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Lighting Candles for Rosh Hashanah

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Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish holiday commonly referred to as “Jewish New Year.” It is a day of contemplating and honoring God. As with other major Jewish holidays, lighting a candle is very significant during Rosh Hashanah. Lighting a candle is a great way to to honor God, thanking him for the gift of life.

  1. Prepare at least two candles. There is no special rule in choosing your candle for Rosh Hashanah. You can use scented/colored candles or those embedded with potpourri. A less expensive and more practical choice is the plain white candle.
  2. Light one of the candles a night before the Rosh Hashanah celebration. Wave both hands toward your face. Cover your eyes and say the appropriate blessing: ‘Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe who has sanctified us by his commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the day of remembrance.’ Remember that the candle should be lit no later that 18 minutes before sundown.
  3. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, light the remaining candle and recite the blessing. This time, lighting the candle should be done immediately after nightfall.
  4. An evening service follows after candle lighting. It is part of Jewish custom to greet people with New Year wishes after the evening service by saying ‘Shana Tova.’ This is followed by a festive Rosh Hashanah dinner.
  5. If Rosh Hashanah falls on the Sabbath, the concluding words when you recite the blessing are ’shel Shabat vel-Yom ha-Zikkaron.’ This is done to sanctify your candle lighting as this is usually forbidden during Sabbath.

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