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Section: Questions   Category: Halacha
Halacha - Candle lighting
Submitted by Paul Meistrich  Answered by Rav Peretz Moncharsh

Actually one may light candles any time from Plag HaMincha, one and a quarter halachic hours before sunset, until sunset. However the custom in most of the world is to light at least 18 minutes before sunset to avoid any risk of desecrating the Shabbos. The Gemora says that there is a period of time that is questionable whether it is technically day or night, and during this time period one must be strict both ways. While most opinions hold that this time period begins after sunset, there is a minority opinion that it is the 18 minutes concluding at sundown. While the Halacha does not follow this opinion, due to the severity of the prohibition of transgressing the Shabbos and the ease with which one could potentially run late, the custom has become for women to try to follow this stringent position. However, certainly if one was unable to light before 18 minutes she should follow the accepted Halacha and light the Shabbos candles up until the actual time of sunset. Since clocks are not necessarily accurate, however, one should be very careful to light at least a couple of minutes before the published time of sunset.

posted:2008-08-06 11:57:00

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Visitor Comments: 2

Rabbi Peretz Moncharsh, 2009-05-13 14:21:46
Even lighting a minute or two before sunset is sufficient according to many opinions, especially since even after shkiya is only a safek.
Tzvi Schneider, 2009-05-04 16:17:50
What about 'Tosefes-Shabbos'? Shouldn't that prohibit her to light candles close to sunset?
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