Eight “Women of Light”:
A Prayer for a Chanukah Night
Adapted from www.ritualwell.org by
Rabbi Paul Kipnes, Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA
http://rabbipaul.blogspot.com * (818) 880-4880
On this night of Chanukah, we celebrate four “women of light”, who made sure the holy light shined forth. According to legend…
- Sarah Imaynu (our foremother) lit candles at the beginning of Shabbat. Miraculously, the flame burned throughout the entire week, lighting the tents of Abraham and Isaac.
- Rebecca Imaynu (our foremother) inherited the task of lighting these candles when Sarah died. Because Rebecca was also a righteous woman, her candle light shined throughout the entire week as Sarah’s had.
- Queen Esther was known as the Ayelet HaShachar (the morning star) who brought a bright, rekindled spirit to the Jews after the dark night of suffering at the time of King Ahashuarus.
- Eight “Women of LightDeborah the Judge was a wise and important Judge who lived in the twelfth century BCE. In the Torah Deborah is referred to as the “Woman of Lapidot.” In Hebrew, lapid means torch or flame, and so the Talmud refers to Deborah as a “woman of flames.” A contemporary midrash teaches that Deborah made candle-wicks which lit before fire ever touched them; the candles were illuminated from the light inside of Deborah, which grew as she grew.
Tonight, these four “women of light” invite us to remember four female ancestors in our own families every time we light the Shabbat and Hanukkah candles. We mention their names, and tell the story of the things they did to make sure our family’s light shined brightly. [Name four female ancestors who were positive influences on your family.]
These eight “Women of Light” – like the 8 nights of Chanukah – remind us that we can share our light without diminishing it.
May their memories be for a blessing. Amen.