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Many people, including myself, added or will add a candle on Friday night for each child that is born. Where and when did this custom originate?

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This duplicates part of judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7605. Close as duplicate? –  msh210 Jan 18 '12 at 22:21
    
@msh210 After looking at that question (which didn't come up when I wrote the question) this seems much more specific and directed then that rather general question. –  morah hochman Jan 18 '12 at 22:45
    
@msh210, It isn't really fully a duplicate. That question is why and this one is where and when. Also, I like this question; I've always kinda wondered about this. –  jake Jan 18 '12 at 22:48
    
@jake, ah, good point re reason vs. provenance. –  msh210 Jan 19 '12 at 0:18
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The oldest source I could find is the Likutei MaHarich - (110 years ago). I recall hearing that the custom started, since the Halacha is that if the lady forgot to light one week she has to add a candle in future weeks, often when a lady gave birth they were busy and forgot. (Childbirth was not as easy years ago). Due to this they added a candle and today it has become a common Minhag.

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It is a new development, adopted mostly among Hassidim and Hungarian Jews. Seems to have become more widespread in past century.

Nowadays people are relatively affluent and can afford it more than in the past.

However, the old minhag is to light just two.

Lighting additional ones, especially many, can increase hazards of the flames, especially when there are children around, and also obscures the symbolism of two lights corresponding to Zachor and Shamor that the old codes of halachah cite. Therefore careful people stick to the tradition of the old minhag and reject this new development.

More isn't always better. Sometimes more is less.

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stick to the old way, welcome to the site, and thanks for your answer, which would be much improved if you could cite a source for your factual claims (that it's a new development, more widespread in the past century; that it was adopted mostly among chasidim and Hungarians; that the old custom is to light two). You may also wish to register your username, which will afford you a better site experience. –  msh210 Feb 5 '12 at 4:01
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