Confusing halacha, minhag, chumra and shtus*
- This topic has 103 replies, 15 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 4 months ago by Lightbrite.
January 1, 2017 12:10 am at 12:10 am #618943
1) Who says that on Shabbat you must light two candles and only two and always two candles?
Yes there are beautiful kabbalistic reasons why “two” is the special number and so on. At the same time, in certain circumstances or for certain reasons, I may want to light more and/or may need to light only one.
2) Is lighting >2 or <2 Shabbat candles violating a halacha or chumra or minhag?
Background: At times, lighting more than two Shabbat candles and only one candle was really important to me. I once used to light more than two, but was scolded for it by a religious authority. That was many moons ago. Now I wonder if it was just that person’s minhag or chumra to light two?
If Hashem knows me and my spiritual reasons for lighting more or less depending on the circumstance, would he not appreciate that I come to light on Shabbat with love and happiness? Versus feeling stifled (or bottling up that feeling as if Hashem doesn’t see)?
…Or am I missing the point. Halacha is halacha. I am doing this to build a relationship for Hashem. So if Hashem tells me that he loves chocolate cake for Shabbat, then what’s the point of insisting that I bring lemon cake? Yet… then again, Hashem knows that I need the extra push to go to the store before Shabbat. The only way to get me to go there is by buying a lemon cake. While I’m already buying the lemon cake, then I buy the chocolate cake. Fine, Hashem doesn’t need the extra candles but what they do for me and my heart help me deliver my intentions that would have otherwise still been lodged up, once in a while.
The times when one candle would be used would be if/when there was no more candles at the time, or I would share them with someone, so we each would light one.
Thank you in advance 🙂
[[SHOUT OUT to iacisrmma – New Thread]]
*Quoted from another thread (citation here).January 1, 2017 1:08 am at 1:08 am #1210988
Lightbrite: there are many minhagim. Some single girls light one. I used to light one, until someone told me that I’m not supposed to, so I switched to two. I’m not sure if they were correct or not.
There are definitely minhagim for lighting more than two. I once saw a list of all different minhagim. Usually married women either light 2 or one for each member of the family, and single girls either light 1 or 2.
It never occurred to me that there could be anything wrong with lighting more. When I was living by myself, I sometimes lit a bunch because I was lighting tealights and I felt like 2 tealights was too little light. I thnk I also thought it would be a segula for getting married :).
Maybe I’m wrong though, so you should probably ask a sheilah before you light more candles. I know that it is a problem to light less than you usually do (so if you usually light 2, it’s probably a problem to start lighting 1).January 1, 2017 2:23 am at 2:23 am #1210989
I used to light many tea lights and say brachot for family members. It felt good to find a way to connect to family that was so physically far away.
When I told a kiruv Rebbetzin about it, I don’t know, I was just telling her a bit about myself. I didn’t expect such a response. It was a vehement statement that I was not supposed to light more than two (It was okay for me to light two as a single woman).
Honestly, her reaction frightened me. Like I got scared straight in my enjoyment of lighting. It felt like I was being forced to go stale. But that was during my first round of being a BT. I took everything I learned so seriously, too seriously (because it was a lot of pressure to be perfect).
In Israel I realized that I’m ready to feel good about my practice. Maybe the rules about lighting have room for me to light with love, to the fullest.January 1, 2017 2:24 am at 2:24 am #1210990
For the record, maybe Hashem wanted her to have that extreme reaction. Months or maybe longer later, I learned that my zest for lighting Shabbos candles actually compromised my A/C unit. The A/C repair people literally chipped tar away from the cylinder. The A/C repair person asked me if I light candles often.
At first I said, “No.” I’m not like one of those people sitting her with those scented candles (though that would be nice, especially the ones that smell like Vanilla Cupcakes). Then I realized that Yes, I did light Shabbat candles. And so I said, “Yes, actually I do.” A/C person said that the smoke is going straight into the unit.
So maybe Hashem needed me to back off. It wasn’t the Rebbetzin at all, but Hashem sending me a message through her. Protecting my health and indoor air quality. Isn’t that cool?
