Question:

Thank you for this great website!

I am learning the sugya of hadlakas neiros and I realize that the halachos are very complex and not as simple as I thought it is. I live near my in-laws and we often eat by them Friday night. My wife lights at home. Is that the ideal place to light or she should light at her parents’ house where we eat? There are two reasons that we light one because of Kavod Shabbos; it provides an ambiance (like at a wedding or at a bris) and one because oneg Shabbos (that one shouldn’t trip in the dark). Being that today we have electricity, if one doesn’t turn off the electric lights before lighting the candles, it would appear that the reason to light because of oneg shabbos wouldn’t apply today. However, the reason of Kavod Shabbos would apply and Rashi in Shabbos 25B says that the candles should be lit at the seudah.The Mishna Berurah in 263:39 implies that the candles should be lit where a person eats. Would that be a reason that in my situation my wife should light at my in-laws house were we eat? If she should light in our home where we sleep, does she have to eat near the candles or is sitting and reading near the candles enough? And would the halacha on the second night of Yom Tov make a difference where there is not option of turning off the light and thus the only reason to light would be because of Kavod Shabbos and should we light were we eat? (I don’t use timers on Shabbos/Yom Tov so the eitzah setting the Shabbos clock so that the lights should be off when it is time to light wouldn’t apply.) There are many variables regarding hadlakas neiros. What would the Rov say in this situation?

Answer:

First of all thank you for the compliment, it is very appreciated.

Regarding your question, essentially it is better to light in the place that we are eating the shabbos seuda. However since you are eating at someone selse home and there are goingto be candels lit for kavod shabbos, then you really don’t have much kavod or oneg from her candles. therefore it is prefferable for you to light in your home, however you have to make sure to benifit from the candles. this can be done by either reading by them (if they are oil candles we are not allowed to read by them, unless there are also some wax candles there, because we might come to tilt the candles to get a brighter light). Since these are oneg shabbos candles, just sitting near them is not enough, you have to benifit from the “light” of the candles. Relying on the candles for when you get back from your meal is a little risky, because you might not get back home in time, or you might forget. The best idea is to turn the electric lights in the dinig room on, and have in mind that they are part of your hadlokas neiros. This way when you get back to your house you are going to benifit from the electric lights.

For the second night of yom tov you can either rely on lighting where you will eat, or you can light long candles and make sure to benifit from them when you get back. Alternitively you can light the candles when you actually get back home after your seuda, and light then in a room that is dark, so that you will benefit from thier light.

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