Not Your Average Shabbos Candles

A sweet young girl with pure intentions kindles a different type of Shabbos light.


In the home of Rabbi Chaninah Ben Dosa, every Friday afternoon, a humble lamp  would be filled with pure oil, thin wicks would be placed in the oil, and they would be lit with the blessing, ".  .  .  Who has commanded us to kindle the Sabbath light."   The Shabbat candle lights would burn with a clear pure light and would illuminate the house of Rabbi Channinah.  

One Friday afternoon, just before Shabbat, Rabbi Channinah's daughter lit the Sabbath candles, made the blessing, and accepted the Shabbat upon herself.  Upon arriving home from the synagogue,  Rabbi Channinah was greeted by his daughter who looked distraught, “What's wrong, my daughter?  Why are you sad?  Hasn't Shabbat already arrived and we should be happy?" he asked  her. His daughter replied sadly,   "Oh, Abba, I made a terrible mistake.  When I was preparing the Shabbat lamp I  was in a hurry because Shabbat was nearly in, and instead of oil, I took the bottle of vinegar!  I poured vinegar into the lamp and lit the Shabbat candles.  In a little while, the lights will go out, when there won't be any more oil in the lamp, and we won't have light for Shabbat any longer!"  Rabbi Chaninah comforted her and said,   "My daughter, it makes no difference at all.  The One who told the oil to kindle - let Him tell the vinegar to kindle!   The Holy-One-Blessed-Be-He created them both, and both of them do His will."   And indeed, the lamp burned beautifully all evening and all through the night, and even during the following day, the Sabbath candles did not go out, because God did the will of the righteous man, the Tzaddik.  Saturday night, after Shabbat had gone out, the candles were still burning, and they continued to burn until flame for the Havdalah candle had been taken from them, and then they finally went out.  

Talmud: Taanit 25a

Submitted by Debbie Stone