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?

  • This duplicates part of judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7605. Close as duplicate?
    – msh210
    Jan 18, 2012 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. Jan 18, 2012 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, 2012 at 22:48
  • @jake, ah, good point re reason vs. provenance.
    – msh210
    Jan 19, 2012 at 0:18

2 Answers 2


The oldest source I could find is the Likutei MaHarich - (c. 1900). 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.

  • Notably not published until 1965 though. The Rebbe mentioned it in 1975 (Likkutei Sichot, vol. 11, p. 289). R. Menashe Klein (Mishneh Halakhos 7:35) says that this is either because of your rationale or because its a rishonic minhag for chanukkah candles to light one per member of the household.
    – user25970
    Nov 21, 2022 at 3:20

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.

  • 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, 2012 at 4:01
  • This is a new development but it has nothing to do with the number growing. Before electric lighting, hiddur mitzvah meant that women were asked to light as many candles as possible. Early achronim offer rationales for 5,7,10, etc., with the general principle that more is better.
    – user25970
    Nov 21, 2022 at 3:17

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