After completing the candle blessing is a wonderful time to gaze into the warm and peaceful lights of Shabbat, and to offer a personal prayer for loved ones or wherever your concerns are directed. This was the realm of traditional women’s prayers (techinot), prayers uttered from the heart when lighting candles or performing other mitzvot associated with women, but need not be limited to women. Shabbat candle-lighting is also a great time to gather loved ones around and offer them words of blessing along with a hug and a kiss.

Irises in our California Garden, JHD

Whenever you light a candle for ritual purposes: Shabbat, Hanukkah, a memorial candle (“for the human soul is God’s candle,” Proverbs 20:27), and so on, take some time to gaze meditatively into its flames for a short while. You can contemplate the variety of colors within a flame, which are said by mystics to represent the multiple worlds of creation and levels of the human soul. Breath fully and allow the elemental light of the candle (or oil lamp) to slow you down and focus your thoughts.

You can learn more about Shabbat candle lighting at


Consider and Comment: What is Shabbat candle-lighting like in your home? Or would you like to try it? This week?

Featured Image: Kids Lighting Shabbat Candles outdoors with Caryn Aviv, by Greg Barman via Flickr

Continue to learn how the story of Noah and the ark can shed some light on personal dilemmas, or return to the Gateway of Light.