[Dedicated to the Memory of my beloved and dear father R' Moshe Elozor
Ben R' Shimshon Zimbal z"l]
A Candle Lighting for Women
B The Ner for the Healthy
C The Ner for the Deceased
D Ner Havdala of Yom Kippur
A. CANDLE LIGHTING FOR WOMEN
1. The minhag is to light candles on Erev Yom Kippur(1) and to say the
bracha(2) after the lighting just as we do on Erev Shabbos(3).
2. The bracha is 'Lehadlik Ner Shel Yom Hakippurim'(4). If she said
'Lehadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov' by mistake, she has nevertheless fulfilled
her obligation. Similarly, when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos, if she
mentions only Shabbos or Yom Kippur, she has also fulfilled the mitzva
and does not need to repeat the bracha(5).
3. The bracha 'Shehecheyanu' is said when lighting the candles(6).
Therefore a woman does not say Shehecheyanu in Shul during the
4. Upon lighting candles, a woman accepts Yom Tov (and Shabbos as the
case may be) and takes upon herself the dinim of Yom Kippur(8). Leather
shoes should be removed at this time(9).
5. On a regular Shabbos, in a case of great need, a woman can delay the
acceptance of Shabbos by stipulating this intention either verbally or
mentally before she lights candles(10). However on Yom Tov, once she
recites the blessing of Shehecheyanu, there is an explicit acceptance
of Kedushas Yom Tov(11). Any stipulation not to keep hilchos Yom Tov is
ineffective. She is forbidden to do any melachos after reciting this
6. Therefore a woman who must travel by car to Shul or who needs to do
any melacha should indicate her intention to not accept Yom Tov at the
time of candle lighting and she should not recite Shehecheyanu at
candle lighting. She should wait and recite it in Shul with the
7. One must derive benefit from the candles(14). On Yom Kippur, this
can be achieved by sitting near the candles and enjoying the
illumination that they provide(15).
8. When everyone in the household goes to Shul for Kol Nidrei
immediately after candle lighting, and no one benefits from the light,
one should employ large candles or use sufficient oil, so that the
candles will still be alight when the occupants return(16).
9. There is a difference in minhagim concerning having light in the
bedroom of the husband and wife(17). The common custom is to leave
some light(18). For this purpose one can use the ner for the healthy
or the Ner Neshama(19), (see below) or one can leave the door open such
that the outside light shines into the room(20).
B. THE NER FOR THE HEALTHY
1. There is a custom for every married man to light a ner(21) which
will last until the end of Yom Kippur(22), which is called the ner for
2. Non married men(24), children(25), and women(26), do not have this
minhag even if they live alone(27).
3. No blessing is said over this candle(28).
4. There is a difference in minhagim as to what to do with this ner.
Some bring it to Shul and some keep it at home(29).
C. THE NER FOR THE DECEASED
1. It is the custom to light a candle for deceased parents on Erev Yom
Kippur(30), and it should burn until the end of Yom Kippur(31). This
ner is called a Ner Neshama(32).
2. One candle is sufficient for both parents(33).
3. Women also have the custom of lighting a Ner Neshama(34). If both
husband and wife have lost parents, they each light a Ner Neshama(35).
4. Single people and even children should follow this minhag if their
parent(s) have passed away(36).
5. No blessing is said over this candle(37). Before lighting it, one
should say: "I am lighting this candle in honour of Yom Kippur for the
elevation of the soul of my father/mother"(38).
6. There is a difference in minhagim as to what to do with this ner.
Some bring it to Shul and some keep it at home(39).
D. NER HAVDALA OF YOM KIPPUR.
1. The reason for making a bracha on fire in the Havdala of Shabbos is
to remember that fire was discovered on Motzaei Shabbos. Adam rubbed
two stones together to produce the first fire(40).
2. We include a ner in the Havdala of Yom Kippur for a different
reason. Yom Kippur is unlike other Yomim Tovim in that we are not
allowed to make use of fire on this day. We indicate the special
Kedusha of Yom Kippur by taking pleasure from a candle that remained
alight but which we were unable to use throughout the entire day(41).
