Commandments to remember and observe the Sabbath
(8) Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.
(12) Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as your God יי has commanded you.
Why light candles?
(א) הַדְלָקַת נֵר בְּשַׁבָּת אֵינָהּ רְשׁוּת ... אֶלָּא זֶה חוֹבָה. וְאֶחָד אֲנָשִׁים וְאֶחָד נָשִׁים חַיָּבִין לִהְיוֹת בְּבָתֵּיהֶן נֵר דָּלוּק בְּשַׁבָּת. ... שֶׁזֶּה בִּכְלַל עֹנֶג שַׁבָּת. וְחַיָּב לְבָרֵךְ קֹדֶם הַדְלָקָה "בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת." כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ עַל כָּל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב בָּהֶם מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים:
(1) The kindling of a lamp on Shabbat is not optional... rather, it is an obligation. And both men and women are equally obligated that a lamp be kindled in their houses on Shabbat.... since this is [included] in the rule of enjoyment on Shabbat. And one is obligated to bless before the kindling: "Blessed are You LORD our God, King of the universe who makes us holy with His commandments and commands us to kindle a Shabbat lamp" in the way that one blesses over all things which one is obligated [to do] by the words of the Sages.
וְיֵשׁ מְכַוְּנִים לַעֲשׂוֹת ב' פְּתִילוֹת אֶחָד כְּנֶגֶד זָכוֹר וְאֶחָד כְּנֶגֶד שָׁמוֹר.
Some specifically make two lights; one corresponding to "Zakhor" (Remember) and one corresponding to "Shamor" (Guard).
(יג) ולברך עליו. דהדלקת נר חובה משום שלום בית שלא יכשול בעץ או באבן (מרדכי)...
We say a blessing (when lighting Shabbat Candles): For lighting (Shabbat) candles is a requirement in order that will will have peace in our homes, so that one won't stumble on wood or stone...
הדלקת נר חובה משום שלום בית שלא יכשל בעץ או באבן וצריך להיות הנרות ארוכים שידלקו עד שיבואו לביתם בלילה ובלא"ה הוי ברכה לבטלה
Shabbat Candles are an obligation because of Shalom Bayit (i.e. peace in the house), so that a person should not trip over a stick or a rock. The candles need to be long in order that they last the night, because without this, it is a blessing said in vain
(א) יְהֵא זָהִיר לַעֲשׂוֹת נֵר יָפֶה, וְיֵשׁ מְכַוְּנִים לַעֲשׂוֹת ב' פְּתִילוֹת אֶחָד כְּנֶגֶד זָכוֹר וְאֶחָד כְּנֶגֶד שָׁמוֹר. הַגָּה: וִיכוֹלִין לְהוֹסִיף וּלְהַדְלִיק ג' אוֹ ד' נֵרוֹת, וְכֵן נָהֲגוּ. הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁשָּׁכְחָה פַּעַם אַחַת לְהַדְלִיק, מַדְלֶקֶת כָּל יָמֶיהָ ג' נֵרוֹת (מהרי''ל) כִּי יְכוֹלִין לְהוֹסִיף עַל דָּבָר הַמְכֻוָּן נֶגֶד דָּבָר אַחֵר, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִפְחֹת (אֲשֵׁרִ''י וּמָרְדְּכַי מס' רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה ר''פ יוֹם טוֹב).
Be meticulous to make sure to beautify the lighting of the Shabbat light. There are those who light two candles, in relation to the two ways we are commanded to honor shabbat, remember Shabbat (Exodus 20:8), and to keep Shabbat (Deuteronomy 5:12)
Moses Isserles: There are also those who light three or even four lights, which is their custom. You can always add to the light with more lights for additional family members, or for whatever reason, but you can never subtract.
אָמַר רַב הוּנָא: הָרָגִיל בְּנֵר הָוְיִין לֵיהּ בָּנִים תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים. הַזָּהִיר בִּמְזוּזָה — זוֹכֶה לְדִירָה נָאָה. הַזָּהִיר בְּצִיצִית — זוֹכֶה לְטַלִּית נָאָה.
