Friday Night Ritual: Candle Lighting Videos

Created by: OneTable Team

Friday Night Ritual: Candle Lighting Videos

Invite the lights of Shabbat into your home in a way that feels meaningful to you.

There are many ways to enjoy Shabbat rituals and Friday night dinners, so we asked five OneTable hosts to share their unique practices, challenges, and inspiration. Watch how they welcome Shabbat by lighting candles and adapt the ritual to meet their needs.

Lighting Candles with Mel
See how OneTable host Mel lights the candles in her home and sets intentions with her practice.
Lighting Candles with Jacob
See how OneTable host Jacob uses Shabbat as a way to bring Judaism into his home.
Lighting Candles with Healy
See how OneTable host Healy brings family traditions to today's Shabbat table.
Lighting Candles with Ruby
See how OneTable host Ruby offers a gender-inclusive blessing that empowers their guests.
Lighting Candles with Dani
See how OneTable host Dani lights the candles in her home and taps into family traditions to create her own practice.
Light Candles at Your Next Shabbat Dinner

Candle lighting is a simple act with so many variations. There isn’t one right way to light, nor is there any single meaning. Here are some elements you might consider.

  • What: Any type of candle works well (e.g. tapers, tea lights, pillars). Two candles are lit traditionally to symbolize remembering and observing Shabbat. Additional candles can be added for your own symbolism.
  • When: Many people have a practice of lighting candles 18 minutes before sundown in your location. Feel free to bring in Shabbat when you’re ready.
  • Who: All genders are welcome to light Shabbat candles.
  • How: Use circular hand motions around the candles to bring the glow towards your face. Some cover their eyes as they recite the blessing.

In Jewish tradition, lighting candles at sundown on Friday is the last act of the workweek, the literal spark that carries us into the weekend. While you will find no verse in the Torah instructing you to light two candles at dusk, the rabbinic sages over the centuries linked the practice to the concept of shamor Shabbat and zachor Shabbat, the commandments to keep and remember Shabbat.

It is remarkable and spiritually moving to recognize that the ritual of candle lighting is, first and foremost, a practical exercise. Before there was electricity, an embedded candle-lighting ritual ensured that you and your friends wouldn’t be celebrating Shabbat in the dark. In fact, the Jewish legal sources clearly state that if you can only afford to buy one thing for Friday night it should be candles, because if you can’t see your table, your wine, your food, your guests, it’s impossible to enjoy Shabbat.

Explore our Shabbat guides to make your Shabbat dinners even more magical.