One who forgot to light Shabbos candles before Shekia-Asking a gentile to light

One who forgot to light candles before Shekia/sunset:

The General law:

Initially, one is to light candles at the set time written in the calendar for one’s location, which is commonly at least 18 minutes before sunset.[1] If one did not do so, then they may light the candles up until sunset.  Once sunset has arrived, it is Biblically forbidden to light candles, and one who forgot to do so has lost the opportunity.[2] One is to be very careful in this matter and is to warn his wife and family not to light the candles after sunset.[3] Nevertheless, if a gentile is available, and it is prior to nightfall, between sunset and nightfall, the gentile may light the candle on her behalf, as explained next. Hashem will forgive the woman for missing the opportunity of lighting the candles before sunset, and she will receive a good blessing and be rewarded for abstaining from lighting the candle after sunset.[4]

 

Having a gentile light on one’s behalf:[5]

If a woman [or man[6]] [Chas Veshalom[7]] forgot to light candles before Bein Hashmashos [i.e. sunset] and remembered during the period of Bein Hashmashos [i.e. before nightfall, Tzeis Hakochavim], then one may permit her [or him] to ask a gentile to light the candle on her behalf [and it is considered that she has fulfilled the Mitzvah[8]].[9] This applies even if there is already light in the room [however, see Q&A regarding a man in such a case].[10] Once nightfall has arrived, a gentile may no longer light a candle on one’s behalf even if there is no light at all in the room, and it is thus forbidden to ask him to do so.[11]

How many candles may the gentile light?[12] Although we permit her to ask a gentile to light for her, she may only instruct the gentile to light a single candle [and not the normal number of candles that she lights weekly].[13] [If the candles are normally lit in different areas of the home, then] this single candle is to be lit by the dining room table, as this is the main Mitzvah.

The blessing:[14] After the gentile lights the candle, prior to benefiting from the light, she is to say the blessing.[15] This is done in the following way: Immediately after the lighting of the gentile she is to spread her hands to block the light of the candle and its benefit until the blessing is recited.[16] The Nusach of this blessing is “Al Hadlakas Haneir,” as opposed to “Lehadlik Ner Shel Shabbos [Kodesh]” which is normally recited.[17] [It is questionable whether in such a case she may say “Al Hadlakas Haneir Shel Shabbos Kodesh,” or is to simply say “Al Hadlakas Haneir” without any conclusion.[18]]

Lechatchila:[19] The above ruling is only Bedieved, if she forgot to light before sunset. However, Lechatchila, she may not delay the lighting until Bein Hashamashos and then ask a gentile to light a candle on her behalf.[20]

 

Summary:

If a woman [or man] forgot to light candles before sunset and nightfall [i.e. Tzeis Hakochavim] has not yet arrived, then she may ask a gentile to light a single candle on her behalf. After the lighting of the gentile, prior to benefiting from the light, she is to say the blessing of “Al Hadlakas Haner.” Once nightfall has arrived, a gentile may no longer light a candle on one’s behalf and it is forbidden to ask him to do so, or to even allow him to do so on his own.

 

If a man who is alone forgot to light candles before sunset, may he ask a gentile to do so for him during Bein Hashamshos?

If there is a lack of light in the eating area then it is permitted to ask a gentile up until nightfall.[21] If, however, there is already enough light present, then this matter requires further analysis.[22] Practically, if he will be very distressed over the fact that he did not light a Shabbos candle, then he may be lenient to ask a gentile to do so for him up until nightfall, even if there exists plenty of light.[23]

 

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[1] See M”B 261:23; Admur in Seder Hachanasas Shabbos

The reason: Simply, the reason for this is because one must be very careful to light the candles before sunset begins, and hence it is to be lit some time before sunset. [See Admur ibid] In addition, this is in order to fulfill the requirements of all the opinions regarding Bein Hashmashos, as according to the Yereim, Bein Hashmashos begins already 15 minutes prior to sunset, hence one must accept Shabbos in their opinion, prior to 15 minutes before sunset. [M”B ibid] Alternatively, this is done because it is an obligation upon all to accept Shabbos early, prior to sunset. [See Admur 261:4]

[2] Siddur Admur in Seder Hachansas Shabbos; Geonim

[3] Letter of Admur printed as supplement to 261; See Seder Hachanasas Shabbos ibid

[4] Letter of Admur printed as supplement to 261

[5] Admur 263:11; See Ketzos Hashulchan 74:15; Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:19; Kitzur Dinei Shabbos [Dubov] 5:17.

