Humanist Liturgy for Lighting Shabbat Candles

Humanist Liturgy for Lighting Shabbat Candles

This Shabbat candle lighting ceremony was composed by Machar: The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism. Typical of this movement, founded in 1963 by the late Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, the blessing omits any mention of God, as Humanistic Judaism enables people of any ethnic or religious background to cherish Jewish history, culture, and ethics without worshipping a supernatural being. The strong emphasis on community  is evident in the communal nature of the blessing, as well as a strong theme of relationships within the text itself. The Hebrew, English and transliterated text of the blessing can be found on Ritualwell, a project of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College that provides a platform for creating new Jewish practices and observances.

Lighting Shabbat Candles: Humanist Liturgy

Leader Says:

נְבָרֵךְ אֶת הָאוֹר כַּאֲשֶׁר נִקָבֵץ בְּצַותָא לְהַדְלִיק נֵרוֹת שֶׁל שַׁבָּת (וְיוֹם טוֹב). בְּאוֹר נְבָרֵךְ אֶת הַחַיִּים


N’varekh et ha-or ka-asher nikavets b’tzavta l’hadlik nerot shel Shabbat (v’yom tov). B’or n’varekh et ha-hayyim.

All read aloud together:

Let us bless the light as we gather together to kindle Sabbath (and festival) candles. With light let us bless life

(Congregant lights the candles.)


As we rest from our work taking care of our narrower mundane concerns, let us move toward those more expansive and transcendent. Let us deepen our selves and renew our world by engaging in labors of love: fostering and transforming family and friendships, community and humanity. As we journey together through life, may such flames as these light our ways and ever remind us to share the warmth of our hearts and the hearths of our homes, the rainbow of our wisdoms and the radiance of our inspirations.