The seder officially begins with a physical act: lighting the candles. In Jewish tradition, lighting candles and saying a blessing over them marks a time of transition, from the day that is ending to the one that is beginning, from ordinary time to sacred time. Lighting the candles is an important part of our Passover celebration because their flickering light reminds us of the importance of keeping the fragile flame of freedom alive in the world.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ, מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֺלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֺתָּיו, וְצִוָֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל יוֹם טוֹב
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with laws and commanded us to light the festival lights.
As we light the festival candles, we acknowledge that as they brighten our Passover table, good thoughts, good words, and good deeds brighten our days.
Why do we light two candles, when the prayer uses the singular "neir" for one? We are told in the 4th commandment to "remember" and "keep" the Sabbath and the two candles reflect the two acts.
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