Use of candles in Jewish rituals:
Candles play a significant role in Jewish culture. It is an integral part of a wide range of Jewish traditional rituals. Every week when Sabbath appears on Friday evening, Jewish people light up candles in their homes and synagogues prior to sunset. When Sabbath comes to an end, then also they light up a special ‘Havdalah’ candle, which symbolizes the starting of a new week full of works ahead. At the time of Chanukah, they light up candles every night upon the Chanukiyah to memorialize the consecrate of the temple of Jerusalem.
In addition to that, it is also a traditional ritual to light up candles during major Jewish holidays that include Yom Kippur, Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, etc. To observe the death anniversary of loves once each year, which is called d Yahrzeit, Jewish families light up memorial candles along with other duties.
Importance of candlesticks in Judaism:
To complete the act of lightning with the utmost care and holiness, Jewish families use special silver candlesticks which they preserve in their homes to use on special occasions. These candlesticks are known as Menorah and some families are carrying them through generations. These beautifully designed candlesticks have seven branches which imply different branches of human knowledge.
The 6 branches ( 3 branches each side), by together, form a semi-circular shape while a single branch resides in the middle, which represents the light of God. The seven-branched candlestick or Menorah also represents the Judaic belief that the world has been created in seven days where the light in the center stands for Sabbath. Highly skilled silversmiths prepare these candlesticks and if you see one of them in front of your eyes, you cannot resist yourself from having one of them.
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Alternatively, if you want one and don’t know where to buy, you can search on the internet for beautiful silver candlesticks for sale and order your desired one.
Lighting the Sabbath candles:
During the onset of Sabbath on Friday evening, it is customary to light up candles. However, the exact time of lighting up candles varies each week as it depends on the timing of sunset. In general, women play the main role to light up a candle, but in a liberal Jewish family any Jewish adult, irrespective of gender can light up a candle. As per customary norms, you need to light up Sabbath candles 18 minutes prior to sunset. However, you can light it up as early as 1 hour prior to it. If you fail to light up candles before sunset, you have to light it up within 18 minutes after the sunset takes place.
You need to light up at least 2 candles at this time. The two candles stand for Shamor (keep) and Zakhor (remember). These 2 candles also symbolize ‘unity amongst duality’ present in this world such as men and women, soul and body, etc.
Thus, we can understand that candles and candlesticks play a very crucial role in Jewish religion and culture.