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Paraffin Candles on Table

Please allow me a follow up on my question (and your prompt answer) regarding leaving liquid paraffin candles on the Shabbos table. I was looking at a somewhat different situation i.e. leaving any type of candles in front of a door on Shabbos. In that case one is not allowed to open the door even if there is no wind as we say that if a strong wind happens to occur at that moment, then its a psik reisha that the candles will go out (Shulchan Aruch Harav 277:1). Morover, that situation is also indirect, and one does not want that the candles go out. Yet is is still assur to open a door even if there is no wind in front of the candles. Why then we can not apply this reasoning to the paraffin candles on the table? There is also an issue of not banging a door when an oil candle is hung in a wall (S’A HaRov 277:2), which could be also similar to the paraffin candles on the table. Thank you.

Answer:

The situations described by the Shulchan Aruch and Poskim in siman 277 are situations where there is a pesik reisha, meaning that we are certain that opening or banging the door will cause the flame to be extinguished (or to be augmented). See Mishnah Berurah 277:7. Other poskim write that even if there is no actual pesik reisha, if there is nearly a pesik reisha, this is also sufficient for a prohibition: see Tosefes Shabbos 277:1 and 308:103; Chavas Yair 164.

In the case of the question, however, the likelihood of the candles being extinguished is slight, and very far from a pesik reisha. Under such circumstances, there would be no prohibition of placing the candles on the table, for it would (at most) be a davar she’eino miskaven, and therefore permitted (see Mishnah Berurah 277:14).

The rulings of Shulchan Aruch (277:3) also imply that it is permitted to place candles on the table, and I think that your concern would probably apply to their candles just as to paraffin candles, so that we can also derive the permissibility of the practice from here.

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