3. The different foundations for the Shabbos and Yom Kippur Havdala
candles have halachic ramifications. The Ner Havdala of Yom Kippur
comes to specifically stress the separation of the holy (Yom Kippur)
from the everyday. When we take a fire which one was forbidden to use
on Yom Kippur and actually use it, we are indicating in a tangible way
that Yom Kippur has ended. Thus the blessing we make on this fire is a
true havdala (separation). One must therefore exert himself to obtain a
proper fire(42). By contrast, the Ner Havdala of Shabbos is a
remembrance of the first fire. Therefore one is not obligated to exert
himself to obtain a candle if none is readily available(43).
4. The Ner Havdala of Yom Kippur differs from the one of Shabbos in
having the unique requirement that it must have been burning throughout
Yom Kippur. This is called ner sheshavas, a flame that existed during
the day but which rested from use. It is only at the conclusion of Yom
Kippur that one uses it. A newly created fire made by striking a match
after the close of Yom Kippur cannot be used(44). Also a candle lit
from this match should not be used as the Ner Havdala(45).
5. Fire taken from a ner sheshavas can also be used as the ner
sheshavas(46). Some poskim say that it is preferable to use the
original candle that was burning during the day rather than a new
candle lit from it.(47).
6. When Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos, one can use a newly created fire.
However, the minhag is to use a ner sheshavas(48).
7.For Shabbos the ner sheshavas mentioned above is not required, one
could strike a match to light the Havdala candle. Nevertheless there is
another type of ner that cannot be used for Havdala for Shabbos, a fire
which was lit during the day under forbidden circumstances by a Jew or
non Jew. This prerequisite is called ner sheshavas mimelachas issur, a
light that rested from prohibited actions. This includes a light,
which was kindled on Shabbos by a non-Jew for his own use in his
house.(49). This rule applies to Yom Kippur as well(50).
8. The Ner Havdala must be lit solely for the purpose of providing
light and not for any other reason(51). The Ner for the healthy and the
Ner Neshama are not suitable in this respect because they are lit for
purposes other than illumination(52). Therefore, the Poskim recommend
that a person should light a special candle on Erev Yom Kippur. This
candle should last the whole of Yom Kippur and it is set aside with the
sole intention of making Havdala over it at the end of the day(53).
9. Nevertheless, if one did not light a special ner for Havdala, but
has fire burning since before Yom Kippur from the ner for the healthy
or the ner for the deceased, one can light the Havdala candle from it
and say the bracha over that Havdala candle(54). It is also
permissible to light the Havdala candle from a gas flame that has been
burning since before Yom Kippur or from a gas flame ignited by a pilot
light that has been burning the whole day(55).
10. However it is better (for the person who did not leave a special
ner for Havdala) to combine the fire that was burning throughout Yom
Kippur with a new ner lit specifically for the purpose of Havdala, and
then recite the blessing over the flame of both candles together(56).
11. The preferable candle for Havdala is one that is multi-wicked(57),
or two single wicked candles held together to form one large flame(58).
12. Practically speaking, there are two ways to do this mitzva:
(a) The ideal procedure is to light a special candle on Erev Yom Kippur
to use for Havdala. This candle must burn throughout the day (D8). One
uses this original ner sheshavas (second opinion in D5) to light
another candle and then combines the two flames to form one large flame
(D11) and recites the bracha over this flame(59).
(b) The minhag of many is to light a ner which burns for the whole of
Yom Kippur (Sheshavas), even the ner for the deceased or the healthy
(D9). One then lights a regular multi-wicked Havdala candle from this
ner sheshavas (first opinion in D5) and recites the bracha over just
the multi-wicked candle(60).
1. Orach Chaim (O.C.) 610:1. The word minhag is used here because there
are places that have the custom not to light candles on Yom Kippur.
See Mishna Berura (M.B.) 610:3 which states that the minhag of lighting
is the stronger of the two. Therefore a place that does not have an
established custom should light. If Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos then
there is an obligation to light.