Anyway, just wondering about this.January 1, 2017 2:25 am at 2:25 am #1210991
Any other examples or questions about halacha/chumra/minhag/shtus welcome 🙂January 1, 2017 9:50 am at 9:50 am #1210992
Women light 2 candles, 1 for “shomur” and one for ‘zochur”. There is a custom to add a candle for each child born, the basis for this is that if a woman missed lighting candles (which she would have done when hospitalized, or in the olden days, confined post-birth) there is a penalty imposed that has to light one extra from then on. Now, even when the woman does not miss lighting post-birth, she still adds one for her new baby.
Single girls/women living in their parents’ house generally don’t light (with the exception of chabad where girls light one), unless they are on their own and there is no one else to light in the house. The mitzva is that the candles need to be lit in the home, preferably by the woman of the house, but if she is not there, anyone can and must light.
One point, if you have consistently lit a certain number, it may be considered a neder (vow) for which you would need hatara nedarim (annuling a vow) to change the number.January 1, 2017 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm #1210993
LB – When you say that you said “berachot” for family members, what exactly do you mean by that? Were you saying the bracha on the candles more than once? If you were, that could explain why the Kiruv Rebbetzin got upset, since that would definitely be a problem.
Otherwise, it’s hard for me to see why it’s a problem to light more than 2. There are many minhagim when it comes to lighting candles. I’ll try to look it up when I have a chance, but I think there is a minhag to light 7 candles, for example, and maybe 10 as well.January 1, 2017 1:19 pm at 1:19 pm #1210994
WTP: “Single girls/women living in their parents’ house generally don’t light (with the exception of chabad where girls light one)”
It’s not only Chabad.
“There is a custom to add a candle for each child born, the basis for this is that if a woman missed lighting candles (which she would have done when hospitalized, or in the olden days, confined post-birth) there is a penalty imposed that has to light one extra from then on. Now, even when the woman does not miss lighting post-birth, she still adds one for her new baby.’
I could be wrong, but I don’t think that is the only reason for the minhag.January 1, 2017 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #1210995twistedParticipant
Lu, maybe she meant the Yehi Rotzon which contains bakashot for family near and far. One would tweak the setup if single or if male.January 1, 2017 3:54 pm at 3:54 pm #1210996Mashiach AgentMember
some people light 2 candles no matter how many children they have. they stand for shamor & zachor of shabbos, while others light a candle for each member in their family from their children to the parents also. people have different minhagim that they follow in
speak to someone in your family to find out what your family minhag/ritual isJanuary 1, 2017 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #1210997
LU: Oops sorry again I def need to be more mindful of the context of my diction.
Bracha is a blessing.
How I said it, it sounded like I was saying extra Shabbos Candle Lighting Brachot for other people. Saying Hashem’s name in vain.
That is not what I meant. I meant that I dedicated each extra candle for someone and added a personal prayer/blessing for this someone.
This was all under the blanket Shabbat Candle Lighting bracha that I said once after lighting all the candles (maybe like ten or more tea lights at one point) and waving my hands three times.
Sometimes this “someone” was one person. Other times it was more than one person per candle, like a family (parents + their children).January 1, 2017 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm #1210998
Years prior, a rebbetzin told me that after candle lighting I can say a personal prayer for myself and family and thanks to Hashem.
She said that this moment when my eyes were closed after saying the bracha were very dear to Hashem, so I could bear my heart out in whispers afterward for myself and others. So that’s what I did.
A lot happened in my life since those Shabbats with that rebbetzin and her family, may Hashem always bless thme generously.
I moved a few times and now I was living in a new place. An ocean and more away. Removed from the world that I once knew and family. So this was my way to connect and give back despite being a world away. Despite having very little material to give. At least I could offer “brachot” or I guess the word here is “bakashot.”
Thank youJanuary 1, 2017 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #1210999
Am I confusing bracha, tefilla, and bakasha?
Bracha is a blessing
Tefilla is a prayer
Bakasha is a request
This is confusing. I’ve gotten a bracha from a rabbi.
1) Isn’t that technically a bakasha?
2) When I prayed at the Kotel on my own, was that Tefilla?
A) Own words
B) Reading from the Kotel’s Personal Prayer book, sponsored and provided by the Western Wall Foundation
3) And when I asked for Hashem to bless people, was I giving/asking Hashem for brachot for them OR was I asking for bakashot? Or both?
4) When we pray from a Siddur, that is also Tefilla isn’t it?
5) Is this correct?::: We say a bracha after eating AND we use the same word, “bracha,” to describe the oral words given on our behalf by another?