Rav Huna said: One who is accustomed to kindle lights on Shabbat and Hanukkah will be rewarded and have children who are Torah scholars, who will disseminate the light of Torah.
ויצא אמר ליה שאני אומר הדלקת נר בשבת חובה
Rava said to him: Because I say that kindling Shabbat lights is an obligation, and one is required to eat specifically by that light in deference to Shabbat.
וְקָרָאתָ לַשַּׁבָּת עֹנֶג (ישעיה נח, יג), זוֹ הַדְלָקַת הַנֵּר בַּשַּׁבָּת. וְאִם תֹּאמַר לֵישֵׁב בַּחֹשֶׁךְ, אֵין זֶה עֹנֶג, שֶׁאֵין יוֹרְדֵי גֵיהִנָּם נִדּוֹנִין אֶלָּא בַחֹשֶׁךְ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אֶרֶץ עֵפָתָה כְּמוֹ אֹפֶל (איוב י, כב).
8th or 9th Century CE
And call the Sabbath a delight (Isa. 58:13). If one chooses to sit in darkness, the Sabbath would not then be a delight, since darkness is imposed upon those condemned to Gehenna, as it says: A land of thick darkness, as darkness itself (Job 10:22).
Candle Lighting and Women's Mitzvot
שלשה בדקי מיתה בראת באשה ואמרי לה שלשה דבקי מיתה ואלו הן נדה וחלה והדלקת הנר
They are mitzvot that, as a rule, pertain to women: Observing the halakhot of a menstruating woman, separating ḥalla from dough, and lighting Shabbat candles.
וְנָשִׁים מְצֻוּוֹת עַל דָּבָר זֶה יוֹתֵר מִן הָאֲנָשִׁים לְפִי שֶׁהֵן מְצוּיוֹת בַּבָּתִּים וְהֵן הָעֲסוּקוֹת בִּמְלֶאכֶת הַבַּיִת.
This duty is assigned to women rather than men, because women are found in the homes and they are occupied with the housework.
והנשים מוזהרות בו יותר כדאיתא במדרש מפני שכבתה נרו של עולם פירוש גרמה מיתה לאדם הראשון והרמב"ם ז"ל נתן טעם לדבר מפני שמצויות בבית ועוסקות בצרכי הבית
[Both men and women are commanded to light,] but women are more commanded than men, as it says in the Midrash: Since she extinguished the lamp of the world, meaning she caused the death of the first human. And the Rambam explains [that women are more obligated] because they are found at home and they take care of household needs.
וּמִפְּנֵי מָה נִתַּן לָהּ מִצְוַת נִדָּה, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁשָּׁפְכָה דָּמוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן, לְפִיכָךְ נִתַּן לָהּ מִצְוַת נִדָּה. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה נִתַּן לָהּ מִצְוַת חַלָּה, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁקִּלְקְלָה אֶת אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁהָיָה גְּמַר חַלָּתוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, לְפִיכָךְ נִתַּן לָהּ מִצְוַת חַלָּה. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה נִתַּן לָהּ מִצְוַת נֵר שַׁבָּת, אָמַר לָהֶן עַל יְדֵי שֶׁכִּבְּתָה נִשְׁמָתוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן, לְפִיכָךְ נִתַּן לָהּ מִצְוַת נֵר שַׁבָּת.
Why was the mitzva of nidda given to her? Because she spilled Adam’s blood… Why was the mitzva of challa given to her? Because she degraded Adam, who was the ultimate dough of the world… Why was the mitzva of the Shabbat candle given to her? He said to them: Because she snuffed out Adam’s soul….
Rabbeinu Bahya, Vayikra 12:7:2
Had Chavah not been guilty of introducing disobedience to G’d’s command women would have been spared all this (...) she does her part in helping to atone for the original sin of Chavah. (...) We are taught in Berakhot 31 that women have been commanded to observe three commandments specifically to help undo the spiritual damage caused to the species of man by their original “mother.”
