This short article explains the tradition of reciting personal prayers during the time of candle lighting and also suggests meditating on mystical ideas about fire. Originally from Wellsprings of Wisdom, a “virtual retreat center,” these ideas are relevant for those seeking spiritual renewal and personal growth through the ancient Jewish symbols of nature and the “Torah of mother earth.” Created by Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan of the Jewish Renewal movement, this site can be a wonderful resource to people of any denomination or faith.
Candle Lighting and Personal Prayer
After completing the candle blessing is a wonderful time to gaze into the warm and peaceful lights of Shabbat, and to offer a personal prayer for loved ones or wherever your concerns are directed. This was the realm of traditional women’s prayers (techinot), prayers uttered from the heart when lighting candles or performing other mitzvot associated with women, but need not be limited to women. Shabbat candle-lighting is also a great time to gather loved ones around and offer them words of blessing along with a hug and a kiss.
Whenever you light a candle for ritual purposes: Shabbat, Hanukkah, a memorial candle (“for the human soul is God’s candle,” Proverbs 20:27), and so on, take some time to gaze meditatively into its flames for a short while. You can contemplate the variety of colors within a flame, which are said by mystics to represent the multiple worlds of creation and levels of the human soul. Breathe fully and allow the elemental light of the candle (or oil lamp) to slow you down and focus your thoughts.
You can learn more about Shabbat candle lighting at FridayLight.org
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