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Blessings & Instructions for Shabbat Candles

Blessings & Instructions for Shabbat Candles


We usher in the peace and sanctity of Shabbat by lighting candles every Friday evening and on the eve of Jewish holidays. The candles bring peace into our homes, and add light and warmth to a world that sometimes feels dark and cold.

Read: Where does the Torah say to light Shabbat candles?

Read: What are Shabbat candles?


The candles are lit eighteen minutes before sunset. Some communities, such as those in Jerusalem, have the custom of lighting the candles and bringing in the Shabbat earlier. In that case, light the candles as per your community custom.

Find times for your area here.

The earliest one may light the Shabbat candles is plag haminchah on Friday afternoon. Plag haminchah, one and a quarter daylight hours before the end of the day. See our Zmanim page for when that is in your location.

The latest you may light the candles is just before sunset; after sunset, Shabbat has begun even if you have not lit the candles, and handling or lighting a flame is a desecration of the Shabbat and forbidden.

On holidays, you can light later as well, provided that you use a pre-existing flame. When a holiday follows Shabbat or a holiday (eg. the second day of a two-day holiday), the candles must be lit after nightfall. Click here for times, procedures and blessings for the holiday candle-lighting.

Read: Why are candles lit 18 minutes before Sunset?

More on the exact time to light candles

Sign up for free SMS or email reminders or get the Shabbat Times App.


Photos: Flash90 (None of the people depicted were photographed on the holiday.)
Photos: Flash90 (None of the people depicted were photographed on the holiday.)

The mitzvah of lighting candles has been given especially to women, the mainstays of the Jewish home, but it is an obligation for every home, and if no woman over bat mitzvah is present to light, the candles are lit by the man of the home.

As soon as a young girl can understand the significance of Shabbat and can say the blessing (at approximately three years of age), she should kindle her own Shabbat candle.

Read more: Do Young Girls Light Shabbat Candles?


Photo: Mushka Lightstone
Photo: Mushka Lightstone

Single girls and women light one candle. After marriage, women light two — and some have the custom of lighting one candle for each member of the immediate family.

Candles are lit on or near the table where the Shabbat dinner will be served, to add to the light and joy of Shabbat.


Photo: Duane Stork Photography
Photo: Duane Stork Photography

It is customary to give some coins to charity before kindling the Shabbat candles. Before we pray to G‑d and ask Him kindly to grant our deepest wishes, it is appropriate to display kindness to others.

After you've given charity and removed the charity box, light the candles. A girl should light before her mother, so her mother can help if necessary, and is also forbidden to light her candle after the proper time.

After you’ve lit the candles, do not put out the match. Rather, drop it on a fireproof surface or give it to someone who has not yet accepted Shabbat .

Use your hands to shield your eyes from the flames and recite the blessing while your eyes are covered.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אַדֹנָ-י אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת קֹדֶשׁ

Transliteration: Baruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-tav Ve-tzi-va-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Sha-bbat Ko-desh.

Translation: Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.

The time of candle-lighting is considered particularly auspicious for private prayer. Women have traditionally prayed, as they stand with eyes closed, for health, happiness, children who will illuminate the world with Torah, and the ultimate Redemption which will be ushered in by the Messiah. Girls, too, offer their own prayers at this special moment, as they discover the beauty of a practice which will enlighten their entire lives.

Uncover your eyes, gaze at the Shabbat lights and greet your family with "Good Shabbos" or "Shabbat Shalom."

Once you light the candles and recite the blessing, you have accepted Shabbat. As fire is muktzeh (set aside, and forbidden to move) on shabbat, the candles and candlesticks may not be moved until the conclusion of Shabbat.

More on how to light the candles


A small flame, or pair of flames, can seem so small and weak. How much of a difference can it make in the gloom of a world engulfed in darkness? The answer is a lot. The beauty of light is that even the smallest point of radiance can dispel much darkness. In the words of the sages, “a candle to one is a candle to many.”

And together, all of our Shabbat candles, from all over the globe, will join together in creating a giant blaze of spiritual light, ushering in the era of eternal Shabbat, the days of Moshiach. To quote the sages once again, “If you keep the light of Shabbat,” says G‑d, “I will show you the lights of Zion.”

May it happen soon. Amen!

