The very last act performed before bringing Shabbat into the home is the lighting of the Shabbat candles. While this mitzvah is considered one of the three primary mitzvot of a Jewish woman, Shabbat candles must be lit in every home, by either a man or a woman.
One is supposed to enjoy Shabbat, and stumbling about in a dark house is hardly a way to experience enjoyment. Today, when every house is filled with electric light, it may be difficult to grasp the importance of candles. It should be recalled, however, that electric light came into use only at the beginning of the last century. The burning Shabbat candles, often placed on or near the dining room table, ensure Shalom Bayit, peace in the home, for Shabbat evening. And even today, in rooms filled with electric light, there is a special soothing feeling when watching the flickering flames of the candles cast playful shadows as they add a glow of sanctity to the Shabbat setting.
Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d, Ruler of the world, Who sanctified us through His commandments and commanded us, to kindle the lights of the Sabbath.
Ba’ruch ah’tah Ah’do’nai, Eh’lo’hay’nu melech ha’o’lam, ah’sher kidishanu b’mitz’vo’tav v’tzee’vanu l’hahd’leek nayr shel Shabbat.
You can also add your own prayer — ask G-d for whatever you wish. Now, uncover your eyes, enjoy the soft light of the candles, and feel the holiness of the Shabbat descend upon you and your household.
To know what time to light candles visit http://hebcal.com and search by zip code for your local candle lighting times.