Making a Jewish House a Home
At least one set of candlesticks is a pre-requisite for a Jewish home and, according to tradition, they should be beautiful, as candle-lighting is a mitzvah. The principle of hiddur mitzvah (beautification of a mitzvah) teaches the value of using beautiful objects to perform a mitzvah.
Tradition also dictates that at least two Sabbath candles are lit. One of the interpretations of this custom is that they represent two versions of the fourth commandment: shamor – observe the Sabbath, Deuteronomy 5:12) and zachor (remember the Sabbath, Exodus 20:8).
Candle-lighting is customarily viewed as a women’s responsibility, and a time for women to offer personal prayers, prior to reciting the formal blessings. Money for tzedakah (charity) is to be put aside just before the candles are lit, following the custom of not using or touching money once the Sabbath begins.
Shabbat candles are not to be extinguished but, rather, left to burn down.