When women light shabbat candles I often see them making hand gestures. These look like two or perhaps three circles around in the air. What is the source for this practice? Is it a law or custom? Is the candle lighting kosher without the gestures?
The principles are:
1) Tradition has it that women accept Shabbos when they say the blessing on the candles.
2) Blessings on mitzvos should be done before the mitzvo is performed.
Because of (1), once the woman has said the blessing, it becomes Shabbos and she can no longer light the candles.
So what the women do is
to light the candles with a match.
blot out the light from entering their eyes.
then say the blessing.
then with the hand movements they (so to speak) cause the light to
enter their eyes.
This has always been my understanding.
But see the Chabad.org article procedure where the hand movements "usher in a special guest, the Shabbat Queen." After the third hand movement, the woman covers her eyes with her hands and recites the blessing.
I would like to know if there is any support for my first understanding.