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Shabbat Candle Sticks

12/27/2018 03:37:19 PM


Rabbi Daniel Dorsch

While shopping at the Traditions Judaica Shop at the Festival Marketplace in Pompano Beach, Amy’s attention was captivated by the “20% off” Chanukah decorations. My gaze was fixated on a rather strange set of Shabbat candles in the store window. Inscribed in Hebrew and English were the words famously attributed to Ahad HaAm (Asher Ginsburg), known as the father of cultural Zionism: “More than the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.”

Ahad HaAm’s well-known statement celebrates the multitude of ways in which Jews--outside of formal ritual observance--connect to their Judaism. Which upon reflection, makes this pair of Shabbat candlesticks set to this quote, the most ironic Jewish ritual object I’ve ever seen.

Who would own a pair of non-religious, Jewish, Shabbat candles? Perhaps, they might be a lovely purchase for a secular Jew who would polish them reverently from time to time. Or, they might rest well on the dining room sideboard of a one time member of the arbiter ring, would only light them as an act of cultural or political defiance (but again, never religious).

Certainly, there are many ways for Jews to connect to our yiddishe neshama, our Jewish souls, outside of our traditional Shabbat observance. Our city of Atlanta hosts nationally renowned Jewish book and music festivals.

I’ll just be damned if I can figure out whose bright idea it was to try to market that idea on a pair of Shabbat candles.

I suspect these candles may also soon be 20% off the purchase price.

Mon, May 20 2019 15 Iyyar 5779