First light the candles. Then spread your hands out around the candles, drawing your hands inward in a circular motion three times to indicate the acceptance of the sanctity of Shabbat. You then cover your eyes and recite the following blessing:
BO-RUCH A-TOH ADO-NOI E-LO-HEI-NU ME-LECH HO-OLOM
A-SHER KI-DE-SHO-NU BE-MITZ-VO-SOV VE-TZI-VO-NU
LE-HAD-LIK NER SHEL SHA-BOS KO-DESH.
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments,
and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.
Uncover your eyes and behold the Shabbat lights.
The time of lighting is considered especially propitious for praying to G-d for health and happiness. The prayer is readily acceptable because it is offered during the performance of this great mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles.
The Shabbat candles must be lit 18 minutes before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration of the Shabbat to light the candles after sunset.
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