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The custom of ancient Israel is that women light Shabbat candles. The Shulchan Aruch also ruled that “women are more warned about him.” (Orach Chaim 433, 3)
Why is this so?
This question was asked in the midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 17: 8), and it is said there: “Ask Rabbi Yehoshua … Why did we give her the commandment of the Sabbath candle?” And the answer that Rabbi Yehoshua answered was: “By his death, Of the first person, therefore it is given the matzah of the Sabbath candle. “
The midrash means that the lighting of a candle by the women is a special correction for them for the fact that Chava, Adam’s first wife, caused her husband to eat from the tree of knowledge and thus was fined for his death. If he had not eaten Adam from the Tree of Knowledge he would have lived forever.
A soul is called a candle, and since Eve extinguished the first person’s candle, that is, his soul. Therefore, as a correction to this, all the women throughout the generations try to light the Sabbath candles themselves and not leave them to their husbands.
Even in the Talmud Yerushalmi (page 20a) it is written: “The first man was the light of the world, as it is written, ‘The candle of God is the soul of man.’
Maimonides taught us a different reason why women usually light Shabbat candles, and this is the language: “Women are more observant than men, because they are in the houses, and they are engaged in housework.” (Hilkhot Shabbat, )
The holy Zohar says: “A woman should have a happy heart, and with the intention of lighting a Sabbath candle, for the honor of the Supreme is hers, and it is a great privilege for herself to merit by lighting the candles for holy sons who will be the light of the world in Torah and fear. And therefore it is necessary to be careful to light the candles, which will be with great intent. ” (Translated from the Zohar in Bereshit 48b)
In the books it is explained that the time when a woman lights Shabbat candles is a time that is capable of praying for the sons of Torah scholars. Thus the Chafetz Chaim writes: “The woman should pray after the lighting and the blessing are given. (Mishnah Berurah, section 119, scb)