Being now alone, I have to light candles on Erev Shabbes. In the winter there is no issue, however in the summer if I get invited for the Friday night meal by a family that brings in Shabbes early I have a problem with candle lighting.
I Daven Mincha Gedolah so have no issue with missing Mincha, but if I light at Plag (the earliest allowed) I find myself missing most of Lechu Neranenu and sometimes even end up missing Borchu by the time I have lit and made my way to Shul
Any solution to facilitate this problem?
This is very interesting question. If lighting your own candles will cause you to miss kabolas Shabbos it is better to light the candles yourself. This is because kabolas shabbos is only a minhag and lighting the shabbos candles is you mitzva, so it better to do the mitzva yourself. However since you are not eating where you are lighting you must benefit from the light of the candles.
However if it will cause you to miss borchu, and they don’t say it again after davening, than you can ask the hostess to include you in her candle lighting. You will have to make sure that your home has light wherever you will go on Friday night, so you won’t trip etc.
An important point to remember if you are going to light at home- If you are afraid that you won’t get back home before the candles go out, you have a number of options. Either add oil (if possible) to the candles, light with longer candles, or you can turn on some electric lights in your house, right after you light your candles and include them in your candle lighting. This way when you get home after the meal, you will derive benefit from what you lit. (The reason this works, is that although we don’t make a bracha when lighting electric candles, as it a machlokes, we may rely on those opinions and include it in to our candles so we can derive benefit from them.) Note: A woman that wants to do this should turn on the electric light before she says the bracha, as she may not do melacha after she says the bracha.