Pictures Tell: A Passover Haggadah Lighting Candles

Created in partnership with Josh Feinberg and Sara Wolkenfeld

Holiday Lights, Mumbai, India, 2001 © Zion Ozeri

For Discussion:

  • How does this photograph connect with the candle-lighting blessing for you?

  • What do you notice about the position of the lamp and the angle of the photograph? What is the effect of this perspective?

  • What does the woman's facial expression or body language reveal?

  • What mood or feeling is conveyed in the photograph? How does the photograph create this mood?

  • How is this image similar to or different from your own experience of lighting candles for Shabbat or holidays?

  • The words of the candle-lighting blessing tell us that the act of candle lighting is meant to bring holiness into our lives. How do you think lighting candles brings holiness into our lives?

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּ֒שָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל יוֹם טוֹב:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽנוּ וְקִיְּמָֽנוּ וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶּה:

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and commanded us to light the holiday lights.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

For Further Reflection:

  • In this image, the candle-lighting ceremony expresses an upward momentum. In Rabbinic sources, the act of sanctifying a moment is associated with going up. The Talmud, for example, discusses this idea when considering why we add an additional light each night of Chanukah. Read the quote and consider: How is adding or reaching up a way of expressing the holiness or special quality of an occasion? How else might we "add to" or "elevate" our celebration of Passover?

  • According to early Jewish sources, the idea of lighting candles at the start of Shabbat and holidays is to increase "shalom bayit," or peace in the house. Read this text and consider: How does adding light create a more peaceful environment for the holiday? What else might you add (or perhaps take away) in order to create the atmosphere you want for your Passover celebration?

Tell Your Own Story:

Take a picture with this question in mind: What does your experience of candle lighting – or bringing light into your home more generally – look or feel like? After you take your photo, give it a caption. You can find some helpful photography tips here.