6) When we ask for a Refuah for someone in Shul during davening (Tefilla in Yiddish right?), such as *Name ben Ima* is that a bracha or tefilla or something else?
Thank you so much for clarity ?January 1, 2017 6:39 pm at 6:39 pm #1211000
lightbright – after lighting candles is definitely a time to direct prayers to Hashem regarding anything in your heart. If you want to bless people, it would be appropriate to use that time to ask Hashem to Bless them. It is a time to speak to Hashem.
Regrading lighting a candle, the candles are Shabbos candles. There are halachos and minhagim about how many and for what reason but I am sure that lighting them randomly for different people or families to bring them blessing or feel connected is not an appropriate use for this time. I have strong doubts that lighting a candle for someone as a blessing or kind thought is a Jewish concept at all (excluding yahrtzeit). Furthermore, if you light a certain number of candles for shabbos, there may be a serious question on whether or not you can stop lighting that number.
mixing in “feel good” actions with halachos (lighting a candle to connect to someone) can be very serious and I think that is what the rebbetzin responded to. knowing it was not your intent and where you were holding may have made it difficult for her to digest and explain.
I have a cousin into the kabalah institute r”l. they leave water bottles out during torah reading of certain parshas to “absorb the holiness” of the torah reading and then use that to elevate themselves. It may sound spiritual and feel-good-ish but it is not dictated by Torah to do so and therefore is potentially dangerous.January 1, 2017 7:01 pm at 7:01 pm #1211001
“mixing in “feel good” actions with halachos (lighting a candle to connect to someone) can be very serious and I think that is what the rebbetzin responded to. knowing it was not your intent and where you were holding may have made it difficult to digest and explain.” (Syag Lchochma)
Syag Lchochma: Thank you thank you 🙂
I appreciate how you offered the view with respect to the rebbetzin’s perspective.
Yes I def agree. I see that now. If she didn’t care about my neshamah then she didn’t have to say anything.
Understandable. In my book, the extra candles was a “feel good” thing. So I can see how she was offering me that my actions were playing with fire in the reality of “Torah.” Lighting close to a dozen candles wasn’t something that I wanted to keep up with for the rest of my life, let alone every Shabbos in the near future.
I guess I was playing with fire and didn’t know it. It was her job to set me straight.
My intention was not to add to Torah, nor to take on the responsibility of an extra practice established by an oath. So I have to thank her for this. It’s long overdue. I didn’t judge her favorably.
Thanks SL for showing me a better way to see it 🙂January 1, 2017 7:03 pm at 7:03 pm #1211002
And LU +1 thank you.
Surely the rebbetzin was right according to her understanding and even with the vow. It would still be cool and amazing to see if there are some communities who light more than two and that is right with them. Though maybe knowing that some people say it’s okay halachically doesn’t mean that I can and should light more. Maybe my tikkun is to scale back on the fire and be content with more modest and balanced light.
The tznius of candle lighting 🙂January 1, 2017 7:04 pm at 7:04 pm #1211003
WTP: Thanks for mentioning the vow thing 🙂
Excellent point!January 1, 2017 7:21 pm at 7:21 pm #1211004
Lightbrite, check with your Rav, light accordingly, say the bracha on the candles, and then feel free to add all the bakashot that you want to, for all your family members. It is a very special moment, take as long as you want, shed as many tears as you need to, connect to all of your family and the long tradition of Jewish women lighting shabbos candles throughout the generations. And don’t forget to pray for yourself as well.January 1, 2017 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #1211005☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
I could be wrong, but I don’t think that is the only reason for the minhag.
Another reason brought is based on the gemara which says that someone who is careful in this mitzvah will have sons and sons-in-law who are talmidei chachomim, so when a child is born, a candle is added as a z’chus.January 1, 2017 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm #1211006
Thank you DY.
In one of Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twersky’s books (possibly “From generation to generation”) he writes about how good he would feel when he saw his mother lighting one candle for each person in the family. He realized that there was extra light in the world because of his existence.
