Mitzvah & Value

Jewish tradition commands us to observe the holiday of Shabbat each week, from sundown on Friday night until sundown on Saturday night.

There are certain rituals that specifically apply to Shabbat:

Lighting Candles:

  • The lighting of candles welcomes in Shabbat
  • Jewish custom is to light at least two candles, representing the two passages in the Torah in which we are commanded to keep Shabbat. The first states: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” and the second : “Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”
  • According to Jewish law, one should not light a fire once Shabbat has begun. Thus, we light the candles before saying the blessing because the blessing is what marks the beginning of Shabbat.
  •  Many people wave their hands in front of themselves three times before covering their eyes and reciting the blessing. This is so they don’t see the burning candles until after the blessing has been completed.
  • In this order, we light the candles, cover our eyes and recite the following blessing:

  • Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
  • Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the light of Shabbat.

Customarily, it was women who lit the Shabbat candles, but anyone may light them.


  • The word Challah actually is Hebrew for loaf of bread. We begin our Shabbat meals by making a blessing over two loaves of bread.
  • It is customary to braid the Challah that we eat on Shabbat. We braid each one with three strands, together; the two Challah’s have six strands. This signifies the six days of the week preceding the Shabbat.
  • When we braid the Challah we signify bringing those six days together creating unity and harmony in our lives by celebrating Shabbat.
  • Before it is served, the challah is covered, often with a special, decorative cloth.

Blessing over the Challah:

בָּרוּך אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם הָמוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הַאָרֶץ

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has brought forth bread from the ea