DIY Ritual. DIY Joy.
DIY Ritual. DIY Joy.
Let it Glow: Lighting Shabbat Candles
Invite the light of Shabbat into your home in a way that feels meaningful to you.
There are many ways to enjoy Shabbat rituals + 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.
DIY Ritual: Being more comfortable setting intentions in a personal setting
DIY Joy: Sharing gratitude for the week with those sharing Shabbat
DIY Ritual: Welcoming guests into the mood of Shabbat in different ways
DIY Joy: Bringing Judaism into his home by hosting Shabbat dinners
DIY Ritual: Building on her family traditions from different cultures
DIY Joy: Singing around the Shabbat table
DIY Ritual: Using a gender-inclusive blessing that empowers guests
DIY Joy: Connecting Shabbat dinners with activism
DIY Ritual: Tapping into family traditions and creating her own practice
DIY Joy: Redefining traditions as a new couple
Are you ready to enrich your Friday nights?
Check out these additional resources to create your rituals. As you get ready to bring in Shabbat, share your rituals + reflections on social with @onetableshabbat and use #HowIShabbat.
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.