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Friday, August 12, 2016

A Judaica Milestone (or: The Story of Sarah and Candles)

Last night I realized that, when I get my college graduation gift, I will be passing a milestone in my collection of judaica: I will have my first full height holder for Sabbath and holiday candles!

I  have been lighting a Sabbath candle since first grade or so, and a pair of Sabbath candles for about the last two years, though I did use electric candles in dorm rooms for a while.  I first lit a candle in a brass candlestick of which we bought three (because my brothers, growing up in an egalitarian household, wanted to do it if I was doing it).  Then my second grade teacher gave each of us a candlestick (it happened to be an all-girls class that year); I thought that one was prettier, so I switched which one I was using...by then, my brothers had lost interest.  I got a pair as a gift from the synagogue at my Bat Mitzvah, but they were rickety and didn't last very long.

Traditionally, a girl in her mother's home lights just one candle; she begins to light two when she has  her own home, after she is married.  Until the Summer that I was 21, so almost exactly two years ago, that is exactly what I was doing, using the candlestick I had been given in second grade; it just didn't occur to me to do anything else.  My mother gently pointed out that that candlestick looked a little childish, and that maybe I wanted to switch to using one of the brass ones, of which we had three.  Not only that, she also suggested that maybe it was time for me to  light two candles.

I pointed out that I was sort of still living in her home, and certainly far from married.  She responded that in the type of Judaism where that dictated how many candles one lit, I would have been married, possibly even with children of my own, already.

I decided that made sense, and that as an adult, I did want to light two candles.  I was still in college, however, and returning to dorm life (I lived off campus for two years); buying me candlesticks--or a candelabrum, or whatever--at that point did not make sense.  College graduation, on the other hand, seems the perfect opportunity.

I knew immediately  that I wanted something by my favorite judaica designer, Yair Emanuel.  Initially I picked a pair of pink metal candlesticks, because everything's better if it's pink or purple.  Then I saw the candelabrum I ultimately decided to order.  I love the design--so modern, yet so graceful--and the color perfectly matches my runner.

I made that runner before my last semester of college.  (I had a last semester, not a last year, because I graduated one semester late.)  All I did was hem a quarter yard of fabric, with my neatest stitches, all the way around.  I knew I would just sense when I had the right fabric.  I thought we might have to go to the tremendously expensive craft store, but I was willing to look in Wal-Mart first, especially as we had other fabric to buy there.  I thought I wanted something blue with flowers.  The actual runner is bluish-purplish with butterflies; however, I knew instantly that it was exactly what I needed.  I used it under electric candles first; now that I light real candles, I spread some foil between it and them.

So that's the full story: Sarah and the Sabbath Candles.  Hmm.  Sounds a bit like a children's book.  Most unfortunately, I don't have a picture to go with this entry,  but I get to order my graduation gift on Monday! Super excited.  Also, for the moment, I also need to stop my efforts to get the aging-out kids seen.  This sounds selfish, but right now, I just need to focus on me.

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!