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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Doctors and Candles

Last year, I went to the opthamologist to get a baseline because my blood sugar levels were so high and because, well, it was time. Before I left, I made an appointment for this year.

And somehow, we (the receptionist and I) forgot to check for holidays. The appointment is this Thursday. Not going to work - not only can I not go, but the doctor is also religious and the office would be closed. I had to make a new one. I'm double loaded now - eye doctor in the morning, dermatologist in the afternoon.

In other news, I'm feeling slightly freaked out about a change in my life. Now it's not going to sound like much, but it's a huge thing to me.

My entire married life, I've lit two candles every Friday and holiday. In the past few years, I've also lit an occasional yarzheit candle, but that's something different and, as I said, occasional. Two candles are the base number. Some groups have unmarried women (and girls over age three) light one candle on the idea that one lights one candle for each member of one's household. Unmarried men living on their own also light one candle, but two is basic - one for guard and one for keep, to go with the two different versions of the third commandment. In fact, I always lit two candles even before I got married. I never heard about just lighting one until a month before the wedding, when we spent Shabbat with Lubavitch relatives.

The most common reason to add a candle is because one has had a child (this goes with adding members of the household), but while that's common, it's not universal, and many women light just two candles no matter how many children they have. My mother-in-law lights two candles. My mother's grandmother (the last person in that line before me who lit candles, and for whom I was named) lit for everyone.

The other reason? Because one was unable to light on a night when one should light. (This may be the origin of the extra candles for children - one might not be able to light because of childbirth or recovering from it.) And that's what happened this past Friday to me. I was going to a friend's house for Shabbat dinner, and I was to get there before candlelighting, and assumed I'd light there, either on my own or relying on their lighting. But I got there right on the brink and they'd already lit conditionally and without me in mind. So I couldn't light at all.

And I asked my rabbi, and he said, paraphrasing, that we would now have the blessing of extra light in our home. (He's said this before. It does happen.) So, from now on, for the *rest of my life*, I have to light a third candle every Shabbat and yom tov. And without a chid to show for it, either. I resurrected one of the brass candlesticks I started using my first Shabbat home after my wedding, and it's there on my candle tray waiting for tonight to be lit for Yom Tov. And I'm literally freaking out.

Comments

I have two extra candles to light. One because a neighbor who was 9 months pregnant was having issues and needed someone there until her husband could get home and I didn't make it home in time for candlelighting and one because we'd driven to Manhattan, got stuck in traffic, and got through the Lincoln Tunnel right AT candlelighting. By the time we arrived at the nearest Chabade house, we'd missed candlelighting, but had a lovely dinner and then a hundred-block walk to JTS where we were staying for Shabbos.

It was really, really weird for a while. And even more annoying because those candles stayed lit for years as we were trying to have children. And very frustrating to explain to people who assumed the only reason to light extra candles was for children. But I like your Rabbi's explanation...that you'll have the extra blessing of the extra light in your Shabbos home. It's a beautiful way of looking at it.

We have the best rabbi. :) I mean, we're still freaking and I can't get used to the idea, but it did help.

Let's see 52 weeks/year * approximately 25 years in which I neither lit candles nor had them lit for me = 1300 candles (+2). We BTs are keeping the candle makers in business I must say. Since ME uses olive oil rather than candles, I'll have to call her and tell her to buy a truckload. :>)

:)

I think that it doesn't count until *after* you start lighting. Or all those girls who wait until marriage would, indeed, have problems.

Thank goodness I do NOT have to light for all those times you did not. I FORBID you from asking the rabbi about this.

There have been other times when we didn't light, either because we were included in someone else's bracha, like my mother, who is very possessive about these things - regards it as a diss for someone else to light in her home; or because we physically couldn't, like in the hospital when Debbie's father had emergency surgery - on that occasion, we benched on an electric ceiling light.

But this was the first time we can think of, where she just forgot, to do it herself, or to ask to be included in our hostess' lighting.

My mother-in-law has decided that if I'm there she wants me to light for all of us. Does not matter if it is my house or hers she would prefer I lit. I find this strange but do it cheerfully.

*snugs* I can imagine this would freak you out. May it get easier as the weeks go by.

I'm sure it will. And it's nice seeing the old candlestick.

My mother-in-law also missed lighting one week, but instead of lighting an extra candle, her rabbi told her she could light two extra-large candles. So she does, every week - big, thick candles, larger than regular shabay candles. I bet you could do something like that too.

I already have the psok from the rav. An extra candle it has to be. Also, I use those Israeli candles in glass cups. Larger wouldnt' work.