May one light within the 18 minutes or must it be at candle lighting time. My host claims that it’s OK to light within the 18 minutes but I don’t have any way to back up my claim that it’s not OK to light after. Help!
On one hand you are correct, that it is the correct thing to light 18 minutes (or even a little earlier) in order to accept Shabbos early, as the Mishna Berura (261-23) exclaimed, “fortunate is a person who lights 20-30 minutes before shkiya, because he performed the mitzva d’orayso according to all opinions). However on the other hand, we can’t say that she may light closer to shkiya. If she can’t light 18 minute before sunset, she should light as close to 18 minutes as she can, but not less than 2 minutes before shkiya.
Zachor V’shamor -Hilchos Kabolas Shabbos pg. 2, Poskim,