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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 Note that it is also forbidden to extinguish a flame on the holiday, so make sure you have a place to put down the candle or match that you used to kindle your holiday candles.

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. (Additionally, all preparations for the candle lighting, such as arranging the candlesticks and candles, may not start before nightfall.5) 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 says6:

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]."7

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.8

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.9


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.

Code of Jewish Law, 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 (quoting Magen Avraham).

6.

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

7.

Mateh Efraim 599:10.

8.

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).

9.

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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Rochel Chein October 7, 2016

Yizkor candles Before any holiday when Yizkor is said (Yom Kippur, Shmini Atzeret, the last day of Passover and second day of Shavuot), a Yahrtzeit candle is lit by those whose parent(s) passed away .

Technically, one candle is enough for both parents, but many have the custom of lighting a candle for each deceased parent.

There is a separate concept of a "Candle of Life" for the living, lit before Yom Kippur, since each soul is called "the candle of G-d." Customs vary - some light one "Candle of Life" per household, and some light one per person. These lights should be placed in a separate location than a yartzeit candle lit for the deceased.

Yizkor is not recited on Rosh Hashanah. Some light a long-lasting candle before the holiday to use to light the holiday lights for the second night of the holiday, since a new flame is not kindled on the holiday itself.

Wishing you and yours a good and sweet new year! Reply

Marcia Goldberg Montreal, QC October 3, 2016

Candle lighting on Rosh Hashanah But what about Yiskor candles on Rosh Hashanah? Did I miss that? And do we light yiskor candles again on Yom Kippur? How many candles can cover one's parents? One for each? Step parents? Reply

Tom Lewin 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. Reply

Anonymous Bellevue April 16, 2017
in response to Tom Lewin:

Do you mean Hanukkah? Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org October 19, 2014

To Anonymous There is no bracha for that. Mazel tov! Reply

Anonymous October 19, 2014

wedding candle lighting is there a barucha for lighting a candle at a wedding Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org 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. Reply

Anonymous September 24, 2014

How long should the candles be lit? Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org 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)." Reply

Anonymous Warren, NJ September 11, 2013

Yaretzit prayer Is there a brucha that should be said when lighting a yaretzit candle Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via mychabad.org 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. Reply

Anonymous Natick, ma via chabadnatick.com August 22, 2013

candle lighting when lighting candles, should a woman's head be covered? Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org 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. Reply

Anonymous February 22, 2013

I know candles aren't lit for Purim if it's not Shabbat. However, if Purim and Shabbat coincide does one just use the usual blessing over Shabbat candles or is a Shehecheyanu added or "v'yom tov"? Reply

Anonymous Whitestone, New York via chabadwesthempstead.org September 25, 2012

Lighting sequence This has been most helpful regarding when to light yartezit candles. Reply

Susan Kansas City, MO September 17, 2012

Thank You Thank You for your help and blessings to you all for a happy & healthy New Year.. Reply

Theresa North Bergen, NJ September 16, 2012

This web site has really helped me This web site answered all of my questionsi have not practiced any of the Jewish customs since I was very small and now I feel G-d pulling me back into His arms. Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via mychabad.org September 16, 2012

Re Yizkor Yizkor is not recited on Rosh Hashanah, it is recited on Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, Passover and Shavuot. Reply

Susan, Kansas City, MO Kansas City, MO September 16, 2012

Yartezit Candles Does one light yartezit candles on Rosh Hashanna and which night? What about Yom Kippur?
God Bless Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org July 29, 2012

When to say the blessing It depends on the tradition of your family's heritage, in Ashkenazi circles the blessing is said after lighting the candles, in Sephardi circles it is said before. Reply

Anonymous woodmere, ny via jewishhewlett.com July 29, 2012

When do you say the prayer? Before lighting, during, or after lighting the candles? Reply

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