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Rachel Basildon, Essex, UK December 22, 2017

Do you have to leave the candles burning overnight until Shabbat ends? What about that being a fire hazard? Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson December 24, 2017
in response to Rachel:

On Shabbat we may not extinguish flames so we allow the candles to burn out on their own. Most Shabbat candles are designed to last as long as (or a bit longer) than a standard Shabbat meal. Of course one should take all precautions possible and avoid lighting near curtains or anything flammable, place the candles on aluminum or metal trays etc. Reply

Rachel Neil United Kingdom January 9, 2018
in response to Mrs. Chana Benjaminson:

Thank you very much Mrs Benjaminson. That’s really helpful. Sorry I’ve only just received the notification that you had sent me a message. Reply

Ron December 8, 2017

Candles Can you use electric candles in stead of regular candles. Reply

Rabbi Elchono Kazen for December 12, 2017
in response to Ron:

There is a debate among contemporary authorities about reciting the blessing over electric candles. The consensus is, if someone is hospitalized, where the use of fire is prohibited, they may rely on the opinions that allow reciting the blessing over an electronic candle.
Othwerise it is best to use a real candle. Reply

Sam Maryland December 6, 2017

Shabbat Candle Lighting Why do you recite the prayer after the candles are lit? Reply

Rochel Chein for December 7, 2017
in response to Sam:

Generally a blessing is recited before performing a mitzvah. Lighting Shabbat candles is an exception, since when we recite the blessing on the candles, we welcome in the Shabbat. Once Shabbat begins, we are no longer allowed to light candles. Therefore, we first light the candles and then recite the blessing. Reply

Hannah December 16, 2017
in response to Rochel Chein for

What about Sephardic Jews? As I understand, they say a blessing and then light shabbat candles. I was told that according to them, once you light the candles, you accept shabbat and the blessing said after lighting the candles is then meaningless. Reply

Jay Landau Lynchburg, VA via January 8, 2018
in response to Hannah:

Yes, Sephardic Jews do it the opposite way. First they say the berakha, then they light, as with any other mitzvah. Reply

Masha Melody Montreal via November 10, 2017

Can I Pray over Shabbos candles after the Brocha? What is kosher in terms of praying after the Brocha for Shabbat? Are you allowed to pray for people, health, the world, Israel....after the Brocha? Reply

Rochel Chein for via November 10, 2017
in response to Masha Melody:

This is a particularly auspicious time for prayer, and you can pray for all of the above. May your prayers be answered. Reply

Sarah Leah Florida October 28, 2017

Recently I had a friend come to diner after our 18 minutes had ended for lighting this past Shabbat. She felt terrible she was late and couldn't light but wanted to say the blessing. Another woman there said she couldn't. I was told you could as long as you didn't light or transfer the flame ....the woman was so upset she almost cried! Can you at least say th blessing if time has run out??? Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for December 10, 2017
in response to Sarah Leah:

She may not simply make a blessing on the already lit candles. However, Ex post facto, if it is after sunset, but still during "twilight" (i.e. before nightfall ) she may ask a non-Jew to light a candle for her and afterward, according to the Shulchan Aruch Harav (263:11, Kunteres Achron 4) she may recite a modified blessing 'al Hadlokat haneirot' (since she isn't actually lighting the candle).

(It should be stressed that since this relies upon a number of leniencies this may not be relied upon in the first instance. If t is, then a Rabbi needs to be consulted whether this is still regarded as a "bidieved" (ex post facto) and whether you may ask a non-jew to light) Reply

Anonymous Israel September 15, 2017

is there any obligation for a divorced man living alone to light candles? and if he wishes to do so how many candles should be lit? Reply

Sarah Leah Florida October 28, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

I was taught men living alone light 2 candles. Hope you aren't alone for long! Reply

Anonymous October 30, 2017
in response to Sarah Leah:

Thanks for your answer.Much appreciated. Reply

Alan Schwartz Georgia via July 12, 2017

WHat about a man lighting the candles? Why not?
And, my wife and I would like to light them together. After all, we share everything else together. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for via August 2, 2017
in response to Alan Schwartz:

The custom is for the woman to light candles, because it is her job to bring light into the world. Technically, a man can light too, but only one blessing should be recited per household. So if the woman is not home, the man should certainly be the one lighting with a blessing. Reply

