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Chapter 75:2
Lighting the Shabbos Candles

2. It is a mitzvah to light many candles in honor of Shabbos. Some have the custom to light ten (1); others, seven (2). In general, one should light at least two candles, corresponding to [two of the commandments pertaining to Shabbos,] "Zochor" (Remember) and "Shomor" (Keep) (3). In difficult circumstances, however, a single candle is sufficient.

The candles should be long, so that they burn until after the meal. One should make an effort to purchase beautiful candles, for Rav Huna states (Tractate Shabbos 23b): "A person who is accustomed to lighting beautiful Shabbos candles will merit sons who will be Torah scholars." [This is based on the verse] which states: "For a mitzvah is a candle, and Torah is light" (Proverbs 6:23), which implies that through the candle which is a mitzvah comes the light of Torah.

Accordingly, it is proper that a woman pray to the Holy One, blessed be He, when she lights the candles, that He grant her sons who shine in Torah (4). It is also proper that she make a small donation to charity at that time. A woman who has difficulty raising children or who has no children at all should recite the Haftorah of the first day of Rosh HaShanah (5) (which relates Chana's prayer for a son) when she lights. It is preferable that she understand what she is reading, and that she recite the passage with the appropriate intent and concentration.

FOOTNOTES:

(1) Corresponding to the Ten Commandments (Shelah)

(2) Corresponding to the days of the week ( Mogein Avraham)

(3) "Remember the Day of Shabbos" (Exodus 20:8) and "Keep the Day of Shabbos" (Deut 5:12).

(4) Since the mitzvah to light Shabbos candles is related to child-bearing, many women have the custom to light a Shabbos candle for each child.

(5) I Samuel 1, 2:1-10

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