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The Talmud (Shabbos 23b) relates the following adage in the name of Rav Huna: “One who is meticulous with the candle will merit having children that are Torah scholars”


Rashi explains, based on the Posuk (Mishlei 6:23), “Ki Ner Mitzvah V’Torah Ohr”, via the ‘Ner Mitzvah’, i.e. the proper lighting of candles of Shabbos and Chanukah will come the “Ohr Torah”, the light of Torah, i.e. Torah scholars will shine forth.


Given the correlation between the light of Chanukah and the light of Shabbos, it is only natural that now that Chanukah – and our studying its Halachos – is over, we should begin studying the Halachos of Hadlokas Neiros of Shabbos, a set of Halachos that effect virtually every Jewish man and woman.


1) The lighting of candles in every Jewish home prior to the onset of Shabbos is an obligation M’divrei Sofrim ,a term used to describe biblical obligations that aren’t explicitly written in the Torah, rather derived by Chazal (who are also referred to as Sofrim) via the 13 Midos SheHaTorah nidreshes Bahan, various Halachic Drashos that were handed down from Har Sinai as a blueprint to extrapolate laws from the Torah’s text.(See Rambam Sefer Hamitzvos, shoresh Rishon and  Keren Orah to Moed Katan 2a and Chida in Birchei Yosef  Orach Chaim Siman 530)

The Jewish nation already  lit Shabbos candles in the days of Moshe Rabbeinu. (See P’sikta Zutrasa Perek 35:3)


2) The reason for these lights is that there is an obligation of Oneg Shabbos, having a pleasurable Shabbos, and we can’t have pleasure unless we have light.

Additionally, having candles adds to the Kavod of Shabbos, the honor of Shabbos. (See Talmud Shabbos 25 b and Rashi, Tosefos and Meiri there. See also Aruch HaShulchan Siman 263:1 and 2)


(Double portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) The main Mitzvah of Neiros Shabbos is to have them lit and standing on or near the table during the Shabbos evening meal as to derive pleasure from their light. (See Rama Siman 263:10 and Mishna Berura S”K 45)


Some have the custom to light the candles on a shelf on the south side of the room where the Seudah is being eaten. (See Kaf HaChaim Siman 263:68)


2) Aside from the candles near the table, there is an obligation to have light (candles or any source of light including electric lamps suffice) in all areas in the home that will be used over Shabbos in order to ensure that nobody stumbles or otherwise gets hurt due to darkness, and thereby disturb the harmony in the home (Shalom Bayis). (See Rashi to Shabbos 25b Dibur Hamaschil Chovah, Aruch HaShulchan Siman 263:3 and Mishna Berura Siman 263 S”K 2)


1) The candles on or near the table should be long enough so that they remain lit for the duration of the Seudah. (See Derech Hachaim page 78)


Thus it is important to buy extra-long candles for the Pesach Seder, the eve of Simchas Torah and any other times when the Shabbos or Yom Tov Seudah extends later into the night than usual.


The light in the other areas of the home should remain lit at least until the members of the household go to sleep for the night. (See Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 3 Siman 3 and K’Tzos Hashulchan Siman 74)


2) If it is usual for members of the household to get up during the night to learn Torah, feed a baby, use the restroom or for any other reasons, it is proper to ensure that the lights remain on in those areas where they will use, for the entire night. (See Shu”t Az Nidberu ibid. quoting the Ben Ish Chai in Shu”t Rav P’alim Orach Chaim Vol. 4 Siman 30)


1) The Bracha recited when lighting the Shabbos candles is “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Asher Kidshanu B’Mitzvosav V’Tzivanu L’Hadlik Ner Shel Shabbos… Blessed are You Hashem, our G-d, Master of the world, who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of Shabbos”. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:5)


Even though more than one candle is lit, the text of the Bracha remains in the singular, “Ner” and not in the plural, “Neiros”, as the obligation of lighting Shabbos candles can be fulfilled even with one candle. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:22)


2) The Ashkenazi custom is to light the candles first, cover the eyes, recite the Bracha and then uncover the eyes to have enjoyment from the lights. (See Rama Siman 263:5 where he writes to “cover the fire”, however the custom is to cover the eyes. According to Kabalistic sources it is also imperative to close the eyes while reciting this Bracha, and not just to cover the eyes.)


