Shabbat candles are traditionally a woman’s mitzvah. The woman sets the tone of the household; it is her task and G‑d-given ability to ensure that light and harmony prevail in her home. Girls begin lighting Shabbat candles when they can recite the blessing (approx. three years of age). A man should light the candles if no adult woman is present. Light the candles eighteen minutes before sunset.
Young girls light before their mother.
Place the candles on or near the Shabbat dinner table.
Put some money in a charity box before lighting the candles.
Until marriage, women and girls light one candle. Post-marriage, women light two candles. Some add an additional candle for each child, so that, for example, a woman with three children lights five candles.
Light the candles.
Extend your hands and draw them in a circular motion toward yourself, and cover your eyes.Say: Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai Elo-hei-nu Me-lech ha-olam, asher kid-sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav v’tzi-vanu l’had-leek ner shel Shabbat Ko-desh.
[Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.]
Candle-lighting time is auspicious for private prayer. While your eyes are covered, take a moment to pray for whatever your heart desires.
“Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.” This is how Sabbath begins.
Hebrew: קידוש [ki’duʃ]), literally, “sanctification,” is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Additionally, the word refers to a small repast held on Shabbat or festival mornings after the prayer services and before the meal.
On Friday night, sing the Shalom Aleichem, to welcome the Shabbat angels, and the ode to the Woman of Valor.Rinse and dry the kiddush cup.
Fill it to the brim with kosher wine.
Gather everyone to stand around the Shabbat table.
Raise the wine-filled cup in your right hand (unless you are left-handed), and recite the kiddush aloud.
On Friday night, gaze at the Shabbat candles as you say the first four words. Then look at the wine in the cup while saying the wine blessing. All in attendance answer “Amen” at the conclusion of the blessings. Drink at least 1½ ounces from the cup. Everyone else should also have a sip.
As the Shabbat Queen departs and darkness descends, the Havdalah ceremony fills us with hope and courage. Havdalah means “separation,” between light and dark, between the holy and the mundane.
Havdlalah is a multi-sensory experience. If there is a group, one person recites while all participate and answer “Amen.” You’ll need: A prayerbook, cup, wine or grape juice, a candle (multi-wick, if available), and aromatic herbs (whole cloves are popular).
Fill the cup to the rim, and then some. Lift it in your right hand (unless you are left-handed).
Recite the preliminary verses. Pause when you reach “For the Jews there was light, happiness, joy and honor—so be it for us!” and allow everyone to say it in unison.
Recite the Hagafen blessing on the wine.
Put the cup down. Recite the blessing on the aromatic herbs. Give everyone a chance to take a whiff. Their fragrance is meant to revive and soothe the soul as the Shabbat departs.
Recite the blessing on the candle. Everyone looks at his or her fingernails by the candle’s light. On the first Saturday night after creation, darkness engulfed the world for the first time. G‑d gave Adam the wisdom to rub together two stones and harness fire—for which we now offer thanks.
Lift the cup again, and recite the concluding Havdalah blessing.
Sit down and drink at least 1.5 ounces.
Extinguish the candle by dipping it in the wine that overflowed onto the plate beneath the cup. Many dip a finger into this wine, and run the finger over the eyelids.
Tzedakah, which is most commonly translated as “charity,” has its roots in the word for “justice” or “righteousness.”
Jewish tradition teaches that giving tzedakah is a religious imperative, even for those who have little to give.
It is customary to place money in a tzedakah box just prior to Shabbat, holidays and other special occasions. Keeping a tzedakah box at home facilitates this practice and teaches children the value of this mitzvah (divine obligation). In fact, some households make a monthly or yearly family project of determining which worthy cause will be the recipient of their tzedakah.
Tzedakah boxes (Yiddish: pushke) are available in a variety of sizes and styles from exceedingly plain to ornately decorative.
The concept of hidur mitzvah (adorning or beautifying the mitzvah) teaches that whenever possible, one should seek to carry out mitzvot in joyful and beautiful ways. Many tzedakah boxes are works of art and make appropriate gifts for celebrating lifecycle events. They can be purchased in synagogue and retail Judaica shops, as well as online. Tzedakah boxes also are available from specific organizations that distribute empty boxes, later collecting the boxes and any funds that are in them.
The Jewish National Fund—and its iconic blue and white tzedakah boxes—is perhaps the best known of these organizations.