COME ON BABY LIGHT MY FIRE
By the CyberRav—Rabbi Rafi Rank
I attend Temple every Saturday morning and have always had a much more religious feeling than my wife of over 30 years. Both my children had a Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Even when they didn’t want to attend Hebrew School, I told them they had no choice in the matter. Their entry into Jewish adulthood will always be remembered as special moments in both my life and my wife’s.
Recently, I joined a new synagogue that I love. My wife told me to join as a single, but I refused. She has, since my affiliation, never walked into the place.
Even my love for the state of Israel and the donations I make would never enter the mind of the woman I love. I recently asked her if she would light Friday night candles. She said, you guessed it—absolutely not. My mother always would light Friday night candles. Her mother never did.
Is it appropriate for a man to light Friday night candles and say the blessing or is it just not done.
Thanfully, there’s LIPA.
In the Dark on This One
Dear In the Dark,
It is not unusual for a Jewish couple to come from very different backgrounds religiously and spiritually. I very much respect your firm stance regarding Jewish tradition, even as you are careful not to impose it on your wife. I think you are entirely justified in operating in this manner.
As to the lighting of Shabbat candles--do it! Although it is a mitzvah associate with women, it is not a mitzvah that can be carried out only by women. Lighting Shabbat candles is a mitzvat asei, a positive mitzvah which ought to be fulfilled by a man in the absence of a woman either capable or willing to do it. And I think once these candles are lit in your home, your wife will find them most inviting.
What could be more beautiful than welcoming in Shabbat with candlelight?!
The Cyber Rav
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