The reason for this is that ideally the Bracha, like all brachos on Mitzvos, should be recited before the kindling (Over L’Asiyasan), but there is a concern that once the Bracha is recited it may be considered an acceptance of Shabbos and then it will be prohibited to kindle a flame. Thus the custom developed to light the flame first and cover the eyes while reciting the Bracha and that is considered as if the Bracha has been recited before kindling the flame. (See Rama Siman 263:5 and Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:10)


Some people do indeed recite the Bracha first and then light the candles. (Rama ibid. This is the custom of some who follow the Sephardic traditions. See Ohr L’Tzion Perek 18:3)


1) When lighting Neiros before the onset of Yom Tov that falls out on a weekday, the Bracha recited is “Baruch Ata Hashem… L’Hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov”


When Yom Tov falls out on Shabbos, the Bracha recited is “Baruch Ata Hashem…L’Hadlik Ner Shel Shabbos V’Shel Yom Tov”


2) When Yom Tov falls out on Shabbos the same procedure as Shabbos is followed, as we described in the previous Halachos.


However, when Yom Tov falls out on a weekday, and the candles are being lit on Erev Yom Tov, as is done on Erev Shabbos, many Poskim rule to recite the Bracha first and then light the candles, while some rule that the procedure followed on Erev Shabbos should be followed here as well, and the candles should be lit, the eyes covered and the Bracha recited. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:27)

If the candles are being lit on Yom Tov ( From a preexisting flame, of course) , as is the custom of some people to not light Yom Tov candles at the onset of Yom Tov, rather to light them only after the men return from Shul and are ready to eat the Seudah, then all agree that the Bracha should be recited first and then the candles lit. (See Mateh Efraim Siman 625:33 and Elef L’Mateh footnote 50)


1) The Bracha is recited over the candles that are kindled in the place where the Seudah will be held, as that is the main place where light is needed, and the Bracha will exempt any other candles or lights that are lit in any other areas in the home. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263 S”K 2 and 45)


2) However, in instances where the candles will be lit in a place other than where the Seudah will be (e.g. a Yeshiva student that will be eating the Seudah not in the place where he resides, and thus will be lighting candles in his apartment where he sleeps but will not be eating) the Bracha is indeed recited over the candles in whatever place they are placed in order to use their light. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:29)


1) Although the obligation to light Shabbos candles in every Jewish home is for both men and women, traditionally it has become a Mitzvah for the women to light and thus exempt their husbands and other members of the household.


One reason cited for this Mitzvah being the woman’s Mitzvah is a practical one: the woman is in charge of the household needs and is more often found at home thus this household Mitzvah was given to her. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:3)


Another reason given, based on the teachings of kabbalah, for this Mitzvah “belonging” to women is as follows:


The first woman, Chava, Eve, extinguished the candle of the world, i.e. she caused Adam to sin, and thereby darkened his soul (which is likened to a candle as the Posuk (Mishlei 20:27) states “Ner Hashem Nishmas Adam- the candle of Hashem is the soul of man”) and caused death to descend on mankind.


Therefore, as a rectification for the first sin, woman-kind has been given the task of once again illuminating the world, via the kindling of the Shabbos lights. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:12)


2) Since the man of the house is also obligated in the performance of this Mitzvah, he should prepare the candles for the woman by inserting the candles/oil into the candelabra or similar preparations, to at least have some part in the Mitzvah.(Mishna Berura Siman 263:12. See also Kaf Hachaim Siman 250:9)


Many men also have the Minhag of preparing the candles by lighting them and then extinguishing them, thus making them kindle easier when the woman later lights them for Shabbos.


1) In the event that there is no woman present in the home to light, the man of the house is obligated to light Shabbos candles.


If an older daughter, above the age of Bas Mitzvah, is present in the home there is a debate amongst the Poskim as to who takes precedence, the man of the house, as it is his obligation, or his daughter, as she is a female and this mitzvah is traditionally performed by females when possible.


Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal rules that the man of the house takes precedence. (Ruling quoted in “The Radiance of Shabbos” by Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen Shlita, page 7. See also Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 43 footnote 46)


Other Poskim maintain that either one of them can light the main candles and recite the Bracha and exempt the other one, and the other should kindle the lights in the other rooms of the home as those are also a component of the Mitzvah. (Ruling of Rav Nissim Karelitz Shlita quoted in Or Haner Perek 1:4 footnote 25)


2) A girl below the age of Bas Mitzvah may not exempt the household with the lighting of Shabbos candles. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 675:3 and Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 43:48)


Thus, even in those homes where the custom is for all the girls to light their own Shabbos candles, as is the Chabad minhag and as was the custom in various communities in pre-war Europe, still if the mother or older daughter is not present, the man of the house will need to light and he cannot rely on the candles of the girls below the age of twelve, as their lighting is only for Chinuch purposes and not obligatory.


(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) M’Ikar Hadin, according to the letter of the law, only one candle needs to be lit to fulfill the obligation to light Shabbos lights.


However, the custom is to light a minimum of two candles.


The two candles represent the two words the Torah uses to describe Shabbos observance (one in the first Luchos, the Ten Commandments, in Parashas Yisro and the other in the second Luchos in Parashas V’Eschanan):


a) “Zachor” Es Yom HaShabbos, remember the Shabbos day

b) “Shamor” Es Yom HaShabbos, Guard the Shabbos day.

(See Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:1)


2) It is a Mitzvah to have a lot of candles.

Some people light ten candles, representing the Aseres Hadibros, the Ten Commandments. Others light seven candles, representing the days of the week. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263 S”K 6. Those who light seven candles should not do so using a candelabra with seven branches, regardless of its shape, as it is prohibited to replicate the Menorah that was in the Bais Hamikdash which had seven branches. See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Siman 141:8 and Shach there Os 35 and Pischei teshuva Os 14 )


The prevalent Minhag is to start off lighting two candles, and to add an additional candle for each subsequent child that is born to the family, e.g. a family with four children lights six candles.


1) According to some Poskim, even when adding additional candles, the main two candles representing “Zachor” and “Shamor” should be placed away from the others so they are recognizable as the “main” candles. (See Darchei Moshe Siman 263:1 and Ra’avyah Siman 199. However, from the language of the Rama in Siman 263:1 it doesn’t seem like he ruled this way.)


2) Even those that light additional candles each Erev Shabbos when they are lighting at home (be it one for each child, seven, ten or any other amount) need only light two candles when lighting as a guest in someone else’s home.


However, whenever lighting at home the amount that is usually lit must be adhered to, and may not be lessened. (See Rama ibid. and Biur Halacha Dibur Hamaschil SheShakcha.)


Even if the woman of the house is not present and the husband or another family member is lighting, they must light the same amount of candles that the woman usually lights every week in that home. (Ruling of Rav Nisim Karelitz Shlita quoted in Ohr Haner Perek 1:5 footnote 31)


1) We mentioned earlier that even though the Mitzvah of lighting candles is traditionally performed by women, still the man of the house should set up the candles in order to take part in the Mitzvah. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:12)


I found an interesting Remez, allusion, to this minhag based on the words of the Mishna (Shabbos Perek 2 Mishna 6) , from HaRav Akiva Eiger Zatzal in his commentary to Mishnayos, Tosefos Rav Akiva Eiger, as follows:


The Mishna says that three things cause women to die during childbirth, “Al She’ainan Zehiros B’Nidah, U’Bchallah, U’B'Hadlokas HaNer, due to them not being scrupulous with [Halachos of] Nidah, [removing of] Challah and lighting the Shabbos candles”


Why does the Mishna not simply say “B’Nidah, U’Bchallah, U’BNer” as is the method used to refer to the other two (without any descriptive action preceding the word Nidah or Challah), but rather says “B’Hadlokas HaNer, with the lighting of the candle”


HaRav Akiva Eiger  answers that from the wording of the Mishna you see that only the lighting of the candles is incumbent on the woman, whereas the setting up of the candles is not her concern and is the man’s part of the Mitzvah.


