Senator Joe Lieberman: On Candle Lighting

Senator Joe Lieberman: On Candle Lighting

In this short post, former American Senator Joe Lieberman describes the candle lighting experience in his own home, including several ideas that make it personally meaningful. Although the quotes are from Lieberman’s book, “The Gift of Rest,” the entire post is from the manual of The Shabbat Project, a movement which encourages Jews of all backgrounds and levels of observance to celebrate one Shabbat together each year. 

Senator Joe Lieberman: On Candle Lighting

Senator Joe Lieberman describes in his book, The Gift of Rest, his household moments before the Shabbat candles are lit. He writes that often there is a “frenzy in the air as the clock mounts steadily towards the time when the Shabbat candles are lit, shortly before sunset, signalling the start of Shabbat”.

“In our home, the Shabbat officially begins when [my wife] lights the two Shabbat candles.” He then questions why our last creative act before Shabbat begins is creating fire. “Part of the reason is that fire is the original and true light of creation. Part is that with the entrance [of Shabbat] we are welcoming an older, gentler and timeless light, the soft, mellow candle which replaces the artificial light of electricity.”

Senator Lieberman describes how his wife, Hadassah, “covers her eyes with her hands and thinks about our children, grandchildren, parents and loved ones, sending out prayers to them all”. He revels in the realisation that all of a sudden “the frenzy and stress end. It is Shabbat.”

Senator Lieberman and his wife greet one another and exchange Shabbat hugs and kisses by saying, “Shabbat Shalom, Shabbat Peace to you.”

The entire 64 page Shabbat Project Manual can be viewed below.

Shabbat Project Manual