Candle Confessional

Dear readers, it has been many months since my last confession.

Post by Melissa

I have a problem with lighting Shabbat candles in the winter.

There, I’ve said it.

Ahhh…. Feels like a weight lifted.

No really, it disturbs me that I just can’t seem to make it happen on a wintery Shabbat evening.  I’ve rushed home from work and am franctically getting ready.  The minutes tick away as I run around switching lights and then all of a sudden – its candle lighting time! I jump in the shower, determined to be out and ready in 18 minutes, and even when I am I’m just not in the mood to light after the hustle to get there.

I have to be calm and ready to embrace the holy rest in order to light.  If I am not in the right mood as I light, the flames don’t give me the same loving sensation.

So, am I alone here? Do others of you have a hard time setting the stage these cold early Shabbatot?

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6 thoughts on “Candle Confessional

  1. I light keeping in mind that I still have stuff to do to get ready so sometimes I light a little before candle lighting or after because I find that after the shower, I’m so relaxed I want to fall asleep in my Shabbos meal. Some days, I am too out of it and my husband does it for me.

  2. Most weeks I can get myself ready for candlelighting, but the weeks that I can’t, I just get Mr. Shoshie to do it. There has yet to be a week where both of us just can’t get on top of our Shabbos prep.

  3. Actually, in some ways I find spring to be the hardest. When I can put in a full work day on Fridays, I try to do it, and I tend to leave as close to Shabbos as I can get away with. Throw in a bus running late, and you’ve got the perfect storm for a shower at minute 16. In the winter I tend to be more aware of my time and push things a bit less.

  4. “I have to be calm and ready to embrace the holy rest in order to light. If I am not in the right mood as I light, the flames don’t give me the same loving sensation.”

    So, it sounds like you want to light for only the best reasons. Inspired, high, and holy. By that same reasoning, if you’re too hurried and hassled some Friday evening – you wouldn’t keep Shabbat at all! I like and admire your aspiration; but maybe if that is the only reason or way you are willing to carry out an obligation – it isn’t a mitzvah anymore. It is being done for self-satisfaction alone. We have to approach Hashem (so I say) both out of love and obedience. Sometimes we just don’t fell the love part. That is when obedience becomes especially important in relation to all of the Torah. It is a foundation that keeps us doing what we are obliged to even when we don’t feel like it. Philosophically, Rav Soloveitchik often emphasized the ‘submission’ component as being fundamental to all the Torah. I think your post here provides a good opportunity to consider that notion. It is much more than just the ‘default’ I suggested above. Rav Soloveitchik didn’t lack passion and depth in his worship; just look at Lonely Man of Faith or any of his writings on prayer. I think his emphasis on ‘submission’ and ‘surrender’ is an important piece that many contemporary Jews leave out. In doing so, I think there are certain truths of Torah that then elude us.

    Thanks for the thought provoking, from-the-heart post!

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