The peace and beauty of Shabbat gives us the opportunity to step off the hectic train of the modern world and connect with friends, family and a sense of holiness.
Candles mark both the beginning and end of this weekly holiday.
Lighting the Shabbat candles 18 minutes before sunset signals the beginning of the day of physical rest and spiritual restoration. For many families, the Friday evening Shabbat dinner is one of the few family dinners where the flurry of the week takes a back seat to family time. Saying the blessings over the challah and wine and blessing the children is a reminder of the wonders present in our lives. Taking a break from chores, shopping and the ever-present electronic interruptions can make Saturdays both spiritually and physically rejuvenating. Whether you spend the day in synagogue, at home or in nature, the break from creative work refreshes our minds and bodies to begin a new week with energy and enthusiasm.
Twenty-five hours after it begins, the weekly holiday ends at nightfall (when three stars can be seen in the sky). Our senses are called to note the passing of the holy day and the return to the work week. A taste of sweet wine and the scent of spices in the spice box is a reminder of the sweetness of Shabbat; the braided Havdallah candle burns bright to light the way into the new week.