Halacha for Wednesday 27 Elul 5780 September 16 2020

Lighting Candles on Rosh Hashanah and the Issue this Year

The Laws of Candle-Lighting on Rosh Hashanah
On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we customarily light Yom Tov candles before the onset of Yom Tov similar to the way we light them on Erev Shabbat. If the candles were not lit before the onset of Yom Tov, a woman may even light the candles on Yom Tov itself, provided that this is done in a permissible fashion, i.e. by transferring the fire from an existing flame and lighting the candles; it is prohibited to ignite a new flame on Yom Tov, as we have previously explained in the laws of Shavuot.

The Proper Time to Light Candles for the Second Day of Yom Tov
On the second day of Rosh Hashanah as well as any other second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora (meaning the second day of Yom Tov celebrated outside of Israel for every holiday, just as two days of Rosh Hashanah are celebrated even in Israel), Yom Tov candles are lit as well.

Some have the custom to light the candles for the second day of Yom Tov of Rosh Hashanah after nightfall (i.e. approximately twenty minutes after sunset) before reciting Kiddush on a cup of wine.

The reason for the above custom is because it is forbidden to prepare anything on the first day of Yom Tov for the second just as it is forbidden to prepare anything on Shabbat or Yom Tov for weekday use. Based on this, it would seem that it is forbidden to light candles “in honor of the second day of Yom Tov” when it is still during the first day of Yom Tov.

Indeed, it is correct that one may not prepare anything on the first day of Yom Tov for the second and it is therefore prohibited to prepare the wicks, cook, or wash dishes on the first day of Yom Tov for the second for this is considered “preparing.”

Nevertheless, regarding candle-lighting, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes (Chazon Ovadia-Yamim Nora’im, page 182) that based on the words of the Tosafot and other great Poskim, one need not be concerned about the prohibition of preparing and one may light candles for the second day of Yom Tov even before sunset of the first day of Yom Tov, for this serves a purpose for the first day of Yom Tov as well since the candles add light to the house. He quotes Rabbeinu Yosef Haim zt”l (in his Responsa Rav Pe’alim, Orach Chaim, Volume 4, Chapter 23) as ruling likewise.

However, this year (Rosh Hashanah 5781), when Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbat and Sunday, it is certainly forbidden to light candles for the second night of Yom Tov before the conclusion of Shabbat printed in calendars. Those who customarily wait for Rabbeinu Tam’s nightfall to end Shabbat throughout the year should wait to light candles until this time on the second night of Rosh Hashanah as well.

Summary: Candles are lit in honor of Rosh Hashanah just as they are lit in honor of every Yom Tov: Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot. The candles should preferably be lit before sunset. Candles should night be lit on the second night of Rosh Hashanah until the conclusion of Shabbat.

The great Rishon Le’Zion Shlit”a writes (in his Yalkut Yosef- Yom Tov, page 506) that a woman who usually lights with wax candles should prepare them before the onset of Shabbat/Yom Tov since melting the wax on the bottom of the candle and sticking it to the candle-stick constitutes the prohibited work of smoothing.

Ask the Rabbi


הלכה יומית מפי הראש"ל הגאון רבי יצחק יוסף שליט"א

דין ברכת שפטרנו מעונשו של זה
לחץ כאן לצפייה בשיעורים נוספים

Recent Halachot

"תנא דבי אליהו כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא"

נדה ע"ג א'

8 Halachot Most Popular

Question: May one eat bread without washing one’s hands if one does not touch the bread with one’s hands directly and instead holds it with a napkin and like?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (107b) states: “The Sages permitted a cloth (i.e. they permitted eating bread without first washing one’s hands by wrapping one’s hands in a cloth) for those eating Terumah (meaning that during the time when the Bet Hamikdash still stood, befo......

Read Halacha

Salt on the Table

Question: Is there a halachic necessity to have salt placed on the table before reciting the Hamotzi blessing and is it necessary to observe this custom on weekdays as well? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 40a) states: “Rava bar Shmuel said in the name of Rav Chiya: One may not recite the Hamo......

Read Halacha

Eating without First Washing One’s Hands

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one may not be lenient and nullify the edict of washing one’s hands prior to eating bread; even if one does not touch the bread with one’s hands directly and merely holds it with gloves or a napkin, one may still not defy this edict. If one......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Washing One’s Hands for a Bread Meal

The Enactment of Washing One’s Hands for a Bread Meal There is a rabbinic enactment to wash one’s hands before sitting down to eat a bread meal. The Mishnah in Masechet Eduyot (Chapter 5) relates that Rabbi Eliezer ben Chanoch was excommunicated for having raised doubts about the necess......

Read Halacha


The “Asher Yatzar” Blessing vs. Birkat Hamazon

Question: In the previous Halacha, we have discussed if one becomes obligated to recite an after-blessing on food and before he does so, he uses the facilities and becomes obligated to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, one should recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing first and......

Read Halacha

A Power Outage on Shabbat

Question: Last Shabbat, there was a power outage and for six hours, we had no electricity. Later on in the day when the problem was repaired, the Plata (electric hotplate) turned back on. Is it permissible to eat the foods that were warmed on the hotplate? Answer: Regarding the aforementioned mat......

Read Halacha

Question: If one becomes obligated to recite an after-blessing after eating any food (for instance, by eating a Kezayit, approximately twenty-seven grams, of fruit) and before reciting the after-blessing, one used the facilities and becomes obligated to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, which blessing must one recite first: Should one first recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing or the after-blessing on the food one ate?

Answer: This question has already been discussed by the Maharshal (Rabbeinu Shlomo Luria, one of the foremost Acharonim who lived approximately five-hundred years ago in Eastern Poland and authored the Sefer Yam Shel Shlomo and others) in his responsa (Chapter 97) and writes that if one becomes obli......

Read Halacha

Reciting Birkat Hamazon in the Place One Has Eaten

Question: Is one obligated to recite Birkat Hamazon specifically where one has eaten bread or may one recite this blessing elsewhere? Answer: One who eats a bread meal must recite Birkat Hamazon in the place where one has eaten and one may not go to a different place and recite the blessing there......

Read Halacha