Every Friday night I light the Sabbath candles right before sundown and say a prayer. I say the prayer that my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmothers have said before me. I say it in hebrew, but the english translation is:
“Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbath”
When I say the prayer, my hands cup my face. They say that this time is considered especially propitious for praying to G-d for health and happiness. The prayer is readily acceptable because it is offered during the performance of this great task.
My eyes usually tear up when I am in this safe place. It is other worldly and I cry from its power.
Near the candle light I pray. I speak to G-D and ask him to remember those who passed in loving memory so that they will be rewarded in the next world for the things that they did while their soul was on this earth.
I pray for my grandmother– who was taken from me two years ago this month. I tell her that I love her and that I miss her with an ache in my heart that will never go away. I tell her I miss how she made me laugh and her heart that never ever stopped giving.
I pray for my mother-in-law-who was taken away at the young age of 37- just one month shy of her 38th birthday. I know she is always with us. I know she is the one that protected my girls while in utero. I know she bought us 5 extra weeks in the hospital. How? I just do.I ask her to watch over her grandchildren and son. To offer my husband strength when he needs it. She does.
I pray for my paternal grandparents-All though my grandmother died a year before I was born, I have inherited some of her traits. Her eyes, her forehead, and her creativity. I pray for my grandfather’s soul. I know he wasn’t perfect in this life. He drank, he physically abused my father and verbally abused my grandmother. I know toward the end of his life he regretted it. I saw it in his eyes.I know he is still beloved by G-D.
I pray for my beloved high school Principal- who passed away while I was a Junior. My high school was very picky and didn’t want to admit me because I seemed “nonreligious” but she took a liking to me. She told me all the time how much she cared for me. I was the “teachers pet”. I adored her. She died of kidney failure after an unsuccessful transplant. One month shy of her son’s bar-mitzvah.
I pray for my husband’s amazing cousin-who has been married for 7 years. She has been trying to get pregnant since her wedding night. Everyone knows of her infertility because she is religious (and in Judaism you are not allowed to take birth control which usually results in several children) and asks her about it. Her heart aches for a child. She has seen her younger sister marry and birth 3 children. I pray with all my might that GD blesses them with a child. I know just how lucky that child would be.
I now sadly pray for little Madeline Alice Spohr.
I tell her, with my hands cupping my tear filled eyes, that I know who she was. That I know she was an old soul who came to this earth for a reason. I pray to her to give strength to her parents who desperately need it. I pray for her to help bring joy once again to her family.
I then uncover my eyes and behold the Sabbath lights.