If my wife is out of the country for an extended trip, am I required to light Shabbat candles in the house if I am home alone? Does it matter how long she is going to be away? Or that the time difference between her and me is five hours?

  • As this is for you a practical question, please CYLOR rather than relying on what you read on this site.
    – msh210
    Oct 27, 2011 at 22:42
  • My wife is a doctor, and in residency she frequently came home late enough Friday night that I did the lighting for us.
    – Ze'ev
    Aug 23, 2012 at 19:12
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/36318/…
    – Shmuel
    Apr 17, 2014 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


Of course, as the comment notes, consult your local Orthodox rabbi.

But see here for a halacha sheet shown before and approved by Rav Shternbuch:

If one’s wife is not home must the husband light the candles?

Seeing that men are obligated to light Shabbos candles as much as women are, if the wife is not present it is up to the husband to light the Shabbos candles.

To proffer a reason: The purpose of lighting candles is kavod shabbat, shalom bayit, and oneg shabbat. (See here.) To cite a definition of the last item:

Tosefos tell us that the Shabbos meal should be in the presence of the candles, for that is oneg Shabbos.

If so, if a man's wife is away, he still has this obligation of lighting the candles.

See also this, from Rabbi Doniel Neustadt:

If one's wife is not home for Shabbos, it is preferable that the husband himself light candles and not one of the daughters (8)

Footnote 8 reads:

8 Oral ruling by Harav M. Feinstein (quoted in The Radiance of Shabbos pg. 7); Shmiras Shabbos K'hilchasa 43:fn46.

No distinction was made between the wife lighting or not lighting elsewhere.

  • 2
    The basic reason given for why women usually light is: "they're usually home and in charge of what's going on in the house." But if she's away, the obligation still stands on whomever's home.
    – Shalom
    Oct 28, 2011 at 0:13
  • 1
    But the example given on that Web page is one of a woman in the hospital. She'd not be lighting. Perhaps the halacha would be different if she's lighting where she is. (I'll grant you that the halacha is probably the same, since the man, too, needs k'vod Shabas, shalom bayis, and oneg. But the halacha you quote from that Web page is not a great source for this question IMO.)
    – msh210
    Oct 28, 2011 at 0:24
  • i agree that one could read it like that, but I don't think that was the intent. It was first to answer the question and then to go on to that tangent. Oct 28, 2011 at 1:21
  • True: plus, the additional source you've now added is clearer.
    – msh210
    Oct 30, 2011 at 4:11

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