(ו) עַל שָׁלשׁ עֲבֵרוֹת נָשִׁים מֵתוֹת בִּשְׁעַת לֵדָתָן, עַל שֶׁאֵינָן זְהִירוֹת בַּנִּדָּה וּבַחַלָּה וּבְהַדְלָקַת הַנֵּר:
(6) This mishna concludes the aggadic treatment of the topic of kindling the Shabbat lights. For three transgressions women are punished and die during childbirth: For the fact that they are not careful in observing the laws of a menstruating woman, and in separating ḥalla from the dough, and in lighting the Shabbat lamp.
The Orthodox Jewish Woman and Ritual: Options and Opportunities, Shabbat
2011, Referencing the Zohar 13th Century but attributed to 2nd century
According to the Zohar, as a woman lights Shabbat candles on earth, candles are kindled in the divine realm, symbolizing the union and harmony of the sefirot (divine emanations) that occurs on Shabbat.
Barred from an education in Hebrew or Aramaic for centuries, many Jewish women in Europe were unable to read sacred Jewish texts. Beginning in the sixteenth century, however, men and women began publishing tkhines, collections of prayers in Yiddish intended to be more accessible for a female audience. Prayers addressed many themes of domestic and family life, though some suggested women ought to be allowed in traditionally male spaces as well. Moreover, tkhines provide evidence of women’s religious lives in Europe from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.
Because most Jewish texts of the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, as throughout most of Jewish history, were written in Hebrew by men for other men, we have very little direct evidence of women’s religious lives. Tkhines (Yiddish, from Hebrew tehinnot, “supplications”), private devotions and paraliturgical prayers in Yiddish, primarily for women, were published beginning in the early modern period, especially in Central and Eastern Europe and among Yiddish-speaking populations elsewhere. Written by both women and men, they were printed and reprinted again and again, thus providing evidence of their great popularity. Moreover, we can document some of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women who composed them. Thus, these prayers are among the most important resources for the history of the religious lives of Jewish women in the Yiddish-speaking world.
In printed tkhine collections, each individual prayer begins with a heading directing when and sometimes how it should be recited: “A pretty tkhine to say on the Sabbath with great devotion;” “A tkhine that the woman should pray for herself and her husband and children;” “A confession to say with devotion, not too quickly; it is good for the soul;” “When she comes out of the ritual bath;” “What one says on the Eve of Yom Kippur in the cemetery;” “When the shofar is blown on Rosh Ha-Shanah, say this.” Scholars are divided as to whether these prayers were meant as a women’s substitute for the Hebrew liturgy, or as supplementary, voluntary prayers, recited when women wished. Although some tkhines were intended to be recited in the synagogue, and a few were specifically for male worshipers (“A lovely prayer for good livelihood to be said every day by a businessman”) the majority were associated with women’s spiritual lives in the home or other, unspecified locations: prayers to be recited privately for each day of the week, on Sabbaths, festivals, fasts and New Moons, for the three “women’s commandments,” for pregnancy and childbirth, for visiting the cemetery, for private griefs such as childlessness and widowhood, for recovery from illness, for sustenance and livelihood, for confession of sins. While domestic concerns run through these prayers, so, too, do grander themes from Jewish thought, especially the hope for the messianic redemption and the end of exile.
Although there are manuscript tkhines, none are known that precede the appearance of the genre in print. There are two main groups of tkhines: first, those that were printed in Western and Central Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which, although published anonymously, were probably written or compiled by men for women; and second, those that appeared in Eastern Europe in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, often with named authors or compilers, some of whom were women. The geographical designation refers primarily to place of printing, rather than place of composition, which is more difficult to determine, and is intended to suggest, as well, a rough periodization, with certain overlaps. The language of the tkhines (known from the seventeenth century on as “tkhine-loshn”) is relatively fixed, rather like an increasingly archaic “prayer-book English,” and displays few of the distinctive linguistic features of the developing Eastern European varieties of Yiddish; thus, linguistic analysis is of little help in determining place of composition.
