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 Ki Sisa

If the father of the house accepts Shabbos early, are the members of the household required to follow suit?

We must preface this halacha with several halachos that are pertinent to this rule. A person who accepts Shabbos before sunset may not perform any melachos. [1] This is true even if the majority of the people in town have not yet accepted Shabbos.

It is possible to accept Shabbos either by davening the Shabbos Maariv (evening prayer), or by saying or , or even by saying I accept the Shabbos kodesh upon myself.

We also find that when the majority of the members of a shul are in shul and have accepted Shabbos, the minority automatically follow suit and it is Shabbos for them as well. This generally applies to a small town or village that has only one shul, but in certain cases it can apply to a town with a few shuls as well, where the majority of the shuls have already accepted Shabbos. (These laws are complicated and we will not deal with them in this forum). [2]

What does the above have to do with a father of a household and his family?

HaRav Moshe Feinstein ztzl writes [3] that if the reason the husband accepts the Shabbos early [4] is in order to add hours to the Shabbos (for the sake of Tosefes Shabbos) or in order to prevent performing melachos on Shabbos and it is something he does on a permanent basis, the wife and household would have to follow suit. This is based on the halacha that the wife follows the husbands customs.

However, in the majority of cases, when the husband accepts Shabbos ahead of candle lighting, in order to have the Shabbos meal early, so as to enable the children to partake of the meal, or in order to eat at the same time he eats during the week, his wife and family do not follow suit and do not have to accept Shabbos with his doing so. [5]

An interesting case arises where a woman forgot to recite the bracha over the candles due to the Shabbos rush. She would like to know if she may recite the bracha long after she had lit the candles.

Initially we would probably say no, as the bracha is usually recited before the mitzvah, or at least as close as possible to the mitzvah.

However, we find [6] that in the event that one has not made the birkas al netilas yadayim, after washing hands for a meal, one may make it up until one has made the birkas hamotzi. [7] One of the reasons is because the purpose of the washing is to have clean hands for the partaking of food and therefore the bracha will apply itself to that very state after the washing as well.

We can therefore apply the same logic here and say that as long as the candles are alight one is performing the mitzvah of having candles lit for Shabbos and as such the bracha is just as pertinent. However, since words of the bracha are lehadlik to light, and it is prohibited to light candles on Shabbos, one may not recite the bracha in a time when one may not light.

To summarize: one may recite the bracha after lighting but only until sunset. [8]

If the candles went out after being lit but before the bracha, may she relight them?

The problem is that the woman accepts Shabbos as soon as she has finished lighting the candles and therefore if the candles became extinguished she may not relight them. In such a case she may ask another member of the household to relight them (provided of course that it is not yet Shabbos). [9] If however, the candles became extinguished before she managed to recite the bracha, HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztzl holds [10] that she herself may relight the candles and recite the bracha. Even though we normally say that she accepts the Shabbos with the lighting, in this case the acceptance is void because had she known that the candles would become extinguished she would not have accepted Shabbos. As such, she may relight the candles and recite the bracha.

If a gentile lit the candles for me after shkiah sunset, may I recite the bracha?

Obviously one must do everything to light Shabbos candles on time. However, if for some reason one was not able to light Shabbos candles, one may instruct a gentile to light the candles during bein hashmashsos twilight, as long as it is not yet night, but one may not recite a bracha.

The reason one is permitted to instruct the gentile is because one may instruct a gentile to do a melacha during bein hashmashos for the sake of a mitzvah. [11]

[1] Simon 263:11, and SSK 46:14.

[2] These halachos can be found in simon 263:12, 15 and SS:K 46:7, 15.

[3] Iggros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. III simon 38.

[4] Although Rav Moshe is referring to a case where the husband davens in a shul that accepts Shabbos early and not that he accepted Shabbos on his own, but it seems that it would have the same din.

[5] See also the SSK 46 footnote 42 and 68.

[6] Simon 158:11 and MB 44.

[7] The Biur Halacha mevarech says that there are times when one may recite the bracha after hamotzi as well.

[8] Based on the Biur Halacha in simon 263:5 .

[9] SSK 43:37.

[10] See SSK 43:37 and footnote 183.

[11] See MB simon 263:21, and SSK 43:14.


Food For Thought

Is one supposed to accept Shabbos before sunset?

If I accepted Shabbos before sunset, may I instruct a fellow Jew to perform a melacha?

What am I to do if I need to do a melacha and I have already accepted Shabbos?

If I accepted Shabbos and I then remembered that I have not yet davened mincha, what is the halacha?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The Midrash says that Hashem took a half coin of fire from beneath His Seat of Glory and showed it Moshe Rabeinu saying, this is what each person must give.

The Michtav Sofer explains that the reason Hashem took a coin of fire from beneath His Kiseh HaKavod was to demonstrate that a Jews soul has another half, and it is beneath Hashems Kiseh HaKavod. A Jew must try his best throughout his lifetime to complete the other half of the coin, match it and bring it to the same level as the one beneath Hashems Kiseh. This is a lifetimes work.

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.