2) If by having the man light the candles in preparation for the woman’s lighting later on it will cause the candles to not light as nicely, as is common with the candles on the market nowadays that burn more beautifully the first time they are lit, some say that he should indeed not pre-light them and instead prepare them in other ways, i.e. set up the candelabra, insert the candles or oil etc. (Ruling of the Chazon Ish Zatzal quoted in Sefer Dinim V’Hanhagos 9:1)


1) Shabbos candles must be lit using wicks and a burning substance that produces a nice and even flame. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 264 at length)


The ideal way to perform the Mitzvah of Shabbos candles is by using olive oil. (Shulchan Aruch Siman 264:6)


One who is scrupulous to use olive oil to light the Shabbos candles will merit children who will light up the world with their Torah [knowledge], which is compared to olive oil. (See Chida in Machzik Bracha Siman 264:2 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 264:38)


2) The wax candles that are common nowadays burn beautifully, and may indeed be better than any other substances, possibly even better than olive oil, as the candles burn brighter and steadier and often give off more and brighter light. (See Mishna Berura Siman 264:23 and Siman 275:4. See also Dibros Moshe from Rav Moshe Feinstein Zatzal Maseches


Shabbos Perek 2 footnote 23 and Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 3 Siman 4)

Thus, in order to satisfy all opinions, many scrupulous people light the two main lights using olive oil and for the rest they use candles. This is a praiseworthy thing to do.


1) When lighting the Shabbos candles, it is best to light the candle that is closest to you first and then move on to the one behind that and continue to the ones further away until they have all been kindled.

The reason for this is due to the rule of “Ain Ma’avirin Al Hamitzvos”, the obligation to not pass over any Mitzvah that is in front of you in order to do a different Mitzvah that is further away.(See Mishna Berura Siman 676:11 and Sha’ar HaTziyun Os 19)


2) If, however, by lighting the front candles first it will be difficult or dangerous to then reach over the already lit candles and light the rear candles, the rear candles may be lit first.


1) It is a praiseworthy custom for women to put a few coins (or dollar bills) into the Tzedakah box before lighting the Shabbos candles. Many women have set aside a special “Erev Shabbos pushka, charity box” for this purpose. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 75:2. See also Kaf HaChaim Siman 263:34 that for kabalistic reasons it is good to specifically give three coins to Tzedakah at this time.)


2) It is proper for every Jewish woman, after she kindles and recites the Bracha on the Shabbos candles, to daven to Hashem to bless her with children who will illuminate the world with their Torah, i.e. children who are Talmidei Chachamim, Torah scholars. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:2)

Women who experience difficult labor when giving birth, and especially women that have not yet merited having children, should recite the Haftarah of the first day of Rosh Hashanah [which details the story of Chana's childlessness and her ultimate giving birth to her son Shmuel the prophet] each Friday evening after lighting the Shabbos candles.


This Segulah works best when the woman understands what she is saying, and not simply reading words without meaning. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch ibid.)


1) When kindling the Shabbos candles, the match or other fire being used to light the candles should be held there in the igniting position until the wick on the candle catches on and is burning nicely and steadily (i.e. when the hand with the igniting fire is removed, the candle should not be fighting for life as it sometimes is when the match or lighter is only brushed against the wick quickly and then removed, often resulting in the candle extinguishing and needing to be rekindled), similar to the requirement in the Bais HaMikdash when kindling the Menorah. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 264:8 and Mishna Berura S”K 26)


2) It is permitted to light one Shabbos candle directly from another without the aid of a match or other igniter, and there is no concern of Bizui Mitzvah, disrespecting the Mitzvah, as all of them are candles of Mitzvah.


However, it is prohibited to light a match or a non-Mitzvah candle directly from the fire of a burning Shabbos candle, even if the purpose of lighting this match is to then light another Shabbos candle. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:4)


(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) As we discussed earlier, most women of Ashkenazi descent, and even many of Sephardic lineage as well, light the Shabbos candles and only then recite the Bracha, as their recitation of the Bracha is considered for them as accepting Shabbos and thus they may not kindle the lights or do any other prohibited Melachos after the Bracha was recited.


2) As long as the Bracha was not yet recited, even though the candles were all lit, according to many Poskim it is not yet considered Shabbos for her, and thus she may extinguish the match with which she kindled the candles, or do any other Melacha for that matter. (See Aruch HaShulchan Siman 263:14 and Biur Halacha Siman 263:1 end of Dibur Hamaschil Shtei Pesilos.)


Other Poskim, however, maintain that immediately upon lighting the candles, it is considered for her an acceptance of Shabbos, and she may not do any Melachos, even though she did not yet recite the Bracha.

