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Procedure for Holiday Candle-Lighting

Procedure for Holiday Candle-Lighting

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Candles are kindled on most Jewish holidays of Biblical origin. They are: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Passover (first and last days), and Shavuot. (Holiday candles are not lit on Chanukah or Purim.)

Holiday candle lighting follows a procedure similar to that of the Shabbat candle lighting.1

The basic difference between the two is that while it is forbidden to create a flame on a holiday, it is permitted to light a candle using a pre-existing flame, such as another candle that was kindled before the holiday, a gas range which has been left on, or a pilot flame.2

The following are the basic laws and customs which are unique to holiday candle lighting:

Outside of Israel, most holidays are two-day affairs.

On the first night of a holiday: Ideally the candles should be lit – just as on every Friday afternoon – eighteen minutes before sunset.3 However, the candles can be lit anytime before the holiday meal.4 If the candles are lit after sunset, they should be lit from a pre-existing flame. Exceptions: a) If the first night of the holiday is Friday night, the candles must be kindled before sunset. b) If the first night of the holiday is Saturday night, the candles must be kindled after nightfall (from a pre-existing flame).

On the second night of a holiday: The candles should be lit, from a pre-existing flame, after nightfall.5 (Additionally, all preparations for the candle lighting, such as arranging the candlesticks and candles, may not start before nightfall.6) If the second night of the holiday is Friday night, the candles must be kindled before sunset, also from a pre-existing flame.

Whenever a holiday night falls out on Saturday night, before lighting the holiday candles one says7:

Ba-rooch ha-mav-deel bein ko-desh le-ko-desh

"Blessed be He who separates between [the] holiness [of Shabbat] and [the] holiness [of the holiday]."8

The blessing for holiday candle-lighting varies depending on the holiday.

After reciting the holiday candle-lighting blessing, the Shehecheyanu blessing is recited, thanking G‑d for giving us the life and strength to reach this special day.

The Shehecheyanu blessing is not recited when lighting the candles on the last days of Passover. On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, the kindler should wear a new garment or have a new seasonal fruit on the table while lighting the candles, and have it in mind when reciting the Shehecheyanu blessing.9

During the holiday of Sukkot, the candles should be lit in the sukkah, and should remain there throughout the meal. If it is windy outside, and there is concern that the candles might be extinguished, the candles should be placed in a window or doorway, visible to those sitting in the sukkah.10


Blessings for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah:

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-sov ve-tzi-vo-nu le-had-lik ner shel Yom Ha-zi-karon.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Day of Remembrance.

The Shehecheyonu blessing:

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom she-he-che-ya-nu vi-kee-yi-ma-nu vi-hi-gee-an-u liz-man ha-zeh.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and let us reach this time.

The blessings when Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-sov ve-tzi-vo-nu le-had-lik ner shel Sha-bos v'shel Yom Ha-zi-karon.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Sabbath and of the Day of Remembrance.

The Shehecheyonu blessing:

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom she-he-che-ya-nu vi-kee-yi-ma-nu vi-hi-gee-an-u liz-man ha-zeh.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and let us reach this time.


Blessings for Yom Kippur:

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-sov ve-tzi-vo-nu le-had-lik ner shel Yom Ha-kipurim.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Day of Atonement.

The Shehecheyonu blessing:

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom she-he-che-ya-nu vi-kee-yi-ma-nu vi-hi-gee-an-u liz-man ha-zeh.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and let us reach this time.

The blessings when Yom Kippur that Falls on Shabbat

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-sov ve-tzi-vo-nu le-had-lik ner shel Sha-bos v'shel Yom Ha-kipurim.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Sabbath and of the Day of Atonement.

The Shehecheyonu blessing:

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom she-he-che-ya-nu vi-kee-yi-ma-nu vi-hi-gee-an-u liz-man ha-zeh.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and let us reach this time.


Blessings for the Festivals (Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot)

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-sov ve-tzi-vo-nu le-had-lik ner shel Yom Tov.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Festival Day.

The Shehecheyonu blessing:

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom she-he-che-ya-nu vi-kee-yi-ma-nu vi-hi-gee-an-u liz-man ha-zeh.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and let us reach this time.

The blessing when any Festival Falls out on Shabbat

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-sov ve-tzi-vo-nu le-had-lik ner shel Sha-bos v'shel Yom Tov.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Sabbath and the Festival Day.

The Shehecheyonu blessing:

Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom she-he-che-ya-nu vi-kee-yi-ma-nu vi-hi-gee-an-u liz-man ha-zeh.

Translation: Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and let us reach this time.

FOOTNOTES
1.

Ibid., 514:24.

2.

Ibid., 520:1.

3.

Ruling of Rabbi Zalman Shimon Dworkin, of blessed memory (see Mateh Efraim 625:33).

4.

Responsa Rivavot Efraim vol. 1 siman 182.

5.

Mishnah Berurah 514:35.

6.

Ibid.

7.

Unless the woman already recited the evening prayers, including the Va'todee'einu prayer.

8.

Mateh Efraim 599:10.

9.

The two days of Rosh Hashanah are considered in Jewish tradition as "one long day." Therefore there is doubt whether the Shehecheyanu blessing – recited on "new" occasions – is recited on the second night. Since the new garment or fruit is sufficient reason to recite the Shehecheyanu, we thus avoid any doubt regarding the appropriateness of the blessing. If no new garment or fruit is available, the Shehecheyanu is still recited (Mateh Efraim, ibid. 9).

10.

Mateh Efraim 625:33.

By Chabad.org Staff
This article is compiled from various sources, including from Candle Lighting For Shabbos and YomTov by Nissan Dovid Dubov (Kehot).
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Discussion (42)
November 8, 2014
I recall my family lighting all the candles on the 1st night of Passover, decreasing the number by one each night, and then again lighting all of them on the final night. Does anyone have an idea about how that tradition came into being? My family was from Berlin and were "enlightened," or "Progressive" Jews.
Tom Lewin
October 19, 2014
To Anonymous
There is no bracha for that. Mazel tov!
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
October 19, 2014
wedding candle lighting
is there a barucha for lighting a candle at a wedding
Anonymous
September 28, 2014
To Anonymous
Ideally until at least the kiddush is recited. Please note that flames cannot be extinguished on the holiday and Shabbat.
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
September 24, 2014
How long should the candles be lit?
Anonymous
September 12, 2013
Re Yahrtzeit Candles
While there is no official blessing, there are those who say the following words while lighting the candle:

"I light this candle to bring peace to the soul of ________ (insert Jewish name) ben/bat (son of/daughter of) ________ (insert father's Jewish name)."
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
September 11, 2013
Yaretzit prayer
Is there a brucha that should be said when lighting a yaretzit candle
Anonymous
Warren, NJ
August 22, 2013
To Anonymous
It is appropriate for a married Jewish woman to cover her hair when reciting a blessing. More on hair covering here.
Mrs. Chana Benjaminson
mychabad.org
August 22, 2013
candle lighting
when lighting candles, should a woman's head be covered?
Anonymous
Natick, ma
chabadnatick.com
February 26, 2013
To Anonymous
In the scenario you describe we do not say a special blessing during candle lighting as Purim is a minor holiday.
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
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