I don’t know if there is a specific source for that concept or not, but it’s not the type of concept that requires a source.January 1, 2017 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm #1211007
Rebbetzin Kanievsky zatsal used to spend the 40 minutes after candle lighting davening for all the people who came to her and asked her to daven for them.January 2, 2017 12:34 am at 12:34 am #1211008
The source for lighting a candle for each person is the Maharich.January 2, 2017 2:00 pm at 2:00 pm #1211009
Iacisrmma- thanks. You are really full of sources lately (or maybe always)!January 2, 2017 5:35 pm at 5:35 pm #1211010
LU: my family follows this minhag. I found the source in a Sefer called Meoros HaShabbos (English version) vol 1 pages 54 and 58.January 2, 2017 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm #1211011
iacisrmma +1January 3, 2017 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #1211012
Lighting only 2 forever, I believe, is the Minhag Ashkenaz. Adding a candle per kid seems to be popular among eastern Europeans. I read there was a custom to add a candle for each Shabbos you missed candle lighting, but I’ve never actually seen that observed.
With most old school Ashkenaz customs, you won’t really get the super spiritual, mystical explanation you might be looking for (unless someone created one later down the road).January 3, 2017 3:53 pm at 3:53 pm #1211013MenoParticipant
“I read there was a custom to add a candle for each Shabbos you missed candle lighting, but I’ve never actually seen that observed.”
Rabbi Ribiat discusses this in his Sefer. I forgot exactly the words he uses, but I thinks he calls it a penalty from the Rabbis, or something like that. It definitely sounds like more than just a custom.January 3, 2017 4:03 pm at 4:03 pm #1211014
not a custom, it’s a pretty serious issue.January 3, 2017 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #1211015☕ DaasYochid ☕ParticipantJanuary 3, 2017 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm #1211016
I a not sure why a number of posters are interpreting the word “SHACHACH” as “missed”. SHACHACH means “forget”. If a woman forgets to light candles then there is a penalty. However, if the woman missed do to an “ONOS” then there is no penalty. See the Mishna Berura in the Siman Reish Samach Gimmel Sif Koton Zayin.
A woman who did not light due to childbirth is considered an “ONOS”.January 3, 2017 4:41 pm at 4:41 pm #1211017
Syag, what’s an issue? Adding candles or the fact that people don’t?
Has anyone ever actually seen the [not] custom we’re talking about observed?January 3, 2017 4:55 pm at 4:55 pm #1211018
seen it? yes. lived it. according to my rav it is a serious issue and if you miss it (as iacisrmma points out, not through being onus) you need to light an extra. know others who also have to light extra for various situations (of having missed) as well.January 3, 2017 5:25 pm at 5:25 pm #1211019
My original understanding was that you keep adding for every time you missed, i.e. if you miss 2 weeks in your life, you light 4 candles for the rest of your life (the original 2 plus the 2 “penalty” ones). But, after reading the page DY linked, it sounds like the Rema just mentioned lighting a third when you forget; is it just inferred that you light 4 is you forget twice and so on?January 3, 2017 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #1211020MenoParticipant
“is it just inferred that you light 4 is you forget twice and so on?”
The Magen Avrohom there says soJanuary 3, 2017 5:56 pm at 5:56 pm #1211021
no, oneJanuary 3, 2017 7:27 pm at 7:27 pm #1211022benignumanParticipant
It is supposed to be at least 2. But you can light more if you like.
The primary purpose of Shabbos lights is to have light in the home at the Friday Night suedah. Back in the pre-electric light days, the more candles there were the better the light.January 3, 2017 8:10 pm at 8:10 pm #1211023🐵 ⌨ GamanitParticipant
My great-grandmother would like apx. 50 candles each week. One for each child and one for each week she missed during the holocaust.January 6, 2017 5:33 am at 5:33 am #1211024
Gamanit +1January 6, 2017 5:36 am at 5:36 am #1211025
Neville ChaimBerlin: Is there a maximum quantity limit for candles in cases of missing candle lighting?
The annual number of candles for baal teshuvahs could be in the thousands.January 6, 2017 9:21 am at 9:21 am #1211026
“The annual number of candles for baal teshuvahs could be in the thousands. “
Not if she missed because she didn’t know at that point, it would be considered annus, I believe, as iacisrmma pointed out, meaning it was not her fault that she missed all those weeks.
In any case, even if someone missed due to her own negligence, considering she would be obligated in 2 candlesx52 weeks/year, the annual number would only be 104, not in the thousands.January 6, 2017 11:29 am at 11:29 am #1211027
LB – from what Iacisrmma here wrote, you would only light an extra candle if you FORGET to light. This is an extremely rare occurence and probably the reason NCB has rarely seen this observed.
I seem to remember learning something like this as well. B”n, I will try to look it up when I have a chance.
