A Friday evening Shabbat meal is a special time of the week for millions of Jewish families around the world. The ancient ritual of lighting traditional shabbat candlesticks is a welcoming moment that ends the working week and brings everybody together around the table.
Even in the 21st century, flickering candlelight adds a special warmth and a homely feel to any occasion. To our ancestors, who lived without electricity, and for whom darkness often meant danger, lighting candles or oil lamps was the only way to light their homes and ward off the night.
Shabbat candles are a link to our Jewish past and to thousands of years of heritage. Every home should have a set of good quality Shabbat candlesticks, and they are a wonderful wedding gift, or housewarming present. A set of handmade sterling silver shabbat candlesticks or aluminum candlesticks from Jerusalem will last a lifetime – and may even light up your children and grandchildrens’ Shabbat table.
Can you Use any Candle Holders for Shabbat?
Yes, you can use any type of candle holders for Shabbat. What’s important is the act of lighting the candles and the feeling of reverence and welcome for the arrival of the Shabbat. If you don’t have candle holders or candlesticks, you can improvise and stick your candles in a bottle, place them on a saucer, or just use tea lights.
Most people prefer to welcome the arrival of Shabbat with their best silver shabbat candlesticks. Traditional shabbat candlesticks are made of 925 sterling silver, but there’s a growing demand for modern shabbat candlesticks made of aluminum, ceramics, polymer clays and even cast concrete. There are no rules about which candlesticks you have to buy. It’s a matter of personal taste and style.
925 sterling silver shabbat candlesticks look amazing laid out on a traditional Shabbat dining table. The silver is easy to polish to a gleaming shine and adds a real feeling of luxury and style to any table. Sterling silver shabbat candlesticks come in many designs, including Yemenite filigree work and European renaissance styles.
Anodized aluminum candlesticks sound like an industrial product, but are actually top quality designer Judaica. Anodized aluminum is prized for its bold colors and ultra-robust qualities. If you want modern Shabbat candlesticks with a minimalist look, anodized aluminum candlesticks are a great choice.
Unique Shabbat candlesticks cover a wider range of styles and materials. The most exciting designs are handmade from modern materials like clay polymers, cast concrete, ceramics, and any other non-flammable materials. Unique Shabbat candlesticks can also include vintage art deco designs and genuine antiques.
What are Shabbat Candles Called?
Shabbat candles are called נרות שבת (nerot Shabbat) in Hebrew. The best candles are made from natural beeswax, and are valued for their bright, clean burn. Any type of candle is acceptable for Shabbat and there is a niche market for Shabbat or Shabbos candles, including kosher candles. There’s no special name for Shabbat candles in English, and if you don’t need kosher candles, any household or dining candles will do the job.
What is Special about Shabbat Candles?
There’s nothing special about Shabbat candles themselves. It’s the ritual of ushering in Shabbat and reciting the blessings that makes everything special. If you were stranded on a desert island and lit an improvised lamp instead of a candle, it would be your remembering and celebration of Shabbat, and the recitation of the traditional blessing that counted. Sterling silver Shabbat candlesticks and handmade beeswax candles are wonderful ritual items, but ultimately they are luxuries.
How many Candles do you Light on Shabbat?
Most people will tell you that you should light two candles on Shabbat, but the tradition is open to interpretation. Some single women only light one candle, while mothers might light an additional candle for each child. If you have a big family, or you’re entertaining guests, you might need a dozen candles for your Shabbat dinner table. If you do enjoy a big family banquet, it’s definitely worth investing in a large set of traditional shabbat candlesticks.
Why do we Cover our Eyes when Lighting Shabbat Candles?
It’s traditional to cover our eyes when we light Shabbat candles because the blessing marks the start of Shabbat and it’s forbidden to kindle a flame once Shabbat has started. If our eyes are covered, and we can’t see the flame, there is no technical violation of the Shabbat. A special silver candle lighter is a big help if you do want to cover your eyes.
What do you Say when Lighting a Candle?
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ, מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת
It’s traditional to recite the Shabbat blessing when we light the candles. The English translation of the blessing is:
“Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of time and space.
You hallow us with Your mitzvot and command us to kindle the lights of Shabbat.”
Lighting Shabbat candles is a timeless ritual that brings peace and joy as we end the working week and usher in the holy Shabbat. If you want to buy handmade Shabbat candlesticks from Jerusalem you are welcome to visit our shop near the Old City, or you can order online from Nadav Art and our expert jewelers will be happy to personalize your order.
As well as 925 sterling silver candlesticks, our exclusive 2022 online collection includes handmade anodized aluminum Shabbat candlesticks and candlestick sets with their own trays to catch any dripping wax. The finest luxury candlesticks from Nadav Art are made with Israeli onyx and set with polished amethysts. These are true collector’s items, but we can also create stunning custom designs to your own specifications.