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Shabbat Prayers: Kabbalat Shabbat: This You Have Accomplished

In many communities the congregation pauses after Kabbalat Shabbat to recite a chapter of Mishnah, “With what may we light the Shabbat candles?” One of the laws is, “A person must say three things in his home on the eve of the Sabbath just before dark: Have you tithed? Have you prepared the Eiruv? Kindle the Shabbat lights!”


At first glance this does not seem to be very good marital advice. Everyone is busy, running around preparing for the Sabbath, and now the husband steps in and begins to question whether people have done all they should! And this, is, “just before dark”!

Perhaps we can read this Mishnah differently: “This is what you have done. This is what you have accomplished. I acknowledge each step that you have taken to prepare for Shabbat. I acknowledge each detail of all you do to make our home what it is.”

This is not an instruction to ask the family whether all have done their errands. This is a reminder that a husband must take this opportunity, I suggest as he is preparing his wife’s Shabbat candles, to acknowledge to his wife that he appreciates all that she does.

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