Shabbat Candles

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  1. There’s an obligation upon every household to have a candle lit for Shabbat. [1]

Women and candle lighting

  1. The obligation is greater upon women in the house than the men. [2] If the man and woman both want to lit, the preference is given to the women. [3]
  2. However, the obligation of setting up the wicks and oil should be done by the men of the house. [4]
  3. The minhag is that a women the Shabbat after she gave birth lights candles with a Bracha. [5]
  4. A women who is going into surgery and knows she won’t be conscience until after the Shabbat candles brunt out should light Shabbat candles with a Bracha. [6]

What should be used for candles?

  1. Even though all oil that is drawn after wick is kosher for Shabbat candles, it’s preferable to use olive oil. [7]
  2. If one can’t get olive oil, one should use wax [8] or paraffin candles. [9]
  3. If one can’t get oil or wax candles at all one should turn on the electric lights with a Bracha. [10]

How many candles?

  1. The minimum requirement is to have one candle. [11] However, the minhag is to have two candles. [12]
  2. Some have the minhag to have 7 candles and some have the mninhag to have 10 candles. [13]

The order of candle lighting

  1. The practice is the women says a prayer for her children grow to become Torah scholars. [14]
  2. The Ashkenzi practice is to say the Bracha of Hadlakat Nerot after lighting the candles. [15] However, even though many Sephardim also practice to make the Bracha after the lighting, the Halacha is that to avoid a possible Bracha Levatala one should make the bracha prior to lighting. [16]


  1. Rambam (Shabbat 5:1) and S”A 263:2 rule that there’s an obligation to have a candle lit in the house for Shabbat.
  2. Rashi (Shabbat 32a D”H Hareni) writes in name of Beresheet Rabba that women are more obligated in lighting candles since they were involved in the sin of extinguishing the light of the world in the sin of Etz HaDaat. Rashi gives a second reason that the women are more obligated in this mitzvah is because they deal with the needs of the house. The S”A 263:3 and Rambam only gives that second reason of Rashi. This reason is brought by Mishna Brurah 263:12.
  3. S”A 263:3 brings this reasons and rules that the woman of the house is more obligated and so, if the man wants to lit, the women can prevent him.
  4. Shaar HaKavanot 61d, Magan Avraham 263:7, Mishna Brurah 263:12
  5. Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 15:32:7 writes that minhag is that a women who gave birth to light Shabbat candles with a Bracha.
  6. Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 15:32:6 writes that this case would be the same as a blind person who is allowed to light candles because the blind get benefit in that others will be able to see and help the blind.
  7. S”A 264:6
  8. S”A 264:7
  9. Menuchat Ahava (vol 1 4:3) writes that the electric candles aren’t worse than wax candles.
  10. Sh”t Yechave Daat 5:24
  11. implied for the language of Rambam (Shabbat 5:1) and S”A 263:2.
  12. S”A 263:1 rules that one should have two candles, one for Shamor and one for Zachor.
  13. Magan Avraham 263:2 in name of the Shlah
  14. The practice to pray for children that will be Torah scholars is based on the Gemara Shabbat 23b that says in reward for keeping Shabbat candles, one get children who lighten the world with their Torah. The Magan Avraham 263:11 in name of Rabbenu BeChay says that it is proper for a person to pray for children that will be Torah scholars when lighting the Shabbat candles. This brought as Halacha in Kaf HaChaim 263:1 and Menuchat Ahava (vol 1 4:3).
  15. Rama 263:5
  16. Sh”T Yechava Daat 2:33, Sh”t Yabe Omer 2 O”C 16, Menuchat Ahava (Vol 1, 4:5)