Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year holiday, and lighting candles is a large part of this traditional 2-day celebration ritual. Although there are Rosh Hashanah liturgies and events at many temples, this is really a day of individual re-connection to the commandments of the Torah, and to one's connection with God. Even if you attend festivities outside the home, lighting the Rosh Hashanah candles in your home is an excellent way to honor this important reminder of faith.
Things You'll Need
- Two candles
- Pomegranate (optional)
Mark the Holiday
Find the date that Rosh Hashanah falls on this year. Jewfaq.org has an online calendar (see Resources below).
Know that all Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the previous day.
Gather together at least two candles. These can be plain, white wax candles, fancy blue-and-silver candles or anything in between. It's a personal ritual, so feel free to use candles that you have in the home or that have special meaning to you.
At sundown (on the night prior to the date of the holiday), light one candle and recite the Rosh Hashanah candle-lighting 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."
Know that the lighting of the candles symbolizes the transition from "everyday" time to sacred time. Light the candles with a spirit of reverence and consider your own commitments for the coming year.
Repeat on the Second Day
Light another candle and recite the blessing again on the second day at sundown. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, many people of the Jewish faith follow the lighting of the candle by eating a pomegranate, since there is a story that there are as many of God's commandments in the Torah as there are seeds in this native fruit of Israel.
Know that if Rosh Hashanah falls on the Sabbath, an addendum must be made to the blessing: "shel Shabat vel-Yom Ha-Zikkaron." This allows and purifies your lighting of a candle on that day, when candles are usually forbidden to be lit on the Sabbath, or Shabat.
Tips & Warnings
- Rosh Hashanah is considered a time for serious contemplation of one's commitment to the commandments of the Torah, and to the betterment of one's self. This holiday is seen as an opportunity to create new goals for the year.
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