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Embodying the Shabbos Queen

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As a little girl, from the age of three, every Friday evening I stood at my mother’s side and would hold her wrist as we lit candles together, waving our arms and circling them three times before reciting the blessing over the Shabbat candles, eyes covered as we silently recited prayers for ourselves, our family, and the entire world. When I would remove my hands from my face, the room would look different. The shabby carpeting a little more lush, the smudged walls more pristine, the tablecloth blindingly white, and the faces of my mother and sister shining like angels.

I’d learned in preschool that this was because of the arrival of the Shabbos queen, the mythical figure that signified the entrance of the Divine presence into our daily lives and the shift from the weekday mundane into Shabbos mode.