2. O.C. 610:2. Even though it is not so simple since it is dependent
upon a minhag, perhaps Chazal did not institute a bracha (see Sha'ar
HaTzion 610:5). Nevertheless it is the accepted practice to make a
bracha when lighting.
3. Mateh Ephraim 610:2; Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchesa 44:13.
4. M.B. 610:7.
5. See Piskei Teshuvos 610:1 in the name of Teshuvos Maharm Brisk 2:44.
Also Debritziner Rav zt'l as quoted in Radiance of Shabbos p.152.
6. Mateh Ephraim 619:4.
7. Sha'arHaTzion 619:7 in the name of the Mateh Ephraim.
8. Mateh Ephraim 609:5.
9. Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchesa 44:14. By contrast, the Mateh Ephraim,
ibid, rules that she could wear leather shoes to shul and he also
explains in the Eleph L'Mateh 609:4, that this is permissible even
without making a condition because one's normal intention is to wear
shoes to shul. However, HaGaon Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt'l says
that this ruling is difficult to understand. See Shemiras Shabbos
K'hilchesa, ibid note 46. It also appears to the author that since
today most people wear non-leather footwear and do not walk barefoot on
Yom Kippur, the normal intention is to wear non-leather footwear to
shul. Therefore one should change before lighting candles.
10. Rema 263:10 with M.B. 263:44.
11. M.B. 619:4.
12. Kaf Hachaim 514:112, Tzitz Eliezer vol.10, 19:5; Shemiras Shabbos
K'hilchesa 43:23. In note 132, he explains that one can stipulate not
to accept Tosafos Shabbos, extending Shabbos. However, when reciting
Shehechiyanu, one accepts the sanctity of Yom Tov and this cannot be
delayed by imposing a condition.
13. Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchesa 44:14; Radiance of Shabbos p. 153.
14. O.C. 263:9 and M.B. 263:41.
15. Radiance of Shabbos p. 153,quoting HaGaon Rabbi C.P.Scheinberg
16. Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchesa 44:15. If one does not use longer
candles then the bracha that was recited is a bracha l'vatala, in vain,
as stated in O.C. 263:9. In regard to deriving benefit before
nightfall, see M.B. 263:40-41 and Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchesa ch. 43
17. Pesachim 53b; O.C. 610:1. See M.B. 610:1 who explains the reasons
for both minhagim. Each custom is in both places, on the table and in
the bedroom, M.B. 610:2. However the Aruch Hashulchan 610:4 explains
the difference in minhag is only in regard to the light in the bedroom.
18. The Rema 610:1 writes that if one has a light on in the house, then
they must light also in the bedroom, even in a place where the minhag
is not to light, M.B. 610:4, Shaar HaTzion 610:4. It follows then,
that today when we have electric lights throughout the house, one
should be obligated to light in the bedroom. This is also the ruling
of the Nitei Gavriel, Yomim Noraim 40:10 and Yom Hakippurim 25:1.
19. Mikraei Kodesh, authored by Rabbi Moshe Harari, Hilchos Yom
Hakippurim 2:90 in the name of HaGaon Rabbi A. Nebentzal. There is no
concern of fulfilling many mitzvos with one item. Oseh Mitzvos
20. Ibid, 2:75; Nitei Gavriel Yomim Noraim ch.40 note 16
21. Rema 610:4 and M.B. 610:11. Many reasons are given for this minhag
from both the revealed areas of the Torah and Kabbala. The Mateh
Ephraim in Eleph Hamagen 603:14 brings two reasons.
[A.] In commemoration of the Torah, since Moshe descended from
Har Sinai with the second pair of Luchos, tablets, on Yom Kippur and
the Torah is referred to as a candle as it is written "For a mitzva is
a candle and Torah is light" (Mishlei 6:23.)
[B.] For a remez, sign, of Kapara, this ner should atone for
one's neshama which is also called a ner as it is written, "A man's
soul is the candle of Hashem", ibid 20:27.
The Beis Yosef, 610, explains that a candle is kindled so that one will
have a ner sheshavas, and be able to recite Havdala after Yom Kippur.
see section D8 with footnote 52 below.
