From the Rav’s Desk: Having someone light Shabbos candles for you, and having you say the blessing later on

  1. Question: [Thursday 29th Marcheshvan 5782]

I work as a nurse in Shaareiy Tzedek hospital, and my Friday shift ends after sunset in the winter. Can I tell my daughters to light candles for me at home and then when I come home, I will say the blessing over them?



This is not to be done. Rather, your daughter [or husband] should light candles on your behalf and say a single blessing which will include all the candles that were lit [i.e. your daughters own candle, if she is accustomed to always light a candle, and the candles that she lit on behalf of you, her mother]. You, however, are not to say a blessing over the candles when you arrive home due to several Halachic issues that this provokes. As an alternative to the above, you could choose to light candles with a blessing in the hospital and have either you or another Jew make Kiddush and eat something near the candle after nighttime. Nonetheless, the first option is the better option.


The scenario of one who was unable to be at home during candle lighting time is explicitly recorded in the Poskim, and various options are offered in such a situation. The most preferred option recorded, is the first option brought above in which one delegates the husband [or daughter] to light the candles and say the blessing. The next best option is the second option recorded above of lighting in the area of the hospital and then eating near the candles after nightful. The option of lighting the candle without a blessing and then saying the blessing over the candle when one returns home is brought and negated by Admur and the Poskim. There are several reasons behind this negation: 1) issues with saying the blessing, as how can she say a blessing when the candles are already lit. [According to some Poskim the issue here is with the saying of any blessing, as one can never say a blessing over candles at a time that they can’t light them. According to Admur however, the issue here is specifically with the Nussach of the blessing, as Bedieved he does permit a blessing to be said in a different Nussach.] 2) issue that if she did not accept Shabbos within 10 minutes of the lighting, then the lit candle is not valid for the mitzvah and must be extinguished and relit. Hence, how can she have someone light the candles on her behalf without a blessing and have no one accept Shabbos as a result of this lighting, and only then later come home and say the blessing. However, if indeed her husband would light it without a blessing, and accept Shabbos right away after the lighting, then the only issue with her coming home and saying the blessing would be the first issue above. Now regarding if the daughter accepts Shabbos after the lighting, aside for the fact that some opinions hold that only a husband can accept Shabbos on behalf of his wife’s candles and not anyone else, it is questionable whether this acceptance of the daughter is at all valid being that she also lit her own candles over which she said a blessing, and hence how can another blessing be said later on, on the candle lit on behalf of the mother which appeared to be included in her blessing as well and was included in her acceptance of Shabbos. Vetzaruch Iyun if it would help for her to accept Shabbos while in the hospital, a few minutes after receiving a message from her husband or daughter that they are about to light.

Sources: See Admur 263:11; M”A 263:15; Shut Maharil 53; Olas Shabbos 263:4;  See regarding the need to accept Shabbos right away for the candle to be valid: Admur 263:6, 263:7 in parentheses; 263:11 in parentheses; Michaber 263:4 “And accept Shabbos immediately”; Rabbeinu Tam Tosafus Shabbos 25b; Rosh 2:18; Kitzur Dinei Hadlakas Neiros 4:10 and 15; Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:15 and 32; See regarding if a blessing may be said after sunset on a candle lit by a Gentile during Bein Hashmashos: opinions who permit saying a blessing: Admur 263:11and Kuntrus Achron 3; Letter of Admur [printed as supplement to chapter 261]; M”A 263:11 as explained in Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Ketzos Hashulchan 74:15; Menoras Hamaor 263:5; Neziros Shimshon 263; Birchas Habayis 45:12; Mishmeres Shalom 26:5; Pnei Meivin 1:44; Daas Torah 263; Shoel Umeishiv Tinyana 1:89; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1:190; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:19; See article of Rav Yosef Zevin in Yagdil Torah T.Z. 6:50 in great length! Kitzur Dinei Shabbos [Dubov] 5:17 Opinions who prohibit the saying of a blessing after sunset in all cases: Olas Shabbos 263:4 in name of Mahariy Bruna 84, brought in Admur ibid and Kuntrus Achron 3; P”M 263 A”A 11; Gloss of Rav Akiva Eiger 263:11; M”B 263:21; Seder Hayom, brought in Kaf Hachaim 261:11; Elya Raba; Derech Hachiam; Makor Chaim 263; Shulchan Hatahor 263:9;  Divrei Malkiel 4:5; Maharam Brisk 4:45; Kaf Hachaim ibid concludes to think the blessing in one’s mind] The reason for this is because a blessing can only be said by a continuous Mitzvah, and in this case, the Mitzvah is not continuous as it is now forbidden for her to light. [P”M ibid; M”B ibid] Alternatively, a blessing cannot be said as there is no status of Shlichus for a gentile, and hence when the gentile lights on her behalf, the Mitzvah is not fulfilled. [Gloss of Rav Akiva Eiger 263; M”B ibid] See regarding the Nussach of the blessing when said after sunset on an already lit candle: Admur Kuntrus Achron 263:3 “And it makes sense that in this situation she is to say the blessing of Al Hadlakas Haner”; See M”A 676:4 in name of Reim on Smag and Bach regarding Chanukah to say “Al Hadlakas Ner Chanukah”

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