-- Chava Weissler
Tkhine for Lighting Shabbat Candles
This is said with kavone when she kindles the Sabbath candles
God,You are our Lord,
And Lord over all lords.
You have sanctified Your people Israel
Above all peoples.
With Your Commandments,
And with Your holy Sabbath,
You have given Your people Israel
Rest in this world.
You have hidden away
The most glorious rest
In the Other World
Which is like the holy Sabbath,
And it is our duty
To honor the great gift
That You have given us
Above all other peoples
So we must light candles
On this holy day,
To give light
And rejoice in it.
May we be worthy
Of the lights,
And of the joy
Of eternal life.
Lord of all the world,
I have done all my work
Over six days,
And wish now to rest
As You have commanded,
And to light two candles
As it is written
In the Torah,
And taught by your sages,
In order to honor You,
And to honor The holy Sabbath.
I,Your devoted maid and daughter,
Ask for Your mercy
And for Your great compassion,
So that You may grant my wishes
As You have granted the wishes
Of all those who deny their will
To do Your will.
Let these candles be accepted
In Your eyes
As the lights that were kindled
By the Priest in the Temple,
And do not allow our candles
To be extinguished,
But let them light the way,
And lead our souls
To the lights of Paradise,
With other saintly men
And saintly women.
In God’s name,
Kay, Devra. (2004). Seyder Tkhines : The Forgotten Book of Common Prayer for Jewish Women. Vol. 1st ed, Jewish Publication Society.
Tkhine Imrei Shifre
"The commandment of Sabbath candles was given to the women of the holy people that they might kindle lights. The sages said that because Eve extinguished the light of the world and made the cosmos dark by her sin, [women] must kindle lights for the Sabbath. But this is the reason for it: Because the Shelter of Peace [the Shekhinah] rests on us during the Sabbath, on the [Sabbath-]souls, it is therefore proper for us to do below, in this form, as is done above [within the Godhead], to kindle the lights. Therefore, because the two souls shine on the Sabbath, they [women] must light two candles. As it is written in the verse "When you raise [be-ha 'alotekha, here usually understood to mean "when you kindle"] the lamps, let the seven lamps shine against the face of [el mul penei] the candelabrum." [It seems that the verse] should have used a term for kindling rather than one for raising up; but by his kindling below the verse means raising up: "And the lights which are against the candelabrum, may the seven lights - the candelabrum - shine." He raised the arousal to the Upper World [hit'orerut le-ma'lah]. All this was set out below, corresponding to the Tabernacle above [mishkan shel ma'lah]. Therefore the verse says that the heavenly candelabrum corresponds to the earthly candelabrum. When the priest below lit the seven lamps, he therewith caused the seven lamps above to shine. Therefore, by kindling the lamps for the holy Sabbath, we awaken great arousal in the Upper World. And when the woman kindles the lights, it is fitting for her to kindle [them] with joy and with wholeheartedness, because it is in honor of the Shekhinah and in honor of the Sabbath and in honor of the extra [Sabbath-]soul. Thus she will be privileged to have holy children who will be the light of the world in the Torah and in fear [of God], and who will increase peace in the world. And by this means she gives her husband long life; therefore, it is appropriate for women to take great care concerning this."
Tkhine Imrei Shifre, [6a-6b], cited in:
Weissler, Chava. (1991). Woman as High Priest: A Kabbalistic Prayer in Yiddish for Lighting Sabbath Candles. Jewish History, 5(1), 9–26. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20101092
"In its adaptation and transformation of material from Nahalat Zevi, Tkhine Imrei Shifre is evidence for a limited sort of participation by women in kabbalistic thinking. Whether or not this was the intention of their authors, the Yiddish adaptations of kabbalistic materials that sprang from the Lurianic revival made some kabbalistic symbols and concepts available to women. It may be that the religious ferment surrounding the rise of the Sabbatian, Frankist, and Hasidic movements stimulated women to use these materials to construct their own religious understanding. Even so, Shifre's text is exceptional among tkhines for its explicitly kabbalistic interpretation of women's religious activity.
