Turning the Lights Back On

Part of Chava’s punishment is (Breisheet 3:16): “I will greatly increase your suffering (itzvonech) and your pregnancy (heronech). You will give birth to children with pain (be’etzev teldi vanim)…”


According to the Gemara in Eruvin 100b, the word “itzvonceh”, your suffering, refers to the anguish of raising children, The word “heronceh”, your pegnancy, refers to the pain of pregnancy. The words “be’etzev teldi vanim”, you will give birth to children with pain, refers to the pain of childbirth.


In Breisheet Raba 20:6 the word “vanim” is explained as the anguish of raising children.


Once the babies are born, we spend the rest of our lives raising them.


Many women say extra prayers and techinot when they are pregnant and/or in labor but it is important to pray for our children when we are raising them as well.


It says in the Gemara in Shabbat 23b: Rav Huna said: One who is habitual in lighting the light (candles) will have sons who are Torah scholars.


Rashi comments that in Mishlei, Proverbs 6:23 it says “For the commandment is a lamp and the Torah is light.” By observing the mitzvah of lighting Shabbat and Chanuka candles one brings the light of Torah into the world.


In  Mishlei 20:27 we read: “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord”.


The Midrash in Tanchuma states that Chava extinguished Adam’s “candle” by giving him the fruit to eat.


By lighting the Shabbat candles, the woman is making a tikkun (correction) for Chava’s mistake and turning the lights back on.


Many women add the following prayer after lighting Shabbat candles:


May it be Your will Hashem, my God and God of my forefathers, that you will show favor to me and all of my relatives; and that you grant us and all of Israel a good and long life; that you remember us with beneficent memory and blessing; that you consider us with a consideration of salvation and compassion; that you bless us with great blessings; that you make our households complete; that You cause Your presence to dwell among us. Privilege me to raise children and grandchildren who are wise and understanding, who love Hashem and fear God, people of truth, holy offspring, attached to Hashem, who illuminate the world with Torah and good deeds and with every labor and service to the Creator. Please hear my supplication at this time, in the merit of Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah and cause our light to illuminate and not be extinguished forever and let our countenance shine so that we are saved, Amen.