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If I came home late and it is after sunset, should I light the Shabbat candles then?

If I came home late and it is after sunset, should I light the Shabbat candles then?

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No. One of the major mitzvot that characterize the Shabbat is the prohibition of all types of work. Lighting a fire is in this category and is strictly forbidden on Shabbat. Once the sun has set, Shabbat has begun and lighting a candle, rather than being an enhancement of the Shabbat, is a grave transgression.

There are some who have the custom of adding an extra Shabbat candle the following Shabbat and thereafter to make up for the shabbat for which candle lighting was missed.

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Discussion (10)
March 23, 2014
Prayer
The blessing over the candles is only recited when lighting the Shabbat candles before sunset. After this time, the other Shabbat prayers can be recited. See here and here for some of them.
Rochel Chein for chabad.org
March 21, 2014
Can you still say the prayer even though it was too late to light the candle?
Anonymous
December 27, 2013
Candlelighting
I know you can light candles before the 18 minutes before sunset...my question is can a Woman light candles up to a few minutes before Sunset
Anonymous
February 26, 2011
Can I light another candle later by using the fire from the first candles or would that be considered a transgression?
Anonymous
Oslo
May 24, 2010
Re: Saying prayer without lighting?
Although the blessing is directly related to lighting the candles and may not be recited if the candles aren't being lit, you can still take the time to recite Kiddush in honor of Shabbat (see our Kiddush Mitzvah Minute).
Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org
May 14, 2010
Saying prayer without lighting?
If you come home too late to light the candles, can you just say the prayer over unlit candles?
Anonymous
Chicago
August 21, 2009
Lighting early
Absolutely! The Shabbat candles may not be lit AFTER the 18 minutes cut-off, but they may be lit before, specifically up to an hour and a quarter Halachic hours before the official candle lighting time. To find the exact times please see our Halachic times calculator -- look for the 'plag hamincha' entry.
Chani Benjaminson, chabad.org
August 21, 2009
candle time
If you don't make the precise 18 minute mark, can you still light before sunset? Or MUST it be 18 minutes or nothing at all?
Rox
Hazleton, PA
October 24, 2008
lighting candles after sundown
I realize that you'd like to have Shabbat candles in your home. However, once Shabbat has started, lighting a flame -- any flame -- is not permitted. Do you live with someone who can light the candles for you at home on time?
Chani Benjaminson, chabad.org
October 21, 2008
lighting the candles
Is it alright to light the sabbath candles from a flame that was already burning, another candle? I get home 2 or more hours after sundown and would like to light the sabbath candles.
Jerry
NY., NY.
Welcome to our candle-lighting section, where you will find the details and practicalities of lighting Shabbat candles, along with the meaning, spirituality and power of doing so . . .
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