The theological question is how women understood their place in the kabbalistic symbol system and whether they adapted the materials available to them to create a distinctive religious language. Tkhine Imrei Shifre transforms the symbol system, but not in a fully coherent way. It rejects the association of women with sin that is inherent in the idea that lighting Sabbath candles is a punishment, yet stops short of fully identifying women with the female aspect of the divine. The woman lighting candles does not act in concert with or as an echo of the Shekhinah, as the text of the Zohar suggests she should. Rather, she takes the active role of the male High Priest, who arouses the upper spheres through his act. The High Priest represents the kabbalistic worshiper, who approaches the world of the Godhead through his relationship to the lowest and mediating (and female) sefirah, the Shekhinah. Thus, for a woman to become a full-fledged kabbalistic actor, she must become, symbolically, male.48 This text, at least, has not achieved a transformation of the kabbalistic system that allows a woman as a woman to be a kabbalist.
Perhaps Shifre did not grasp the fine points of sefirotic symbolism and did not realize what an ambiguous image she was creating. She was, after all, working within a textual tradition that already contained a comparison between the woman and the High Priest. In addition, until it is ascertained that Shifre bas Yosef or some other woman was the actual author of this text, it cannot be certain that the adaptation was indeed made by a woman.
Despite these unsolved problems, this text does contradict, in a small way, the view that kabbalah was made exclusively "for men and by men."49 Even if this passage was authored by a man, someone thought that women could perform at least one mitzvah the way men are supposed to perform all mitzvot. Furthermore, this view of the significance of likht-bentshn - candle-lighting, a quintessentially womanly act - is found in a tkhine, a text specifically aimed at a female audience, making it particularly available to women. The women who read this text, who recited it as they performed the gender-specific mitzvah of kindling the Sabbath lights, could have thought of this act as having cosmic ramifications." (Weissler, 1991, p. 20-21)
Weissler, Chava. (1991). Woman as High Priest: A Kabbalistic Prayer in Yiddish for Lighting Sabbath Candles. Jewish History, 5(1), 9–26. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20101092
Thkine after lighting Shabbos candles
This is said after she has kindled the Sabbath candles:
God of Your people Israel,
You are holy,
And have sanctified Your people Israel,
And have sanctified The Sabbath,
And You are one. You have chosen Your people Israel From all peoples To serve You.
You have singled out
The Sabbath for rest,
So we may honor it
And rejoice in it,
And illuminate it
With candle light,
To serve You joyfully today
On Your holy Sabbath,
Which we are bound to honor
And keep in all things,
Like a king his queen
Or a bridegroom his bride,
Because in the words of our sages:
The Sabbath is queen and bride.
Your devoted maid and daughter,
Have kindled two candles
At the bidding of Your sages
Who know Your Torah,
To honor and sanctify
And the Sabbath.
On this holy Sabbath
Give to me and my husband,
And to my children and my household,
Health, peace, blessedness,
Protect us from all evil occurrences,
Encounters and events,
Which are wont to come
On this day,
And from the rule of evil stars.
And from those who cry out,
From those who desire
Respite from their pain,
But whose souls
Are bound for Hell,
And from those who come
To claim their dues
From the living.
May my candles
Shine with purity,
To drive away the evil spirits,
Devils and Igres daughter of Makhales
Who come from Lilith,
So they may all flee
Before the candles
That I light
To honor You
According to the Torah,
In honor of the Sabbath,
So they may be able to hurt
Neither man, nor woman, nor child
Among Your people.
Lord of all the world,
Give me children
Who are enlightened
By Your Torah
And understand Your Commandments
And who teach them to others,
And do at all times
That which gains favor
In Your eyes,
And in the eyes of others,
So we may be worthy
To rest on this Sabbath
And exult in peace
Send us Your blessing
With the good angel,
The one who is at Your right hand,
And may the evil angel
And let us be worthy
To inherit this day,
That is a mere foretaste
Of the Sabbath on which
Rest those who live for ever.
