shabbos candles

The Shabbos Weekly
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Based on the Shiurim Given by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita

developed from the Chabura of the
Pirchei Shoshanim Shulchan Aruch Learning Project

These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita


Questions for the Week of Parshas Terumah

If it is getting late, should the husband light the candles?

This can involve serious sholom bayis (harmony) problems because the wife may feel that she was cheated out of a mitzvah unique to her. Indeed if it is close to sunset the husband must light the candles but everything should be done to avoid such a situation. Rav Sternbuch shlita adds that within the five minutes before sunset the candles must not be lit at all by anyone, as it is difficult to ascertain the exact time of sunset.

If a couple are eating out on Friday night, but are sleeping at home, where should they light?

Everyone agrees that in order to benefit and enjoy the light. [1], the main place to light Shabbos candles is on or near oneís dining room table. The problem is that we find that the Mechaber cites two opinions, as follows: [2] ďwhen two or three people are dining together, the first opinion, the MaHaril, says that each person recites the bíracha individuallyĒ. The seemingly weakness of this opinion is that once the dining room has light from the first set of candles, what does the second or third person add by lighting there. In addition if that person does light there, the bíracha would be in vain. The Mishna Berura explains [3] that this opinion holds that the more light the merrier and therefore one may light candles and recite a bíracha even though other candles are already lit.

The Mechaber continues: ďnot all agree to thisĒ, referring to the Ohr Zaruah, which would mean that even if one were to light next to other candles, one would not be permitted to recite a bíracha.

Which opinion do we follow?

Although in the Beis Yosef it says that although the Ohr Zaruah is not happy with this custom, there are those that do light with a bíracha next to other candles. The Beis Yosef explains this custom and says that it is because they hold that the more light the merrier. Nevertheless, in the Shulchan Aruch he rules that only one person should recite the bíracha when more than one person is lighting.

Consequently, when several people are lighting together in the same place, Sephardim may only recite one bíracha.

The Rama continues that we do not follow that custom, meaning that we light with a bíracha even when other people are lighting there. The Mishna Berura however adds to this, [4] that if one has a room for himself, one may light there with a bíracha even though one is not eating in that room. This implies that if one is able to light in a place where others are not lighting, one should líchatchila do so.

How does this manifest itself in our case?

Sephardim should light at home and not where they are eating out because the Mechaber says that one may not recite the bíracha if other candles are already lit.

Ashkenazim have the option to light either where they will be eating or in their home, and it appears from the Mishna Berura that it is preferable to light at home.

However, whenever one lights at home, one must make sure that one derives benefit from the candles, which means that one is home for a while after lighting them, or they will still be alight when one returns home.

If a couple are invited out for Shabbos and are sleeping in a separate apartment, where should they light?

The same rule applies as above. [5] Sephardim should light candles in the apartment they are staying in and even Ashkenazim might have a preference to light in this apartment. They must make sure that the candles are lit in a safe place, not next to curtains etc. and that they will still be alight after the meal when they return home.

When a son and daughter-in-law have a room in their parentís home, where should they light?

It is not very practical to light in oneís bedroom and as such it is not a viable solution. In this case the Ashkenazim would light in the dining room together with the mother of the house and Sephardim should make one bíracha for all the candles. This is done by gathering together at candle lighting and one woman makes the bíracha and all the women light their respective candles.

[1] MĒB simon 263:2 and 45.

[2] Simon 263:8.

[3] Simon 263:35.

[4] Simon 263:38.

[5] See the SSĒK 45:8.


Food For Thought

Is there a problem reciting a bíracha when in the same room there are electric lights?

Must one accept Shabbos with the candle lighting?

May one light and stipulate that one does not want to accept Shabbos with the lighting?

If the father of the house accepts Shabbos early, do the members of the household follow suit?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh points out to the letter vov that is written before the word 'v'yikchu li terumah', which suggests that the sentence is connected to something beforehand, which is a bit strange being that it is the second sentence of the parsha.

The Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh says that the possuk itself refers to the physical taking and giving of a donation towards the Mishkan and the Torah is telling us that the heart must precede the physical. Oneís heart must want to give as it says 'asher y'davnu lebo' and then the hand follows suit.

For a printed version, click here.



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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.