22. Mateh Ephraim 603:8. (Most people use a 'yahrzeit lamp', which
burns 24 or 48 hours.)
23. Ibid. (Dos gezunteh licht).
24. M.B. 610:11 and Mateh Ephraim ibid both write that presently only
married men light. However, the Chayei Adam and the Kitzur Shulchan
Aruch use the term the ba'al habayis, head of the household, implying
that if one lives by himself he is also included in this custom.
Furthermore, the reason to light appears to apply to them as well.
26. M.B. 610:10. See Magen Avraham 610:3 for the reason of this
27. Mateh Ephraim, ibid. He also writes that a woman who desires is
permitted to light this candle.
28. See M.B. 610:8 which states that if a candle is not lit for shalom
bayis, harmony in the home, a bracha is not recited.
29. Mateh Ephraim 603:8 see Eleph Hamagen 603:18, M.B. 610:14 in the
name of the Chayei Adam, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 131:7.
30. Rema 610:4. The M.B. 610:12 explains that it is a kappara for
them, for the departed also require atonement. It is written that the
proper name of Yom Kippur is Yom HaKippurim, Day of Atonements. The
plural is used because the day atones for both the living and the
31. Mateh Ephraim 603:8 (most people use a yahrtzeit lamp which burns
24 or 48 hours.).
33. M.B. 610:12, Mateh Ephraim ibid.
34. Mateh Ephraim ibid.
35. The Nitei Gavriel, Yom Hakippurim ch.21 note 5 is unsure about this
halacha. He concludes that it can be assumed that one lamp is required
for the husband's parent(s) and another one for the wife's parent(s).
36. Nitei Gavriel Yom Hakippurim 21:4. This halacha is obvious since
the purpose is to atone for the parents.
37. See note 28 above.
38. Kaf Hachaim 610:27.
39. Mateh Ephraim 603:8, with Eleph Hamagen 603:18, M.B. 610:14, Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch 131:7.
40. Pesachim 54a; M.B. 298:1; 624:7.
41. Tur 624, based on above Gemara; M.B. ibid.
42. O.C. 298: 1: M.B. ibid. See Sha'ar HaTzion 298:2 and Mateh Ephraim
624:8. See the next halacha for the requirements of the havdala candle
after Yom Kippur. If one does not have such a light in his house, they
should go to a neighbour that does. The Teshuvos V'hanhagos 2:302
writes that if a proper ner is not easily accessible, one could first
make havdala without a candle and break the fast and then seek a candle
to recite the bracha on. One should not obtain a candle from a non-
Jew, (see below law 7).
There is a dispute concerning whether a bracha can be recited over an
electric globe. Even those who are lenient only permit this in case of
need and only a non-fluorescent and unfrosted globe may be used. See
Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchesa 61:32 with note 105, Tzitz Eliezer vol.1,
20:13, Be'er Moshe 6:61, 66: Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 2:302. Radiance of
Shabbos p.137 writes that HaGaon R' Moshe Feinstein forbids using an
43. O.C. 298:1.
44. O.C. 624:4 with M.B. 624:7, O.C. 298:8 with M.B. 298:26.
45. There is an opinion in O.C. 624:4 that one can recite a bracha on a
newly lit candle if it is not the original source of fire. The Levushei
S'rad, explains that since the fire is not being newly created, a
bracha may be recited. The halacha though does not follow this
opinion, see M.B., there 624:10 and Biur Halacha, s.v. V'Yeish Omrim.
The Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchosa ch.64 note 73 writes that if one
mistakenly recited the bracha on this candle, one would not recite
another bracha on a proper candle. This is in accordance with the
maxim 'Safeik brachos l'hakeil' when in doubt, a bracha is not recited,
for the Biur Halacha brings opinions that in a case of difficulty one
can rely on this view. In an actual situation of need, the Aruch
HaShulchan 624:6 and the Chayei Adam 145:40 both write that one can
rely on this view, however the M.B. writes that a bracha should not be
recited. If Yom Kippur falls on a Shabbos then one can be lenient.
See M.B. 624:7 and Sha'ar Hatzion 624:11. See also law 6 below.