May the speech of my mouth
And the thoughts of my heart
Find favor before You,
God, my Creator and my Redeemer
Kay, Devra. (2004). Seyder Tkhines: The Forgotten Book of Common Prayer for Jewish Women. Jewish Publication Society.
שְׁלֹשָה מִצְוֺת נִצְטַווּ הַנָשִׁים דרײַא מִצְוֺת זײנען דיא נָשִׁים גבּאָטין גיװאָרין חַנָ״ה שְׁמוֹתָן דר נאָמן פוּן די דרײַא מִצְוֺת איז חַנָ״ה דאָשׂ װאָרט חַנָ״ה מאכט חַלָה נִדָה הַדְלָקַת הַנֵר׃
“Women have been given three mitsvot”: Women have been given three mitsvot whose acronym is Ḥet, Nun, Hey and stands for Ḥallah, Niddah, and Hadlaqat ha-ner, which means the taking of ḥallah, observing the rules of niddah, and the kindling of light.
בְּשַׁעַת צינדין מוּז מען מִתְפַּלֵל זײַן צו גאָט אז דיא קינדער זאָלין קענען לערען: שְׁלֹשָה מִצְוֺת אֵלֶה אִם תִּשְׁמְרוּ. דאָשׂ איז טײַטשׁ אױבּ איר װעט די דרײַ מִצְוֺת ערליך האלטין. אֲזַי קְרוֹבָה לֵידָתָן דאָשׂ איז טײַטשׁ עשׂ װעט נאָהינט זײַן אײַער גיװינען שֶׁלֹא בְּצַעַר: יָגֵן בַּעֲדָן זְכוּתָן. עשׂ װעט מַגִין זײַן דער זְכוּת פוּן די מִצְוֺת פאר אײַך: יוֹם בָּא עֵת לֵדָתָן דאָס איז טײַטשׁ אז עשׂ װעט קומען דר טאָג פוּן אײַער גיװינען: ה׳ יִשְׁמָרְכֶם מִדֶּבֶר וְאָסוֹן הַשֵׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ װעט אײַך היטין פוּן מאָרד אוּנ אָסוֹן וְתִרְאוּ שִׂמְחָה וְשָׂשׂוֹן׃
“If you observe these three mitsvot,” that is, if you keep these three mitsvot faithfully, “you will give birth quickly,” that is, your lying-in will be quick and without pain. “Their merit will protect them.” The merit of these mitsvot will protect you. “When the day of their giving birth will come” means that when the day of your lying-in conies, “God will protect you from plague and disaster.” Hashem yitborekh (bless them) will protect you from death and disaster, that you may see happiness and joy.
הַדְלָקַת נֵר בְּעַרְבֵי שַׁבָּתוֹת אָן צוּא צינדין דיא ליכט אױף שַׁבָּת הֵם שְׁנַיִם מִצְוֺתָן דשׂ איז טײַטשׁ עשׂ איז אײַן מִצְוָה צװײ ליכט אָן צוּא צינדין לְכָּבוֹד שַׁבָּת כְּנֶגֶד זָכוֹר וְשָׁמוֹר רְמִזָתָן.
Lighting the candles on Erev Shabbat is a double mitsvah, which means that it is a mitsvah to light two candles in honor of the Shabbat, symbolizing the two words, “remember” and “observe.”
די צװײ ליכט זײַנען מְרַמֵז קעגין זָכוֹר אוּנ קעגין שָׁמוֹר דאָשׂ הײשׂט אין די ערסטע עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִבְּרוֹת שׁטײט זָכוֹר אֶת יוֹם הַשַׁבָּת לְקַדְשׁוֹ אוּנ אין דיא אנדערע עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִבְּרוֹת שׁטײט שָׁמוֹר אֶת יוֹם השַׁבָּת לְקַדְשׁוֹ.
