Shabbat: Discover the Significance of the Sabbath Candles
One of the most iconic and treasured rituals associated with the Jewish observance of the Sabbath is the lighting of the Shabbat candles each Friday evening at sundown. In today’s episode, host Yael Eckstein will share why this ritual is so special to her personally, and how it serves as both a powerful moment in her week as well as a deep connection to her family, her Jewish roots, and God. Listen now!
In today’s episode, host Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, continues her new five-part series about one of the most significant, but often misunderstood Jewish observances—the Sabbath, or Shabbat.
In this third episode on the Sabbath, Yael examines Isaiah 58:13-14, where the prophet Isaiah gives us more insight into the importance of Shabbat, calling it a “day of delight” and explaining how the sanctity of the day is protected and how it is supposed to feel:
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
When trying to understand the meaning behind Shabbat as a day of “delight” and “honor,” the Jewish sages concluded that Shabbat must be ushered in with the lighting of the Sabbath candles. When God created the world, the first thing that He did was create light—even before creating the sun, moon, and stars. So too, when we want to create a new sacred space each week, we begin by creating light.
Yael examines the spiritual meaning behind this sacred ritual—of creating light—and the traditions that surround the lighting of the Sabbath candles. For example, Yael explains that this is a tradition where women are usually called on to light the candles on behalf of the entire household. And each week, two candles are lit. Yael will explain the significance of this, what it all represents, and more!
But one of the main takeaways is that when we light the Shabbat candles, we not only bring physical light into the world, but we also kindle and nurture the flame deep inside of us to bring the light of God into our homes and the world at large.