[6] See Q&A!

[7] So writes Admur in letter ibid and

[8] See Admur ibid that the blessing is said

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that 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; See M”B 263:21]

[9] Admur 263:11, 261:2 “It is permitted to ask a gentile during Bein Hashmashos to light candles which are needed for Shabbos”; Michaber 261:1; M”A 263:11 in name of Maharash Nishtat in name of Mahram Segal; Hagahos Minhagim 26; Tur 342 in name of Rabbeinu Yona;

The reason it is permitted to ask a gentile: As lighting Shabbos candles is a Mitzvah [Admur 261:2] and the Sages permitted all Rabbinical Melacha [i.e. Amira Lenachri] to be done during Bein Hashmashos for the sake of a Mitzvah. [Admur 261:1; See also 455:12; Tosefes Shabbos 261:3] Alternatively, the reason is because women are very careful in this blessing [and Mitzvah] and it is thus considered like a great need for which the Sages permitted Rabbinical Melacha to be done during Bein Hashmashos, as explained in 261:2. [Admur 263:11 in parentheses]

The reason she can fulfill the Mitzvah through the gentile: As the main Mitzvah of Hadlakas Neir Shabbos is not the act of lighting alone, and rather, the main Mitzvah is the benefit and use that is later done with its light after it is lit. The lighting is simply the beginning and preparation for this Mitzvah. [Admur ibid in parentheses] For this reason, the Mitzvah is valid even though she is not doing the lighting but rather having a gentile is doing so for her, as either way, she will receive the benefit from the light which is the main purpose of this Mitzvah. [Article of Rav Yosef Zevin in Yagdil Torah T.Z. 6:50, See there in great length!]

[10] Admur ibid in parentheses

The reason: [Although the reasons behind the Mitzvah of Hadlakas Neiros, Oneg and Shalom Bayis, is already fulfilled if one has light in the room, nevertheless] we allow her to ask a gentile to light a candle on her behalf during Bein Hashamshos being that the women are very careful in this blessing [and Mitzvah] and it is thus considered like a great need for which the Sages permitted Rabbinical Melacha to be done during Bein Hashmashos, as explained in 261:2. [Admur ibid in parentheses]

[11] Admur ibid limits allowance to Bein Hashmashos; Kuntrus Achron 263:4 in interpretation of M”A 263:11; Admur 276:8 forbids according to most Poskim after nightfall even if there is no light in the room, and forbids according to all if there is light in the room; M”A 263:11 as explained in Kuntrus Achron ibid and Machatzis Hashekel ibid [See however Levushei Serud ibid and Gloss of Rav Akiva Eiger 261:1]; Tosefes Shabbos 261:8; Kaf Hachaim 261:11; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:19; 307; 261:3 regarding Rabbeinu Tam

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that if there is no light in the room then it is permitted to ask a gentile to light a candle even after nightfall. [opinion in Admur ibid] Practically, although many are accustomed to be lenient like this opinion, everyone must be stringent in this matter. [Admur ibid; See Machhatzis Hashekel and Levushei Serud ibid in how they interpret the M”A ibid; See gloss of Rav Akiva Eiger 261:1 who interprets M”A ibid to permit lighting one candle after nightfall]

[12] Admur 263:11 [Vetzaruch Iyun from wording of Admur in his letter [printed as supplement to chapter 261] “She may instruct the gentile to light the Shabbos candles, and she is to say a blessing over them”]; M”A 263:11; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Levushei Serud ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that during Bein Hashmashos the gentile may be instructed to light even more than one candle. He may certainly light two candles, one corresponding to Shamor and the second to Zachor, as the women are very careful in this matter, and it hence falls under the allowance of Rabbinical Melacha during Bein Hashamshos for the sake of a great need, for which we permit a gentile lighting a Yartzite candle. [Gloss of Rav Akiva Eiger 261:1; Divrei Malkiel 4:5; Kaf Hachaim 261:12; Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:19 concludes she may be lenient like this opinion if its very pressing for her]

[13] The reason: Although it is a Mitzvah to have light in all the rooms of the home due to Shalom Bayis, the main Mitzvah of Hadlakas Neiros is for Oneg Shabbos, that one eat his Shabbos meal near candlelight. [Admur 263:1] Thus, one may only ask the gentile to light one candle by the table. [Implied understanding of Admur ibid]

[14] Admur 263:11 and 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!