The two candles indicate the two words, “remember” and “observe,” that is, in the first set of the aseret hadibrot (Decalogue) it says: “Remember the Shabbat Day to keep it holy” and in the second set it says: “Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Two candles equal 500, that is, equal to the limbs of a man and a woman. By virtue of this, Hashem yitborekh will heal the limbs of man and woman.
נֵר נֵר תּ״ק מִסְפָּרָם דאָשׂ איז טײַטשׁ די צאָל פוּן צװײ מאָל נֵר טרעפט אָן פינף הוּנדערט קעגין אֵבָרִים שֶׁל אִישׁ וְאִשָׁה אזוֹא פיל װיא דיא אֵבָרִים פוּן דעם מאָן אוּנ פוּן דער אִשָׁה בִּזְכוּת זֶה װעט הש״י סײלין דיא גלידער פוּן אִישׁ וְאִשָׁה דרוּם אױך זאָל מען זײער ערינסט ליכט צינדין װעט הש״י דער לײַכטין דיא אױגין פוּן אײַערע קינדער אין דער הײליגער תּוֹרָה.
Therefore, one should light the candles with serious intent and hHashem yitborekh will illumine the eyes of your children so that they will understand the holy Torah. While lighting the candles, one should pray to God that one’s children will be able to study Torah.
דִינִים פוּן ליכט צינדין
Rules for Lighting Candles
אז מען צינט אָן ליכט לְכּבוֹד שַׁבָּת זאָגט מען דיא בְּרָכָה
As one lights the candles in honor of shales, one says this blessing:
Blessed are you,
לְכָּבוֹד גאָט לְכָּבוֹד אוּנזער גיבּאָט לְכָּבוֹד דעם ליבּין שַׁבָּת קוֹדֶשׁ װאָשׂ אוּנזער הער גאָט האָט אוּנז גיגעבּין דעם ליבּין שַׁבָּת קוֹדֶשׁ אוּנ האָט אוּנז גיבּאָטין דיא ליבּע מִצְוָה אז איך זאָל זיא קאָנען מְקַיֵים זײַן אוּנ זיא זאָל זײַן גיװאוֹגין אזוֹא װיא כׇּל תּרי״ג מִצְוֺת פוּן כׇּל יִשְׂרָאֵל אָמֵן כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן׃
In honor of God and in honor of our mitsvah and in honor of the precious holy Shabbat which the Lord God has given us and commanded us to observe, may I perform this mitsvah properly and may it be valued as equivalent to all of the 613 mitsvot of all Yisra’el. Amen, may it be their will.
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ יי אֱלֹקֵינוּ וֵאלֹקֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁיִבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִקְדָשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ וְתֵן חֶלְקֵנוּ בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ׃ וְשָׁם נַעֲבָדְךָ בְּיִרְאָה כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֹנִיוֹת׃ וְעָרְבָה לַיי מִנְחַת יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלַיִם כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֹנִיוֹת׃
May it be your will, YHVH, our elo’ah and the elo’ah of our ancestors, that the Beit haMiqdash be rebuilt speedily in our days, and grant us a portion in your Torah. There we shall worship you in awe as in the days of old and in ancient rimes. And may the offering of Yehudah and Yerushalayim be as pleasant to YHVH as in days of old and in ancient times.