Thus, many women have the custom to not extinguish the match with which they lit the candles, rather they place it carefully on the tray and let it go out by itself, or in some households, the husband or another member of the household takes the lit match from her and extinguishes it. (See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek43 footnote 179. See also Ben Ish Chai; year 2 Parashas Noach Siman 8 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 263:62)


1) Once a woman kindles [and recites the Bracha over] the Shabbos candles it is Shabbos for her even if it is still before sunset on Friday afternoon. (See Shulchan Aruch and Rama Siman 263:10. In cases of great necessity she may sometimes light candles and stipulate that she is not accepting Shabbos with this lighting, and then she would be allowed to do Melachos after lighting. However, a Rav must be consulted as to how early before sunset she may light in such a case and also to determine if this stipulation works for her in the first place in her particular situation. See Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:4)


A woman who regularly davens Mincha, must make sure to do so before she lights the Shabbos candles.


If she did not daven before lighting, she may not daven afterwards, as it is already Shabbos for her and she can no longer say the Mincha of Friday. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:43)


2) If a man is going to be lighting the Shabbos candles, and he wants to still do Melacha afterwards, it is best for him to stipulate (in his mind or verbally) that he does not intend to accept Shabbos yet by lighting the candles. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:42 and Siman 261:21)


If, however, he did not make the stipulation, and he wants to do Melacha after lighting the candles, he may do so B’Dieved (ibid. and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman75:7).


Furthermore, a man may daven Mincha for Friday after he lights the Shabbos candles, even L’Chatchila, as his lighting is not yet an indication of accepting the sanctity of Shabbos as it is by a woman. (See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch ibid.)


1) The Shabbos candles should ideally remain in the same spot where they were kindled, and should not be moved to another spot after lighting [and reciting a Bracha on] them. (Rama Siman 263:10)

This is the case even in the event that a stipulation was made to not accept the sanctity of Shabbos immediately after lighting the candles. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:47)


2) In cases of necessity when they must be moved, they can only be moved within the same house, and even then only from one place that will be used [via these candles or via another light source in the room] on Shabbos to another place that will also be used [via these candles or via another light source in the room].


However, if either the original place where it was lit or the current place to where it is now be moved is not a place that will be used on Shabbos, the lighting is not valid even B’Dieved. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:48. He also quotes the Chayei Adam that those women who on Sukkos light the candles in the Sukkah and then move them into the house, are not acting properly.)


1) It is important not to act in a disrespectful way in the presence of the Shabbos candles.

Thus, a child should not be totally or semi unclothed in the presence of the candles, nor should a child’s diaper be changed or other disgraceful things be done or placed in front of the candles. (See Rama end of Siman 275 and Kaf HaChaim Siman 275:41 and 42. This Halacha applies to the Havdalah candle as well as to any candles used for a Mitzvah.)


2) A woman that lit the candles and is certain that she forgot to recite the Bracha when doing so, as long as it is before sunset, and thus still within the time when she would halachically be able to kindle the lights, she may recite the Bracha when she remembers. If it is after sunset, she may no longer recite the Bracha. (See Biur Halacha Siman 263:5 Dibur Hamaschil K’sheyadlik Yevarech)

The above is true even if she accepted the sanctity of Shabbos upon herself with the lighting. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Shlita, based on language of Biur Halacha ibid.)


1) If a woman is blind R”L, ideally her husband should recite the Bracha over the Shabbos candles in her stead. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:14)


If the blind woman is alone in her home she may still recite a Bracha over the Shabbos candles. (Mogen Avraham Siman 263:9 quoted in Mishna Berura ibid. The reasoning is that blind people also benefit from light, as others are able to see and assist them when there is light. See Shulchan Aruch Siman 69:2)


2) If other people are eating the Shabbos Seudah together with the blind woman, and they lit candles with a Bracha in the room where they are eating the Seudah, her candles can be lit [with a Bracha] in another room where the light will enable them to assist her, but if she lights in the same room as them she should not recite the Bracha. (Ruling of HaRav Nissim Karelitz Shlita based on Mishna Berura ibid.)


1) If one will be eating the Shabbos Seudah away from home, but will be coming home to sleep, the Shabbos candles should be lit at home as usual, however, additional lights or lamps should be turned on as well. (See Shvus Yitzchok Perek 5:3 and 4 for the reasons it’s better to light at home than to light at the host’s home where the Seudah will be)


When turning on these lights or lamps it should be with specific intent that they are for the purposes of Shabbos light, and the Bracha recited over the candles will cover these lights as well.


