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Rav Moshe Feinstein: One does not recite a blessing. Rav Aharon Lichtenstein: One does recite a blessing. Both rabbis agree that one can use incandescent (preferably unfrosted) light bulbs in a "pressing situation," (eg. fire hazard, or you don't have candles). Ask your rabbi for practical applications. Regarding the second part of your question: ...


Men and women are both obligated in the Mitzva of Shabbat candles and saying the blessing. Women have precedence to ensure the Mitzva is fulfilled because they are more often at home preparing the house on Friday afternoon. (Shulchan Aruch OC 263:2-5 and Mishne Torah, Hilchos shabas ch. 5)

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