רבש״ע מײן מִצְוָה פוּן דיא ליכט אָן צינדין זאָל אזוֹא אָן גינוּמען זײַן װיא דיא מִצְוָה פוּן דעם כֹּהֵן גָדוֹל װען ער האָט די ליכט אין ליבּין בּ״ה אָן גיצוּנדין איז זײַן מִצְוָה אָן גינוּמען גיװאָרין אזוֹ זאָל מײַן מִצְוָה אױך אָן גינוּמען װערין נֵר לְרַגְלִי דְבָרֶךָ וְאוֹר לִנְתִיבָתִי דאָשׂ איז טײַטשׁ דײַנע רײַד איז אײַן ליכט צוּא מײַני פיס אוּנ מײַנע קינדער זאָלין גײן אין גאָטש װעג אוּנ דיא מִצְוָה פוּן מײַנע ליכט צינדין זאָל אָן גינוּמען װערין אז מײַנע קינדרשׁ אױגין זאָלן לײַכטן אין דער ליבּער הײליגער תּוֹרָה אױך טוא איך בּעטין בּײַ די ליכט דעם ליבּין גאָט בּ״ה אז מײַן מִצְוָה פוּן די ליכט זאָל אָן גינוּמען װערין װיא דאָשׂ ליכט האָט גיבּרענט פוּן דעם בּױם אײַל אין בּה״מ אוּנ איז ניט פאר לאָשׁין גיװאָרין.
Ribono shel Olam, may the mitsvah of my lighting the candles be accepted as equivalent to the mitsvah of the Kohen Gadol when he lit the candles in the precious Beit haMiqdash. As his observance was accepted, so may mine be accepted. “Your words are a candle at my feet and a light for my path” means that your words are a candle at my feet so that all my children may walk in God’s path, and may the mitsvah of my candlelighting be accepted so that my children’s eyes may be illumined by the precious holy Torah. I also ask at this time that this mitsvah of lighting candles be accepted as equivalent to the olive oil which burned in the Beit haMiqdash and which was never extinguished.
בִּזְכוּת דאָשׂ ליכט פוּן דעם ליבּין שַׁבָּת זאָל מַגִין זײַן װיא דר ליבער שַׁבָּת האָט מַגִין גיװען אױף אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן װי ער איז בַּהיט גיװאָרין פר אײַן גיכין טױט אזוֹ זאָל אוּנזר זְכוּת פוּן די ליכט מַגִין זײַן אז אוּנזרי קינדרשׂ ליכט זאָל לײַכטין אין דר תּוֹרָה זײערי מַזָלוֹת זאָל לײכטן אין הימיל זײ זאָלין קענען פַּרְנָסָה געבּין צו װײַבּ אוּנ קינדר בְּעַיִן יָפֶה
May the merit of the beloved Shabbat lights protect me, just as the beloved Shabbat protected Primæval Adam and kept him from premature death. So may we merit, by lighting the candles, to protect our children, that they may be enlightened by the study of Torah, and may their planets shine in the heavens so that they may be able to earn a decent living for their wives and children, under an approving gaze.
אוּנ אוּנזרי מִצְוֺת זאָלין אָן גינוּמן װערן װי די מִצְוֺת פוּן אוּנזרי אָבוֹת וְאִמָהוֹת אוּנ די שְׁבָטִים הַקְדוֹשִׁים מיר זאָלן זײַן אזוֹא רײַן װיא אײַן קינד װערט גיבּאָרין פוּן זײַן מוּטער אָמֵן׃
May our mitsvot be accepted as equivalent to the mitsvot of our patriarchs and matriarchs and of the holy tribes so that we may be as pure as a child newly born of its mother. Amen.
This is the tkhine for the mitsvot of kindling the Shabbat lights as found in Sarah bat Tovim’s Tkhine of Three Gates, likely written by her sometime in the early 18th century. The transcription was drawn from that of Rabbi Tracy Klirs published with her HUC dissertation and subsequently published by HUC Press in In the Merit of Our Mothers (1991). I have made some changes to the translation, re-Hebraizing loshen qodesh and biblical names, and presenting Hashem as gender-neutral. The text concerning candle lighting is preceded by some general text and is interspersed with some text concerning ḥallah and niddah. I have joined together both of the sections concerning candle lighting. Where I have found any short gap in the translation or a missing reference, I have added it. –Aharon Varady
“תְחִינָה פון דיא מִצְוה הַדְלָקַת הַנֵר | Prayer for the Mitsvah of Kindling the Shabbat Lights, by Sarah bat Tovim from the Tkhine of Three Gates (ca. early 18th c.)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.