Lesson Planning



Related Kits:
Candlesticks
Kiddush Cup
Cup, Challah and Candle Woodshapes


Kabbalat Shabbat (Receiving the Sabbath)
In the Jewish tradition, light is a symbol of joy and celebration. Sabbath candles are lit at sundown on Friday night. Traditionally, this is done by the woman of the house, but it may be done by anyone. At least two candles must be lit. They represent shamor and zachor, the first two words of the commandments regarding Shabbat (Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12.) More than two candles may be lit. Some people light an additional candle for each child.

Because kindling a flame is forbidden once Shabbat has begun, the candles are lit first and the blessing is said after. Many people, after lighting the candles, draw their hands over the candles several times in a circular motion, as if to gather the light toward them, and then cover their eyes with their hands to concentrate on the words of the bracha (blessing,) which is recited immediately. After the blessing is said, private silent prayers may be added. The eyes are then opened to see the light of the new Shabbat. After the candles are lit, they should not be moved or disturbed.

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The bracha (blessing) for the Sabbath lights is as follows:

Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.

Blessed are you Lord, our G-d, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments, and commanded us to kindle the lights of Shabbat.

Candles are also lit on other holidays, to mark the beginning of Yom Tov. On these occasions, (High Holidays, Succot, Pesach, Shavuot and others) the following blessing is recited:

Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are you Lord, our G-d, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments, and commanded us to kindle the lights of Yom Tov (this holiday.)

On the first night of these holidays, the above blessing is generally followed immediately by the Shehecheyanu:

Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehecheyanu, v’kiymanu, v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are you Lord, our G-d, Ruler of the universe, who has given us life, and sustained us and brought us to this time.

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Related Activities and Lessons:

1. Make a pair of candlesticks from a kit.

2. Learn or review the candle blessings and/or Kiddush for Shabbat.

3. Learn songs for Shabbat.

4. Plan a Kabbalat Shabbat: include songs, readings about Shabbat, candle lighting and, if possible, Kiddush and dinner for the whole class, or for smaller groups each week.

5. Do a Kabbalat Shabbat, as above, at a Jewish nursing or retirement home for the residents there, and/or present finished candlesticks to the residents for their own use. Or help them to make their own candlesticks from kits.

6. Write a story about an old pair of candlesticks.Share stories in class, or make up and copy a booklet of them to distribute.

7. Interview grandparents or residents at a retirement home about Shabbat customs— where their candlesticks came from, how they light candles—how many, etc. Be sure to find out where they came from or grew up. Make up a book comparing customs of different people and the different places where they lived.

Study and Review Questions:

1. When and where are Shabbat candles lit?

2. How many candles are lit? Why, and what do they represent?

3. If you are away from home, do you light Shabbat candles?

4. If candles are not available, what else can you use?

5. When lighting the candles, why does one cover ones eyes while reciting the blessing(s)?

6. Why draw the hands toward the face?

7. In what order are these things done? (a) cover eyes, (b) say blessing, (c)
light candles, (d) draw hands around candles.

8. What is the word for candles in Hebrew? In Yiddish? What is the traditional Hebrew Sabbath greeting? The Yiddish greeting?

9. May you use the candles to read or eat by? May they be moved from place to place?

10. On what (other) occasions are candles lit?

Copyright 2005-2012, Marc Glickman, PO Box 1904, Frederick, MD 21702. Phone/Fax: 301-695-4375