2) The reason for this is that when they return home later that night after the candles already burned out, they will still have light L’Kavod Shabbos and for Shalom Bayis, as otherwise the Bracha, if recited over the candles alone, would have been in vain as no benefit was derived from them. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:2)


1) If one will be eating the Shabbos eve Seudah away from home and be returning to their home later that night, and will be leaving to their destination on Friday afternoon, they may already light the candles in their own home any time after Plag Hamincha (between 45 and 75 minutes before sunset, depending on time of year. For exact time of Plag Hamincha on a particular day please click here and enter your ZIP code), as after this time anybody can already light the Shabbos candles and accept upon themselves the sanctity of Shabbos (unless they stipulated otherwise, which we will B’Ezras Hashem discuss further, tomorrow.) (See Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:4.)


2) However, if they need to leave home before Plag Hamincha in order to get to their destination on time, they cannot light Shabbos candles at home before they leave. (ibid.)


Rather, they should leave on the electric lights/lamps that they will need when they return home, but only light the Shabbos candles in the house where they will be eating.


Regarding the Bracha on the candles they are lighting in the host’s home, it is best if they listen to the Bracha of the hostess as she lights her candles, and be exempted by her. (Based on Shulchan Aruch Siman 263:8, as in this case it is possible that the obligation has been satisfied by leaving the lights/lamps on in their own home, and thus no Bracha may be required in the host’s home for these additional candles.)


(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) As we learned yesterday, a woman who is not eating the Shabbos eve Seudah in her own home and leaves her home before Shabbos, but will be walking back home later that night to sleep in her own home, should light candles in her home any time after Plag Hamincha.


If after lighting the candles, the woman wants to drive to where she will be eating the Shabbos Seudah, she has to make a stipulation before lighting that, this time, she does not want to accept the sanctity of Shabbos with the lightingof the candles. (If no stipulation was made she may not even travel by taxi or bus as a passenger, as it is disrespecting Shabbos to be driven in a vehicle after the sanctity of Shabbos has set in. See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 43 footnote 136)


2) Although this stipulation should only be made in cases of necessity, many Poskim rule that this case is considered necessity. (Ruling of HaRav Nissim Karelitz Shlita quoted in Ohr HaNer Perek 4 footnote 78. Of course, every individual must consult their own Rav before executing this stipulation to ensure that their particular circumstance fits the criteria of “necessity”. See Mishna Berura Siman 263:44)


It goes without saying that this stipulation, to postpone the acceptance of the sanctity of Shabbos, does not work beyond sunset.


1) After making the aforementioned stipulation, she should light the candles and the other lights/lamps around the house with intent that it should be benefitted from when she returns home later that night, and then recite the Bracha over the candles as usual. (Ideally, the candles should be long enough to still be burning when she returns home, as according to many Poskim the Bracha cannot be recited if, when she returns home, benefit will only be derived from the electric lights. Other Poskim are more lenient. A Rav must be consulted for Halacha L’Ma’aseh.)


2) Later on when she is at the host’s home and the time for Hadlokas Neiros arrives, she should accept upon herself the sanctity of Shabbos at the time that she usually lights when she is at home . (Preferably she should do this verbally by saying “I now accept upon myself the sanctity of Shabbos for the purpose of ‘Tosefes Shabbos’, the Mitzvah to accept Shabbos earlier than the actual time it arrives. This verbalization is not necessary when a woman lights the candles at the regular time, as then her action of lighting the candles serves as her way of accepting the sanctity of Shabbos earlier than sunset. See Mishna Berura Siman 261:21)


1) Generally, in a public place, such as a hotel, a hospital or similar, it isn’t possible, for valid safety concerns, to light candles in the private room where one is staying.