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that a blessing should not be said. [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]

[15] The reason a blessing may be said even though a gentile lit it: As the main Mitzvah of Hadlakas Neir Shabbos is not the act of lighting alone, and rather, the main Mitzvah is the benefit and use that is later done with its light after it is lit. The lighting is simply the beginning and preparation for this Mitzvah. Thus, if a woman forgot and did not say the blessing in the start of the Mitzvah may say the blessing prior to the main part of the Mitzvah being fulfilled, which is prior to her benefiting from it. [Admur ibid in parentheses; See Kuntrus Achron ibid in legnth]

[16] Admur ibid in his earlier statement regarding Lechatchila; Hisorerus Teshuvah 3:263

[17] Admur Kuntrus Achron 263:3 “And it makes sense that in this situation she is to say the blessing of Al Hadlakas Haner”; Implication of Admur ibid in his earlier statement regarding Lechatchila; See M”A 263:11 “One cant say a blessing if it standing lit”, however see explanation of Machatzis Hashekel ibid that this refers to if no one accepts Shabbos with the lighting; See M”A 676:4 in name of Reim on Smag and Bach regarding Chanukah to say “Al Hadlakas Ner Chanukah”

The reason: As how can she say the blessing of Vitzivanu Lehadlik if the candles are already lit beforehand, or through a gentile. [Admur ibid; See Kuntrus Achron ibid in length; M”A ibid; Mahariy Bruna 84]

[18] It is possible to understand the wording in Admur ibid to be exact, and is negating the conclusion of Shel Shabbos upon saying the Nusach of “Al Hadlakas”, and so quotes Ketzos Hashulchan 74:15, Piskeiy Teshuvos 263:19, Kitzur Dinei Shabbos [Dubov] 5:17. On the other hand, some learn that she may add the regular Nussach of “Shel Shabbos Kodesh”, and there is no reason to negate it. [So learn a number of Rabbanim I corresponded with, and so implies Kitzur Halachos 263 footnote 61] See also M”A 676:4 in name of Reim on Smag and Bach regarding Chanukah to say “Al Hadlakas Ner Chanukah

[19] Admur 263:11; Kuntrus Achron 3; M”A 263:11, in name of Mahram and Hagahos Maimanis; Hagahos Minhagim 26; Olas Shabbos 263:4 in name of Mahariy Bruna 84

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that a woman may even initially instruct a gentile to light the candles on her behalf during Bein Hashamashos if she does not wish to accept Shabbos by candle lighting time, and will not be home before sunset to light. [M”A ibid in name of Maharash]

[20] The reason: As how can she say the blessing of “Vitzivanu Lehadlik” if the candles are already lit beforehand, or through a gentile. [Admur ibid; Poskim ibid]

[21] Admur 261:2 [Pashut that this ruling applies to both men and women, as a man who is alone has a Mitzvah to light Shabbos candles just like a woman, and the Sages permitted doing Rabbinical Melacha during Bein Hashamshos for the sake of a Mitzvah.]

[22] Admur 263:11 permits a woman to have a gentile light a single candle on her behalf even when other candles are lit because “Women are very careful in this blessing [and Mitzvah] and it is thus considered like a great need for which the Sages permitted Rabbinical Melacha to be done during Bein Hashmashos.” Vetzaruch Iyun if this applies also to a man who is not “very careful” with this blessing.

[23] If he is very distressed, then this falls under the allowance of Rabbinical Melacha during Bein Hashamashos in a case of great need, just as we permit the gentile to light a Yartzite candle. [See Admur 261:2]

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