I try to light candles each Friday evening for Shabbat.
Have to admit…I have a little bit of a fear about keeping an open candle flame going when we have two small children about. I’ve even been known to move candlesticks to the sink just to keep the flame away from anything. Not that my kids are monkeys, but you know how easy it is (and how paranoid parents can be). When other people talk about how great gas stovetops are, I’m thinking how thankful I am to avoid that kind of thing altogether because we have electric. It’s really me. But still.
Earlier this summer, I found this great hurricane candle holder, and the minute I saw it, I thought: perfect for Shabbat candles. Glass all around, we can see the beautiful light, you can see it outside the window, and…whew…safe.
Then I thought: the pretty and functional way to make the candles stay upright is with sand.
And then I wondered if I could make the sand symbolic in some way. This may be too granola-crunchy for some of you, but could I make the medium, sand, stand for something? Could I make each grain of sand representative of our community? I looked up how many Jewish people there are in the world (13.9MM), did a calculation as to how many grains of sand fit in a cup measure (well, that depends on several variables, not least of which are the exact dimension of the grain of sand and how much room there is between grains).
BTW, a group of scientists at the University of Hawaii figure that on our earth, there are approximately 7.5 x 10 to the 18th power grains of sand. That’s seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains.
I just needed 13.9 million of them in a hurricane, via cup measure.
After a dozen different Google searches, I decided on one equation, figured even if it was off by a ton that the Almighty would understand and get where I was coming from, and so I measured as carefully as I could some sand we had brought back from the beach, and:
Sometimes I use the short candles that come with the glass cups, as above.