Therefore, one who finds him/herself in such a place, should turn on the light/lamp in their room with intent that this should be in place of the Shabbos candles in their room, and then they should go and light the candles in the designated room, preferably the public dining room where the meal will take place. (If the only area given to light is the lobby or another area where no meal will take place, ideally, it is best  to try and eat something near the candles. Ruling of Rav Nissim Karelitz Shlita)


2) Regarding the Bracha on the candles in this case, the prevalent minhag amongst Ashkenazim is to recite a Bracha, whereas Sephardim do not recite a Bracha, rather they can listen to an Ashkenazi woman’s Bracha and will thus be exempted for their own lighting. (See Sefer Ohr HaNer page 30 footnote 90 for a lengthy dialogue about this)


1) The prevalent minhag is for a woman to light candles wherever she happens to be for Shabbos, even if she isn’t in her own home.


The above is the case even if her husband or other household members remained home and are lighting candles there.


It is, however, ideal in situations where her husband or another household member will be lighting in her home when she is away, to have specific intent, when lighting where she is, not to be exempted from the obligation to light candles via their lighting. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Shlita quoted in Sefer Ohr HeNer Page 34)


2) The minhag used to be that the first Shabbos after giving birth to a child, a woman would not light the candles but rather have her husband do so. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:11)

However, nowadays most women do in fact light the Shabbos candles themselves the first Shabbos after giving birth, as due to the advancement of modern medicine and the modern birthing procedures, most women are back on their feet shortly after giving birth, and can light in the room where the Seudah will take place and also be present themselves at the Seudah. (See Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 11 Siman 2. This is also the ruling of HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal and many other contemporary Poskim)


1) Generally, in a boys’ Yeshiva there are no woman present to light the Shabbos candles, and thus the candles are lit by the Bachurim, the yeshiva students.


The candles should be lit by only one Bachur, in the dining room of the Yeshivah. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:30)


If the candles belong to the yeshiva, the bachur lighting can light for everyone present without any further requirements. (This works even on behalf of any guests present, who aren’t students of the Yeshiva, according to the ruling of Rav Nissim Karelitz Shlita)


If the candles are privately owned by the one lighting, another Bachur should lift the candles up a Tefach and be zoche (Halachic gifting) them on behalf of all the other Bachurim, and only then should they be lit on behalf of everyone else. (See Shulchan Aruch Siman366:9 and Mishna Berura Siman 263:34)


2) Before lighting the candles, the Bachur should open the electric lights in the dining room and have in mind that his Bracha over the candles should also exempt the electric lights which will provide light for the entire student body as they enjoy their Shabbos meal in the Yeshiva dining room. (This is especially important here, as many of the Bachurim will be sitting far away from the candles, and only derive pleasure from the electric lights, and none whatsoever from the candles. See Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso Perek 45 footnote 56)


1) If it is possible, from a safety standpoint, one of the Yeshiva Bochurim should also light candles [with a Bracha] in their dorm room or apartment where they will be sleeping, even if they won’t be eating the Shabbos Seudah there. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:29)


They should all ideally listen to the Bracha being recited and have in mind to be exempted with it. (Mishna Berura Siman 263:30. See also Shu”t Shevet Haleivi Vol. 1 Siman 52)


2) Even though only one of them is lighting, the other roommates should “chip in” to this lighting by giving the one lighting a coin or two, so that it should satisfy their obligation as well.


Alternatively, as with the Bochur lighting in the Yeshiva dining room, he can have someone lift the candles up a Tefach before lighting them and thus be “zoche” them as a gift for all those being exempted by this lighting. (See Mishna Berura Siman 263:34)


Here too, as with all candle lighting, if other electric lights/lamps will be left on in the room, they too should be turned on with the Mitzvah in mind and the Bracha over the candles should exempt the other lights as well.


Ideally, the candles should still be lit when the Bochurim return from the Seudah to their apartment, so they can benefit from the light.


1) In the event that there is adequate light in the corridor near the Bochurim’s apartment or via a streetlight near an open window in their room, and thus there is no need for a light/lamp in the room in order to provide light not to stumble, they should then not light candles with a Bracha in their apartment or room unless they will also be eating the Seudah there on Friday night near the candles. (Ruling of HaRav Nissim Karelitz Shlita)


Even if they only eat some Mezonos by the light of the candles it is adequate, according to many Poskim, as this also deems it the place of the Seudah. (Ruling of Harav Nissim Karelitz Shlita based on the ruling of the Chazon Ish Zatzal. Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlita, however, maintains that the actual Seudah needs to be eaten there to be able to consider the candles as necessary for the Seudas Shabbos. See Sefer Shvus Yitzchok page 11)