46. O.C. 624:5, see Sha'ar Hatzion 298:26. From the Aruch HaShulchan
624:4 and Mateh Ephraim 624:8, it appears that there is no advantage in
using the actual light that was shavas in preference to one that was
kindled from it. This is also the view of the Eshel Avraham
47. M.B. 624: 12, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 624:8.
48. See M.B. 624:7 and Sha'ar HaTzion 624:9.
49. O.C. 298:5. See there concerning when it was lit for someone who is
ill. See Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchesa 62:32 for two meanings of "ner
50. Concerning Yom Kippur this halacha is discussed in O.C. 624:5. See
Pri Megadim, Mishbetzotz Zahav 298:4who rules that we cannot borrow an
existing light from a non-Jew because we can assume that it was kindled
on Shabbos or Yom Kippur.
51. O.C. 298:7-8 concerning Shabbos; Rema 624:5 with M.B. 624:12 in
regard to Yom Kippur. It can be argued that only on Shabbos is a candle
kindled for the purpose of providing light and this is not required for
Yom Kippur. However, the Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchesa ch. 62 note 78
explains that when the Chachamim instituted this halacha, they did not
distinguish between them and therefore whatever is necessary for
Shabbos is required for Yom Kippur as well (lo plug), see there.
52. Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchesa 62:33 and note 79. See also Piskei
Teshuvos 624:2. (However according to the Beis Yosef 610, the purpose
for kindling the ner for the healthy is to have a candle for havdala
after Yom Kippur, see above footnote 21. According to him it should be
permissible to use this ner.)
53. M.B. 624:13 quoting Derech HaChaim .
54. Rema 624:5.Concerning the lamp in Shul , see M.B. 624:12. The new
light was kindled specifically for illumination and since its source is
a ner sheshavas, it attains the status of a ner sheshavas.
55. Biur Halacha 624:5 s.v.V'yeish omrim she'ein l'havdil. See Igros
Moshe O.C. 4:122.
56. Rema 624:5 with M.B. 624:13, concerning candles lit in Shul. The
Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchesa 62:34 writes that the same applies at home
to a Yahrzeit lamp and the ner for the healthy. The reason to use both
lights is that each one rectifies the deficiency of the other. The
candle that was lit before Yom Kippur has the benefit that it is an
actual ner sheshavas as opposed to the candle lit from this one. And
the candle recently kindled has the benefit that it was lit to
illuminate while the ner sheshavas was only kindled in honour of Yom
57. O.C. 298:2. The purpose is to make a torch (avuka)
58. M.B. 298:8. This is also relevant on Yom Kippur as the Kaf Hachaim
298:11 writes in the name of the Kol Bo, because the bracha recited is
Me'orei Ha'eish, which is plural. Hence a torch is required to appear
as many flames. The Eshel Avraham (MiBotchatch) 624 also brings this
halacha in regard to Yom Kippur. See also Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchesa
62:84. Some, suggest that a torch might not be required for Yom Kippur.
See ibid note 85, and Piskei Teshuvos 624 note 26.
59. Heard from current day Poskim, also mentioned in Nitei Gavriel Yom
Hakippurim 67:21 and Piskei Teshuvos 624 note 26. I would recommend
that a 48-hour candle be used because a regular 24-hour candle has
burnt so low by the end of Yom Kippur that it is almost impossible to
put together with another candle.
60. See Eshel Avraham (MiBotchatch) 624 who writes that this is the
practice of most people and it is the accepted halacha to permit
lighting a havdala candle from a light in the house. He seems to be
discussing a yahrtzeit lamp or the ner of the healthy and one could
recite the bracha even without combining the havdala candle with the
ner sheshavas. Igros Moshe O.C. 4:122 writes the same in regard to a
'pilot light', see Piskei Teshuvos 624 (vol. 6. P. 304). It is not
clear why they ignored the Rema's ruling that it is proper to recite
bracha over both together. Perhaps it is because it is difficult
physically as was mentioned in the previous footnote. However when
possible, it is definitely preferable to combine the two candles.