-By Elisheva Maline
Sara Imainu (Sarah our fore mother) is called the mother of klal yisael (the Jews) and serves as the paradigm for righteous Jewish women. During her lifetime one were certain: that her shabbos candles remained lit from shabbos to shabbos. By what merit did Sarah's candles stay lit for such a miraculous amount of time?
They represented our fore mother's ability to carry the light of shabbos into the week. During the week man toils to make his bread (income). He doesn't have much time to think, let alone remember that there is G-d. Therefore, during the week, the world is a little darker: Hashem is hidden from us. Sarah was so powerful, that just through lighting her shabbos candles she was able to light up the world with this truth, even during the week!
It is said, "A little light pushes away a lot of darkness." One mitzva is like a candle. We spark a spiritual light when we do mitzvot: such as giving charity, visiting the sick, inviting guests, or honoring our parents. Each mitzva is a candle and leaves us with the pleasant taste of kedusha (elevation) in our mouthes.
There is a special procedure given by Chabad on how to light the candles erev shabbos (Friday afternoon). The time during which one lights candles is known for being an auspicious time to daven (pray) to Hashem for one's desires. Try to keep it at one wish. Also, the mitzva should be done with lots of joy and positive thinking.
Candle Lighting Procedure: check the calender to make sure you are lighting at the correct time. After you are finished getting into your shabbos finery, there is a custom to drop a few coins in a tzidakah (charity) box. This helps one remember what one is living for: to shed light in this world by doing mitzvot. Then, light the candles, extend and wave your hands in an inward, circular motion, three times over the flames. Cover your eyes and make the bracha (blessing):
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אַדֹנָ-י אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת קֹדֶשׁ
Transliteration: Baruch a-ta A-do-nay Elo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam a-sher ki-di-sha-nu bi-mitz-vo-tav vi-tzi-va-noo li-had-leek ner shel Sha-bat ko-desh.
Translation: Blessed are you, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the Holy Shabbat.After making the bracha and while your eyes are still covered, ask Hashem to send the messiah and rebuild the Temple. It is also an important time to make a personal wish: make one. Say some tehillim (psalms), whichever you prefer. Next, while having all your other wishes in mind, think, "May Your kindness, Hashem, be upon us, just as we awaited You" (Psalm 33:22). Take time to daven for people who could use a prayer. Finally, open your eyes and gaze at the candles. Turn to your family and wish them a hearty "Good Shabbos!" while imagining your personal wish coming true.