There seems to be a ubiquitous minhag for women to wave their arms around when they light candles, let's say for shabbos. I don't mean covering their eyes with their hands I mean waving around in the air beforehand. Here's a video in case you aren't familiar.

What is the source or reason for this minhag? How old is it? I'm hoping for textual sources.

Note: I read in Rabbi Reisman's book Pathways of the Prophets that he looked into it and couldn't find any source or reason for it. I'm hoping the community here will have more success.

  • Are you distinguishing hand waving from using their hands to cover the flames? Because covering the flame is old and has a very specific halakhic rationale. – Double AA Aug 25 '17 at 12:49
  • @DoubleAA yes I'll clarify. – robev Aug 25 '17 at 12:50
  • Ok, just realize it's originally covering the flame not covering the eyes. Covering the eyes is just a more practical way to cover the flame: you are covering the entire world including the flame, relatively speaking. – Double AA Aug 25 '17 at 13:00
  • I heard a while ago that it's a means of "taking in the holiness of Shabbat". I.e., the waving motion is inwards towards one's body as if one is taking in the light and beauty of Shabbat. I heard this a long time ago from, I believe, an aunt. I can't say where she got this idea from, but, from what I surmise, she believed in this, and it worked for her. – DanF Aug 25 '17 at 13:31
  • chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/674406/jewish/… see editor's note also ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/229/Q4 source to 1718 – rosends Aug 25 '17 at 13:58