Candlesticks

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Candlesticks Guide

One of the most common ways to know when Shabbat or a Jewish holidays starts is to look for candlesticks that have been lit around sunset. The lighting of Shabbat candles is an ancient custom that still continues to this day, via the lighting of candlesticks.

Materials

Shabbat Candlesticks are usually made of metals such as pewter, nickel and silver. However, they also are made from stained glass, crystal, lacquered wood and ceramic. Sterling silver is the most valuable material used in candlesticks - gold is almost never used because of its fragile nature as well as the fact that gold is easily damaged.

Decorations

Candlesticks can be decorated with a wide range of decorations, from depictions of Jerusalem to being molded into the shape of a Star of David, Hamsa or Shofar. Silver, nickel and pewter candlesticks often feature diamond and floral patterns as well as traditional moulding along its bottom edges and legs.

Lacquered wood candlesticks are usually decorated with paintings and features a wide range of decorations, such as Jerusalem, flowers, seven species and animals such as birds. Other materials such as ceramic features Armenian stytle flowers and come with a tray that has word “Shabbat” in the middle in Hebrew and English.

Glass candlesticks can be stained, frosted and shaped as well as moulded like metal candlesticks. Glass candlesticks come in a wide range of shapes, although they are usually moulded into traditional shapes such as Hamsas. These candlesticks also frequently sport traditional Hebrew texts including the text of the candlestick blessings and the Eshet Chayil section of the Book of Proverbs sung on Friday night.

Use of Candlesticks

The tradition of women lighting candles at the beginning of Shabbat and Jewish Holidays comes from the commandment to enjoy Shabbat and holidays. Jewish Legal authorities recognized that it is difficult to enjoy such day when one cannot see, so they established a custom to light candles so that the holidays as well as Shabbat will be more enjoyable. Over time, the custom became an established rule and eventually a Mitzvah that is almost exclusive to women.

The accepted tradition in regards to lighting candles is that an unmarried girl or woman lights two candles, each of which represent the positive and negative commandments on Shabbat. Married women usually light the number of candles equal to the members of their family. After lighting the candles, the girl or woman makes a blessing over the candles that is followed by a short prayer.

Candlesticks also come in a wide range of sizes, ranging from small sized travel candlesticks that measure approximately 5 centimeters to full-sized candelabras that are between 20 and 40 centimeters in height.

For More Information

For more information on Candlesticks, Shabbat, or Judaica feel free to contact our Judaica experts with any questions or concerns.

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