2) Alternatively, if they will close the door or the window to the room or apartment [for a few moments] to block out the light from the corridor or the streetlight so it is no longer adequate, and thus they will need to make use of the candle light, they may light the candles with a Bracha. (See Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Vol. 2 Siman157:6 Dibur Hamaschil V’Nireh SheAfilu. See also Shu”t MaHaril HaChadashos Siman45:4)


(Double Portion L’Kavod Shabbos Kodesh)

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh


1) A yeshiva student that is eating the Shabbos Seudah in his parents’ home, even though he will be going back to the dormitory or to his apartment to sleep and nobody lit candles there, does not need to do anything to take part in the lighting of the candles in his parents’ home (e.g. contribute a coin or lifting them or having someone else lift them be “zoche” for him as a gift),as he is considered a member of the family and is automatically exempt via his mother’s lighting like the rest of the household members. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Shlita)


2) If the Yeshiva student is a guest for the Seudah in a home other than his parents, and no candles were lit in the place where he will be sleeping, according to some Poskim, he has to partake in the candle lighting of the host by giving him a coin or lifting the candles or having someone else lift them a Tefach to be “zoche” them for him as a gift [before Shabbos]. (Ruling of HaRav Nisim Karelitz Shlita and Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Shvus Yitzchok Perek 4)


Other Poskim, however, maintain that a Yeshiva student eating at a host’s home assumes the status of the other family members and is automatically exempt by the host’s Shabbos candles. (Ruling of HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach Zatzal in Shulchan Shlomo Siman 263:13)


If the Yeshiva student is not sure if he will be eating in the Yeshiva’s dining room or at a private host’s home, he is exempt with the lighting in the yeshiva’s dining room. (Ruling of HaRav Nissim Karelitz Shlita)


1) A woman that negligently or even inadvertently didn’t light the Shabbos candles on a particular week must from that week on always add an additional candle to the usual amount that she lights. (Rama Siman 263:1)


If she forgot multiple times, she is required to always add an additional candle for each time she missed lighting Shabbos candles. (Mishna Berura Siman 263:7)


This requirement was imposed on her as a K’nas, a penalty, to ensure that she is more careful in the future with honoring the holy Shabbos.


However, if the woman missed due to being unable to light (Oi’nes) she is not required to add any additional candles. (Mishna Berura ibid.)


2) This penalty is in place only if she didn’t light the candles at all, but if on a particular week she, for whatever reason, lit a lesser amount of candles than her usual number, there is no requirement to subsequently add any candles in future weeks, as M’Ikar Hadin only one candle is required to be lit each week, and this that we always light two, and add additional ones for each child, is just a minhag. (See Biur Halacha Siman 263:1 Dibur Hamaschil SheShakcha)


Seemingly, this would apply to Yom Tov as well, however, according to some Poskim, since on Yom Tov she can still remember to light for the duration of the evening meal and thus there is less of a chance of her totally forgetting, they did not institute this Knas on a scenario that is not likely (known in Halachic terms as ‘Milsa D’Lo Sh’chicha Lo Gazru’. See Shu”t Kinyan Torah Vol. 1 Siman 87. This is also the ruling of Maran HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Shvus Yitzchok page 6)


Other Poskim, however, do require the extra candle to be added in the event that she missed a Yom Tov lighting. (See Shu”t Be’er Moshe Vol. 5 Siman 101 and Vol. 8 Siman 63. See also Shu”t Az Nidberu Vol. 3 Siman 3 and Shu”t Mishne Halachos Vol. 7 Siman 35.)

Some Poskim rule that a woman who forgot to light on Yom Tov would only be required to add an additional candle each Yom Tov but not every Erev Shabbos.


For Halacha L’Ma’aseh a Rav must be consulted.

With endless gratitude to Hashem, this brings us to the end of our foray into the Halachos of Shabbos candles.

It is my Tefilah that we all will be performing the great Mitzvah of Hadlokas Ner Shabbos a little better and with a little more meaning now that we discussed the many Halachic aspects of it.

In the merit of our honoring the Shabbos with lights, may we speedily be granted the light of Mashiach and the eternal light of the Geulah Shelaima and our return to the light of Tzion.

אם אתם משמרים נרות של שבת אני מראה לכם נרות של ציון


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