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 Bechukosai

May women recite the b’racha for the havdala candle?

We learned in the previous shiur that women are obliged to hear havdala. [1] L’chatchila women should hear havdala recited from a man and not recite havdala themselves, but if that is not feasible they may recite havdala. [2]

The Magen Avraham says that women may recite the b’racha over the wine and spices, because they are birchos hanehenin b’rachos recited before partaking of an item. [3] He omitted the b’racha recited over the fire – boreh me’orei ha’eish, because it is not a birkas hanehenin, rather praise to Hashem for endowing Adam Harishon with wisdom to bring forth fire from stones. [4]

As a result it is doubtful whether women may recite the b’racha for fire and they should avoid reciting it as part of havdala. [5] Some poskim say that she may however recite it after consuming the wine. [6]

What may one eat or drink before havdala?

Eating and drinking is forbidden save for water, which may be consumed before havdala. [7] Women are included in this prohibition. [8]

From when is one prohibited?

From sunset (sh’kiah) onwards it is better not to consume food or drink until one has recited havdala over wine or grape juice. Even though havdala was recited in the sh’mone esre, one is still prohibited from drinking or eating anything except water.

This means that if one began drinking or eating before sh’kiah one must desist after sh’kiah unless eating bread. [9] It is doubtful whether cake and other grain products may continue to be consumed after sh’kiah. [10]

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

If one omitted havdala in sh’mone esre it is not necessary to repeat sh’mone esre because havdala is to be recited over wine. [11] However, if one omitted havdala in the sh’mone esre and ate or drank beverages (other than water) before havdala over wine, one is required to repeat sh’mone esre. This is a halachic penalty for omitting havdala.

Note that having forgotten to recite havdala in sh’mone esre one may not perform melacha until reciting havdala over wine or saying “baruch hamvdil bein kodesh l’chol”. [12]

If a member of the household missed the boreh pri hagefen, is the havdala valid?

If a person enters the house after the b’racha of the wine has been recited, or the b’racha for spices or fire for that matter, he/she may continue to listen to the b’racha of havdala (hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol…). It is not necessary to recite one’s own havdala. However, if one wishes to partake of the wine, a boreh pri hagefen must be recited. One should still recite the b’rachos over the spices and fire.

Consequently the pesukim recited before havdala are not required in order to perform the mitzvah of havdala.

May one talk after the b’racha?

The person reciting the havdala must not talk before having drunk a cheek-full of wine. The halachos are quite complicated if one spoke and therefore care should preferably be taken not to. People listening to the havdala, such as family members and guests, must not talk before a cheek-full of wine has been consumed and therefore they should not wish each other a gut voch or shavua tov before the wine has been consumed. If they did speak they need not repeat the havdala. [13]

Why do people extinguish the candle with the havdala wine?

The reason for this custom is to show that the candle was lit for the mitzvah of havdala in order to recite the b’racha [14] and is therefore extinguished after the b’racha. If one recited the b’racha over a candle in use one need not extinguish it.

The reason wine is spilled is to live up to the dictum “spilled wine is a sign of a b’racha”.  Some have the custom of over-filling the cup of wine and using that wine to extinguish the candle, while others pour from the cup after having drunk from the wine. [15] One should not pour the cup after the b’racha before having drunk because it may appear as if the cup contained something unpleasant during the b’racha. [16]

[1] Simon 296:8.

[2] See previous shiur.

[3] Cited in Bi’ur Halacha simon 296:8 ă"ä ěŕ.

[4] The Bi’ur Halacha says that if it was a birkas hanehenin one would be obliged to recite it whenever one saw fire.

[5] Based on Bi’ur Halacha ibid.

[6] SS”K 61:24 and footnote 69.

[7] Simon 299:1.

[8] SS”K 59 footnote 33.

[9] SS”K 59:14.

[10] SS”K 59 footnote 47.

[11] Simon 294:1.

[12] M”B simon 294:3. See the previous sheet with regards to melacha before baruch hamavdil.

[13] SS”K 60:39. See also 48:1-7.

[14] Shulchan Aruch HaRav simon 296:5.

[15] See the SS”K 60 footnote 150.

[16] Shulchan Aruch HaRav ibid.


Food For Thought

What is the reason for folding the tallis straight after Shabbos?

What is the reason for melaveh malka?

When should one eat melaveh malka?

What should be eaten at this meal?

Answers coming be"H next week.

Vort on the Parsha

The possuk says do not behave towards me as if everything is fate (26:21). Rabeinu Bachyei teaches us proper behavior, as follows. When one’s matters prosper and are successful, one must attribute the success to its correct source – Hashem yisborach – and not think that it stems from one’s genius. If chas veshalom one’s matters are not successful, one must attribute it to one’s sins and wrongdoings and not to luck or chance.

If one neglects doing so and attributes everything to a chance happening– keri, Hashem will add to that person’s suffering more of the same, as the possuk continues – if you attribute everything to ‘fate’ I will give you more ‘fate’.

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.