Solely In Black and White: By the Candle Light of Shabbos Night…

Saturday, August 20, 2011

By the Candle Light of Shabbos Night…


I don’t think I’ve ever told you this, but I love Shabbos. Or more aptly, we love Shabbos. :-) Ma’ain olem habah! And one of the integral parts of Shabbos, at least Friday night, is the candle light (or burning oil) by the table. While it is the accepted practice for married women to light candles on Friday night, men and unmarried women are equally obligated to light as well. There are different ways around this technicality, such as being Mishtatif or buying a portion of the candels etc… but it seems to be an uncommon practice for anyone other than married women to light under normal circumstances. However, this past Shabbos we had the pleasure of spending Shabbos with a distant single female cousin of ours who lit her own candles before Shabbos. Additionally, on Motzei Shabbos she proceeded to light an additional two candles. Upon seeing her do the latter, my wife remembered that her mother and grandmothers had a minhag to do the same, so she proceeded to light two candles as well. Live and learn I guess. However, I was wondering: does anyone know off-hand what the source of these two minhagim are, unmarried women lightening candles and the lighting of candles on motzei Shabbos? Furthermore, is this a common practice?


  1. It is minhag chabad for all girls to start lighting a candle at the age of three. The simple reason is that rivka imeinu started lighting at 3. its the idea of being mechanech kids in mitzvos, especially one like shabbos candles which adds light to the world.

  2. Thanks, that is a very nice custom and explanation. I do have one question though... wasn't Rivka married at 3?

  3. The minchag for Sephardim, or at least my family, is that the women don't light till they get married.

    I have heard of people who light a candle motzei Shabbos but I don't know its source. I think its about bringing the holiness of Shabbos into the chol, but I could be totally off.

  4. ZP: My husband is chassidish-ish, and that is why he has me light a candle on Motzei Shabbos. I stayed by a family in the Old City who were from Hungary who had the minhag to light 2 candles Motzei Shabbos for the same reason.


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