Schindler’s List: The Vanishing Shabbat Light

This video is the opening scene of Steven Spielberg’s much hailed film, “Schindler’s List.” Shabbat candles are lit in the presence of the family and the blessing is recited over the wine. As the blessing continues, the light of the candles begins to decrease, and at the end of the scene there is no one at the table, and the lights have been extinguished, symbolizing the plight of the Jews in WWII Europe. Due to the centrality of Shabbat in Jewish life and the importance of lighting Shabbat candles throughout the generations, the candles are used as the symbol of Jewish life. During the Holocaust, Oskar Schindler risked his life to save hundreds of Jews by insisting that they be allowed to be employed in his factory.