When I saw that I was assigned this week’s task of the Shabbat Experiment, I couldn’t have been more excited. Growing up, lighting Shabbat candles was a family tradition that even the dog participates in! No matter how busy we were growing up, Friday night dinner was preceded by lighting Shabbat candles out of my great-grandmother’s candlesticks, singing the blessings (with the dog chiming in) and being blessed by my parents. Every week it is the same ritual, even now as my sister and I are grown up and not always around on Friday nights, my parents still light candles and now bless our new puppy, Pitzel! Some weeks my parents also call me before Shabbat dinner and do the blessing over the phone.
So why am I sharing this childhood memory with you? I think lighting candles on Shabbat is one of the most calming, peaceful activities one can do. Now, because I am at work most Friday nights, I don’t use the candlesticks that my Grandma gave me last Chanukkah, that would be completely dangerous to leave them burning in my apartment! Instead, I light candles with my students. We do a communal candle lighting before services and I invite students to help light the “big” candles and the tea-lights we use.
So my request for this Shabbat is to light candles with your students or friends tonight OR tomorrow evening to celebrate Havdallah and bless them. Not in the traditional way of how a parent blesses a child, but share something with your friends or students that you wish for them, such as good health and happiness, the goal is to give a meaningful blessing! After Shabbat, take a moment to share with me your blessing either by email or by posting to the blog.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!