A Soul on Fire

Discover the Joy of Shabbat

Friday nights are different for us.  Where once we were busy with football games, date nights, fundraisers, or friendly get-togethers, we now do something quite different.  As my family and I hustle to get bread made, the house cleaned, the table set, the candles bought, and the meal prepared, it’s easy to forget to remember the beauty of Shabbat and what makes her so special from every other night of the week.  It’s easy, that is, until the candles are lit.

It’s customary for the women of the household to light shabbat candles on Friday nights to welcome in the joy and spirit of the Sabbath.  There is a wide range of meanings for the lighting of these candles.  In fact, the significance of the shabbat candles have been founded in the Jewish home for thousands of years.  It is said that Rebecca our matriarch’s Shabbat candles burned from one Sabbath eve to the next, signifying the constant presence of G-d in the home.  That’s what the light of Shabbat means to us.  The presence of the Creator in our home, hosting His Majesty for a weekly get-together.  But it’s one thing to talk about it.  It’s another to actually experience it.

My wife is a beautiful singer (I’m not sure, but I might be biased).  Every Friday, she’ll set the table, and after everything is ready, she, like many women around the world, will kindle the light of the Sabbath.  As the two flames grow, she’ll sing a blessing welcoming G-d’s rest and grace in giving us such a beautiful mitzvah.  In these brief moments, something simply amazing happens.

As the sun sets, darkness begins to cover our little corner of the world.  And as the melody fills our tiny apartment, the flames of Shabbat steadily grow brighter and brighter.  As if the brilliance of this mitzvah has set our souls on fire, my wife draws in the beauty of Heavenly rest.  She covered her eyes before she started singing, and when she opened them, it’s as if we had been teleported into a new world.  Everything looks the same, but something is different.

It’s said that G-d imparts an extra soul into the Sabbath day.  I have the privilege of watching that soul make its way into our home.  As my wife sings, the flames grow, and the vibrance of G-d’s rest rushes in with it.  A weekly sit-down with our Creator.

We are a blessed people.

©Matityahu

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