As far as bt’s are concerned, I could hear where if someone is just starting to light, it is possible that they could forget a lot. But that would mean that they haven’t really started lighting regularly yet, so it’s hard for me to imagine they would get a penalty for “forgetting” until they are at the stage that they really light regularly and the “forgetting” was an unusual occurrence.January 8, 2017 3:12 am at 3:12 am #1211028
Thank you. Okay that makes sense. It’s different after you have a routine of doing it consistently.
Is that also why it’s important to go slow?
Because if I do everything for a few months, then drop 3/4th of the stuff after burning out, it has greater negative consequences than if I did less than 1/4th of those mitzvot incrementally and then consistently? —Or maybe that’s one theory or angle and maybe it’s not black and white and always forward in regards to growing forward and upward.January 8, 2017 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #1211029
“then drop 3/4th of the stuff after burning out, it has greater negative consequences than if I did less than 1/4th of those mitzvot incrementally and then consistently?’
“Or maybe that’s one theory or angle and maybe it’s not black and white and always forward in regards to growing forward and upward.”
that is true as well, but the first point is more important.January 8, 2017 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #1211030
LB, that was my question too. I only read the Rema, and it sounded like you only add 1 period, which it sounds like is how Syag holds, but others are definitely saying to keep adding.
The BT question is still legitimate. Even one a BT starts observing the mitzvos, it is still much more likely that they will forget to light candles than someone who has done it habitually. I don’t believe the custom to light a candle per child is observed alongside that to add for forgetting, I think people either hold one way or the other (I could be wrong).January 8, 2017 9:54 pm at 9:54 pm #1211031
NCB – I have never heard of someone forgetting to light candles (BT or FFB). That would be like forgetting that Shabbos comes every Friday night,in which case, the person is apt to do a lot worse things than forgetting to light candles.
I suppose people who have Alzheimer’s might forget to light candles, but they usuallly have caretakers to remind them. And if they forgot anyhow, I would guess that the Psak would be that they don’t have to light an extra candle (but their caretaker should ask a sheilah).January 8, 2017 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm #1211032NechomahParticipant
What about beautifying the mitzvah of lighting rather than lighting more candles? By this I mean getting some kind of pretty candlesticks (do not have to be ultra fancy – can wait for future husband to buy something more special) but can use the glass cups and light candles that last a long time. In EY, there are candles that have their own long wick inside, the wax melts and the wick stays above the melted wax as it burns down. They’re very pretty and because they’re in a glass cup, they add a lot of light, rather than using tea lights, which are in a metal cup and once the level of the wax goes below the top of the metal, they are harder to see and add less light. Then you could upgrade to lighting oil when you get married.January 8, 2017 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm #1211033YW Moderator-29 👨💻Moderator
Let’s hope nobody who’s sincerely forgotten has insult added to injury by the insensitivity of that post.January 8, 2017 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm #1211034
LU- I know someone who fell asleep late Fri afternoon for a short nap and woke up after shekia, having never lit candles. She added one candle after that.January 8, 2017 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm #1211035
WTP – That is “Ones” (coercion), not forgetting.
I was assuming that forgetting to light candles would mean that someone forgot about Shabbos altogether, but I just remembered that there are many girls who don’t light candles before they are married, so they wouldn’t necessarily associate Shabbos starting with lighting candles.
Someone who is not used to lighting candles could easily forget to light candles. But I think that if someone like me (who has been lighting candles from the age of 5) forgot to light candles, that would mean that I forgot that it’s Shabbos, since Shabbos starts for me when I light candles, so forgetting one would mean forgetting the other.
I suppose someone could theoretically have an unusually crazy day with emergency situations lo aleinu, and they could forget to light candles, but I still think that is a highly unusually situation.
Has anyone out there ever heard of anyone forgetting to light candles (not “ones” but forgetting)?
Maybe a Yomtov going into Shabbos could be a situation where someone might forget?
Or maybe a doctor or nurse who is working on Shabbos?January 9, 2017 12:36 am at 12:36 am #1211036
“WTP – That is “Ones” (coercion), not forgetting.”
according to the halacha, that is forgetting. which is why she was told to light another candle.
and as an aside, your not being able to come up with a scenerio does not mean that many don’t exist. Perhaps asking, instead of writing long posts about how it couldn’t possibly happen, would be the appropriate courtesy to extend to readers.
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