Lisa Idaho April 11, 2017

I can't find information to two questions. Are candles lit every night of Passover or just on the first night? Also, when the candles are lit the first night, are they supposed to burn for a certain time or be allowed to go out on their own that night? Thanks! Reply Staff April 16, 2017
in response to Lisa:

Hi Lisa, candles are lit the first two and last two nights of Passover as those are considered holidays. Candles may not be extinguished on Shabbat nor on major holidays such as Passover, hence we allow the candles to burn out and they usually do by the time the Passover meal is over. Reply Staff via February 13, 2017

To Peter What we mean is that we are not permitted to blow out the match we are using to light the candles, after we have finished using it, due to the prohibition to extinguish flames on Shabbat. Hence we place it on the tray or aluminum foil and allow it to burn out on its own, which takes seconds. Hope that's clear. Reply

Rosie greenberg Atlanta April 17, 2017
in response to Staff:

Sorry, question; " how many candles should be lit." Reply Staff April 27, 2017
in response to Rosie greenberg:

Single women light one candle, married women light at least two, some light a third candle to represent all their children while others light an additional candle for each child they have. Additionally, many have the tradition that girls light their own candle too, from the age of 3 as our Matriarch Rebecca did. Reply

Peter Eckels Phoenix AZ February 13, 2017

I'm not understanding your comment about the match used to light the candles...

Once the candles are lit, the Shabbat has been ushered in. As such, it is forbidden at that time to extinguish the match.

how can a small match burn continuously ?
Don't you mean the candles ? Reply Staff via January 19, 2017

Source Please see this link for an explanation on the source for lighting Shabbat candles. Reply

PalealYah Ben Israel Elk Grove January 12, 2017

Show me any of the above in the Torah only? Reply

Jay Landau Lynchburg, VA via January 9, 2018
in response to PalealYah Ben Israel:

Not all mitzvot and minhagim are found in the Written Torah. The Rabbis also created "fences" around the Torah to protect the mitzvot from being done improperly, and for additional information and practices. The Oral Torah, or Mishnah/Gemorah AKA Talmud is as important to Jews as the Written.. Reply

Anonymous November 8, 2016

A poster ask "What can you do if you, for some reason, don’t have candles or something to light them with?"Rochel Chein for answered in response to Electric candles that "Real flames should be lit whenever possible. Using a electric lights should only be done where an open flame is not possible, such as when in the hospital."

My question is and assuming you dont have electric candles is what can you do if you, for some reason, don’t have candles or something to light them with? Reply

Malkie Janowski for November 7, 2016

The Midrash tells us of the candle that would burn from one Sabbath eve to the next in the tent of Sarah and later, Rebecca (Beraishit Rabbah, 60), as mentioned in the article. Reply

Jerry Thomas Eugene Oregon November 4, 2016

I have a question...

Where do we find Sarah lighting a sabbath ccandle? As also Rebecca? Reply

Corinne Morales Phelan,Ca August 26, 2016

Shabbos prayer!! Shabbat Shalom. Please pray for my son Elijah to come home to mom. I miss him!! Reply

Albert Kagan Roswell July 17, 2016

I was at the hospital right before the start of Shabbos, and during sunset, I did this prayer when I was at the hospital bed waiting for my surgeon to come in. It was worth it. And after my surgery, they gave me grape juice in my hospital bed, and I did the "b'rey pri-hagafen". It was so worth it. Reply

Yisroel Cotlar Cary NC July 14, 2016

It is not the dining itself that is the problem. Rather, the handling of money, transaction, having food being cooked for you on Shabbos, etc

These are activities we do not do on Shabbos, even if it is inconvenience. Of course, we also make sure to think of Shabbos when we make our travel plans and not cut things to close... Reply

Anonymous July 9, 2016

Is it acceptable to dine in a restaurant on Sabbath if you are far from home and cannot prepare or bring a meal? Reply

Jay Landau Lynchburg, VA via January 9, 2018
in response to Anonymous:

Actually, in Baltimore, there's a kosher Chinese restaurant, where you can dine on Shabbos if you've paid beforehand. Just thought it might be useful information. Reply

Igor Bartolic croatia zagreb June 7, 2016

Thank You.I wish You to great Shabbat Shalom.HaShem bless You. Reply

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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