Two Shabbat Candles after another Shooting Tragedy

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On Shabbat, we light two candles. Why two? Twice the Ten Commandments are stated in the Torah; once in the Book of Exodus and once in the Book of Deuteronomy. There are slight differences in the two texts of the Commandments, however. In one, it is commanded to “Zachor”, remember the Sabbath day. In the other, it is stated to “Shamor” protect, guard the Sabbath Day.

The Sages, of blessed memory, taught us that the two candles are to represent both words-Remember and Protect.   They additionally taught that G-D spoke both words together, “Shamor ve-Zachor bedibbur echad”-the words were spoken in one Divine phrase. As we kindle the Shabbat lights, after this week of tragedy, we remind ourselves that we are to Zachor-remember those slain and make of their memories a blessing. As a nation, we do that frequently, and well. But we are also to Protect– and that we do quite poorly, failing time and again to ensure that our children are safe, protected from the devastation of gun violence. The Sages taught that Shamor ve- Zachor bedibbur echad– “Remember” and “Protect” are both Divine commands, and yet when it comes to gun violence, we only faithfully observe one of them.

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