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  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Candle Lighting

One who forgets candle lighting


Rabbi David Sperling

Cheshvan 23, 5774
Hello! I have two questions regarding one who forgets candle lighting: For a guy that has a chiyuv to light candles (one who lives by himself), if he forgets to light candles one week, does he have the same requirement to "add" a candle from that point on, in the same way that women do? And separately, for a single girl who forgot to light candles at some point and is currently lighting extra these extra candles stay with her after she gets married, or does she get a "clean slate" when she gets married? Thanks!
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The law you are referring to is found in the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Haim, 263,1 in the Rema. The question of whether there is a rabbinic punishment for a man who forgot to light Shabbat candles (as there is for a woman) is an interesting one. In the work Shmirat Shabbat KeHilchatah, (chapter 43, footnote 45) he raises this question, but does not reach a clear conclusion. In my opinion one should rule leniently on this question, as it is only a rabbinic law. This is especially true if there were electric lights on in the room so that the meal was not eaten in darkness, in which case there are opinions that hold even a woman who forgot to light would not have to add an extra candle. None the less it would be a good idea to donate some candles (or money for candles) to an organization that provides Shabbat candles for those who need them (see the Shaaray Tshuva ibid). Your second question asks about a single woman who forgot to light candles and is currently lighting an extra one – does she have to do so even after getting married? I was unable to find any mention of a leniency in this law just because someone got married. The law of candle lighting does not start anew after the wedding, but rather if she was obligated before the wedding (because she lives alone etc) she just continues lighting after the wedding. Based on this logic she would continue lighting the extra candle after her wedding. However perhaps you are referring to a single woman who lives with her parents who has the custom to light candles even though her mother lights at home. In such a case it is not clear at all that if the daughter forgot to light candles one week she needs to add an extra candle (see Piskay Tshuvot (new volume) 263 footnote 35). There is a debate about such a case amongst the rabbis. In short – if she got a ruling that she did in fact need to light an extra candle, she should continue to light an extra one after her wedding. [Though there is no law that obligates a woman to add an extra candle after her wedding – so if she is currently lighting two candles, one of which is her extra candle for forgetting to light one week, she may continue to light only two candles after her wedding. If though she is now lighting three candles, she should continue lighting all three after the wedding.] Blessings.
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