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 Behar

May one perform melacha before reciting havdala?

The Mechaber says [1] that one may not perform any melacha before reciting havdala and poskim add [2] that this includes rabbinical prohibitions. This means that even though Shabbos is out and it is dark, one may not perform melacha before havdala.

But many drive or turn on lights before havdala?

Good point. Havdala does not necessarily mean the regular havdala made over wine after ma’ariv. [3] There are three forms of Havdala. 1) Havdala recited during the sh’moneh esreh of ma’ariv, the special verse inserted in “ata chonen”. 2) Saying the words “baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol”. 3) Havdala recited over wine.

The Rama says [4] that women (or anyone for that matter) who do not daven ma’ariv should be taught to say baruch hamavdil…before performing melacha after Shabbos.

However, the correct procedure is to recite havdala in the sh’moneh esreh and recite havdala over wine.

May one perform any melacha after reciting baruch hamavdil?

Custom is the affirmative, however, the Sha’ar Hatsiun writes [5] that even after reciting havdala in sh’moneh esreh one should not perform arduous melacha until havdala is recited over wine. This means that one may turn on lights, drive and perform simple melachos after saying “baruch hamavdil…” but one should not engage in melachos such as cooking, kindling a fire in a fireplace etc.

How can baruch hamavdil apply for certain melachos and not for others?

Havdala is recited after Shabbos in order to differentiate (le-havdil) between Shabbos and weekday activities and Chazal enacted a certain b’racha with which this is to be accomplished. They taught us that although one may perform basic, simple melachos after reciting the minimum havdala such as baruch hamavdil, one may not behave as a weekday until the correct and full havdala is recited. In other words, Chazal told us how to perform at each stage.

Is the mitzvah of havdala a biblical one or rabbinic?

The Rambam (29:1) and several other Rishonim maintain that the mitzvos of kiddush and havdala are biblical. Several other Rishonim taught that it is a rabbinical requirement. [6] After reciting havdala during sh’moneh esreh, the havdala recited over wine is purely d’rabanan according to all opinions. [7]

Are women required to hear havdala?

The Shulchan Aruch [8] cites two opinions as to whether women are required to hear havdala. The majority opinion is that women are required to hear havdala. [9]

May women recite havdala for themselves?

As there are opinions that hold that women are not required to recite havdala, it is preferred that women hear havdala recited from a man (a neighbor etc.). However, if a woman is not able to hear from a man she should recite havdala on her own and drink the wine or grape juice in the regular fashion. [10] If the men have already recited havdala, they should not recite havdala specifically for women (unless male children are present who have not heard havdala) because women are able and capable in reciting havdala themselves. [11] However, if she cannot recite it, a man may recite for her even though he has already made havdala.

If one omitted retze on Shabbos from bentching must one repeat the bentching?

We differentiate between the first two meals and seudah sh’lishis. If it was omitted from the bentching in the first two Shabbos meals, one must repeat the bentching and if omitted from bentching of seudah sh’lishis one need not repeat the bentching.

However, it also depends on where in bentching one remembered that it was omitted. If one began “uvnei Yerushalayim”, one should revert to retze and begin again uvnei Yerushalayim. If one has already said boruch atoh Hashem, one should add “lamdeini chukecho, revert to retze and begin uvnei Yerushalayim. If one has already said boruch atoh Hashem boneh…, one concludes the b’racha and inserts a special b’racha that can be found in some siddurim and bentchers. If one already began the next b’racha, if said Hashem, one should add lamdeini chukecho, insert the special b’racha and commence with the 4th b’racha. If one has said “hakeil avinu”, for the first two meals, as stated, one must repeat the bentching. [12]

[1] Simon 299:10.

[2] See M”B simon 299:32.

[3] See the referred Mechaber.

[4] Simon 299:10.

[5] Simon 299:51.

[6] See the Sha’ar Hatsiun simon 296:1.

[7] M”B simon 296:1.

[8] Simon 266:8.

[9] See the SS”K 58 footnote 62 citing the Shulchan Aruch HaRav. Also, the Mechaber writes the requiring opinion as s’tam.

[10] Based on M”B simon 296:35.

[11] M”B simon 296:36.

[12] Based on the SS”K 57:1-7 who cites the Chayei Adam. There are many who argue and say that if one began “baruch “ of the 4th b’racha one must repeat the bentching, it seems that the halacha is as stated above.


Food For Thought

May women recite the b’racha for the candle?

What may one eat or drink before havdala?

May one eat after havdala in sh’moneh esreh before havdala on wine?

Must one repeat sh’moneh esreh if havdala was omitted?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The torah juxtaposed the mitzvah of sh’mitah and the mitzvah of price gouging. During the sh’mitah one is prohibited from working one’s land and one learns that sustenance is in the hand of Hashem. Hashem promised that one’s livelihood will not be affected by adhering to the laws of sh’mita and the produce of the year proceeding sh’mita will sustain everyone during the year that plowing and reaping is prohibited.

Subsequently one will not feel it necessary to raise prices beyond a certain limit and strive to make money unjustly. Sustenance is from Heaven and unlawful acts will not enrich anyone. (Ta’am Veda’as – Rav Sternbuch).

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.