Husband preparing the candles and pre-burning the wicks before Shabbos

Husband preparing the candles and pre-burning the wicks before Shabbos:[1]

Preparing the candles:[2] Although the wife receives precedence in the Mitzvah of lighting Shabbos candles, nevertheless, it is proper for the husband to prepare the wicks and candles. [This is likewise the Chabad custom.[3] Thus, the husband is to set up the candles on the candleholders, and by oil candles he should pour the oil and set up the wicks and get them ready for lighting.[4] Likewise, he should be the one to purchase the candles and candelabra.[5] He can also participate in the Mitzvah by giving his wife the matches and the like.[6] To note, however, that this is not an obligation and not everyone is accustomed to follow it.[7] Likewise, this custom only applies to the candles of the wife, and it is not necessary for him to prepare the candles of all the household members.[8]]

Pre-burning the wick:[9] From the letter of the law, there is no need to pre-burn the wick prior to lighting it for Shabbos in order so it be charred and light well.[10] Nonetheless, the women[11] are accustomed to light the wick and then extinguish it in order so it be charred before its lighting for the sake of the Mitzvah in order so the flame sticks to it well.[12] This applies whether to an oil candle or to a wick candle.[13] Practically, this is a good custom. [Some are accustomed to have the husband and not the wife pre-light the candles.[14] Practically, however, amongst today’s candles which have good wicks which catch fire right away, it is no longer customary to pre-light them[15], and so is the Chabad custom to not pre-light them prior, neither the wife or the husband.[16]]


The husband should assist his wife in lighting the Shabbos candles by setting up the candles, or at the very least by passing her the matches. It is not our custom to pre-light the wicks before the lighting, neither by the wife or husband. 


[1] See Admur 263:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:13

[2] Admur 263:3; M”A 263:7 in name of Arizal; Shaar Hakavanos Leil Vav p. 61; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Hashabbos 3; Lechem Min Hashamayim p. 26; Mishnas Chassidim Miseches Tosefes Shabbos 3:1; Chemdas Yamim Shabbos Kodesh 4; Tosafus Rebbe Akiva Eiger Mishnayos Shabbos 2:6; M”B 263:12; 264:28; Kaf Hachaim 263:21; Ketzos Hashulchan 74:4

[3] Toras Menachem Hisvadyus 5749 3:209, brought in Shulchan Menachem 2:157,“Although the wife lights the Shabbos candles, nevertheless, it is a custom of Israel for the husband to also assist her, at least in a subtle manner, such as by passing her the matches or candles and the like.”

[4] Ben Ish Chaiy Noach 2:6; Sidduro Shel Shabbos Neiros Shabbos 2:2

[5] SSH”K 43 footnote 41; Shevet Halevi 7:10

[6] Toras Menachem Hisvadyus 5749 3:209

[7] Maaneh of Rebbe, printed in Shulchan Menachem ibid footnote 16 and Kefar Chabad vol. 1208

[8] Maaneh of Rebbe, printed in Shulchan Menachem ibid footnote 16 and Kefar Chabad vol. 1208, based on Taanis 25a

[9] Admur 264:14; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:13; Or Yisrael 11:53; Minhag Avoseinu Beyadeinu p. 26

[10] Admur ibid; Michaber 264:9; Tur 264:9; Rebbe Akiva Mishneh 28b; Tosafus 29a; Kaf Hachaim 264:45

[11] Admur ibid; Tur ibid; Perisha 264:14; Tosafus 28b; Rosh Shabbos 2:18; Beis Yosef

Other opinions: The Rama ibid does not record who should pre-light the candles; The M”B 264:28 writes that the husband should pre-light the candle. See Hagahos Vehearos to Tur Hachadash 19 that in some prints it says “Heanashim”

[12] Admur ibid; Rama 264:9; Rosh 2:18; M”A 264:15; Machazik Bracha 264:4 that there is no prohibition to do so, even though it is not necessary; Kaf Hachaim 264:46

[13] Admur ibid; M”A 264:15; Elya Raba 264:15; Kaf Hachaim 264:47

[14] M”B ibid; So did the Steipler and other Gedolei Yisrael; See Sefer Mikveh Yisrael Hakdama 12 in name of Divrei Chaim that doing so is a Tikkun for Pegam Habris; Otzer Hachaim 136 that doing so is a Tikkun for the sin of the Golden calf; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:13 footnote 123-124

[15] Ketzos Hashulchan 74 footnote 5 “I have not seen anyone accustomed to do this today”; Dinim Vehanhagos Chazon Ish; Chayeh Halevi 3:18; Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:13; See Minhag Avoseinu Beyadeinu pp. 28-29

[16] Reshimos 156 p. 9; Halichos Uminhagim Beinyanei Shabbos Kodesh; See Koveitz Ubiurim Vol. 27 p. 26; See Hiskashrus 682 that one time the helper of the home pre-lit the candles of the Rebbetzin and she went ahead and switched them; Minhag Avoseinu Beyadeinu p. 28

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.