctify it" (Deuteronomy 5:12). One candle is for "Remember" and one is for "Keep." Some communities and some families have a different tradition – to light one candle for each member of the family.

​The candles can be lit in any order. After lighting the candles, many people have the custom of waving their hands over the candles three times and then drawing their hands over their eyes. This signifies drawing God's presence close before making the blessing.

The blessing is then recited – either spoken or chanted. After reciting the blessing take a moment to look into the flickering lights, draw a breath, feel the rest of Shabbat surround you and transport you into a time beyond time. Shabbat shalom.

In our prayer book Mishkan T'filah, the  Shabbat candle blessing can be found on:
       page 120 in the student copy
       page 2 in the congregant copy

Candle Blessing



Before both the Friday evening meal and lunchtime on Saturday, many welcome Shabbat through blessings over the wine. This blessing is called Kiddush in Hebrew. It combines the acknowledgment of God’s role in feeding people with a blessing for Shabbat and remembering creation and liberation. If you’re not comfortable saying the blessing in Hebrew, do not worry! You can recite an English translation of all or part of it.

In our prayer book Mishkan Tefilah, the Kiddush can be found on:
       page 123 in the student copy
       page 5 in the congregant copy




Wed, December 6 2023 23 Kislev 5784