Why are two candles lit at the beginning of Shabbat?

Answered by
Rabbi Victor S. Appell

The traditional practice is to light two candles on Shabbat. One symbolizes the idea of remembering the Sabbath, "remember the Sabbath day" (Exodus 20:8), and the other symbolizes observing the Sabbath, "observe the Sabbath day" (Deuteronomy 5:12). Some families light more than two candles. They may light one candle for each child or for each member of the family.

For small children, it can be a treat to blow out the match used for lighting the candles. Whether one lights two or several candles, their glow makes the Shabbat dinner table even more special.