What is equivalent in all the manifestations of the Shekhinah is that each represents a certain aspect of the feminine.
Consequently the symbols and the contents of Sabbath Eve are always oriented to the female, with emphasis on the woman in her universal aspect as well as in terms of the Jewish family.
On entering a home on the eve of the Sabbath, one may see how a dwelling is made into a sanctuary.
The table on which are set the white loaves of Sabbath bread and the burning candles recall the Holy Temple with its menorah and its shew bread.
The table itself is, as always, a reminder of the altar in the Temple, for eating could and should become an act of sacrifice.
In other words, the relation, between man and the food he consumes, as expressed in the intention behind the eating of the food, corresponds to the cosmic connection between the material and the spiritual as expressed by every sacrifice on an altar.
Especially is this true on the Sabbath, when the Sabbath feast takes on the character of a sacramental act, a sort of communion, in the performance of the mitzvah of union of the soul, the body, the food, and the essence of holiness.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Thirteen Petalled Rose by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz