Should Yom Tov candles be lit in the Sukka over Sukkos?


Lechatchila, one should light Shabbat and Yom Tov candles where one is going to eat (Shulchan Aruch 273:7 and Mishna Berura there), which in this case is the Sukkah. However, the Talmud (Sukkah 29a) explicitly forbids keeping lit candles in a small Sukkah and this is codified in Shulchan Aruch (OC 639:1). The Mishna Berura there (sk 8) is clear that this doesn't mean the minimum possible Sukkah (7x7 tefachim) but rather any Sukkah which is small enough for there to be a risk of fire. If your Sukkah is such a risk, then you should light candles on an indoor windowsill or something adjacent to the Sukkah (where you can see them) if possible. If this is not possible, then you can light them inside but you must be sure to have them last long enough that you derive benefit from them at night (even after your meal); otherwise the brachot you said when lighting them were in vain (Shulchan Aruch OC 263:9).

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Technically, yes. Candles should be lit on the Yom Tov or Shabbos table, or at the very least in the same room (unless there is a danger, such as young children who can get hurt). Succos would be no exception (barring any danger of course). Also, the Succah is meant to be like your home so everything important should ideally be done there (including, for example, davening, if you're not at shul).

I have seen many people who light in the Succah. One solution, which we do in our home, is to get special "outdoor" candles/candle holders that protect from the wind. They often use regular tea lights.

On YT, the candles can easily be moved, so they don't have to be left out there when no one is around (shabbos becomes more complicated and it wouldn't be safe to leave candles unattended in the Succah).

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    "Candles should be lit on the Yom Tov or Shabbos table, or at the very least in the same room": do you have a source for this claim? – msh210 Sep 27 '12 at 22:16

Oh, goodness, I would say no. Please, please CYLFC (Consult Your Local Fire Chief) before doing anything risky with candles!

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    Well, that would really depend how your sukkah is built. Obviously pikuach nefesh isn't worth it, but what if your sukkah is your regular dining room sans roof? – Double AA Sep 27 '12 at 19:36
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    Not every sukkah is a fire hazard. I am not talking about where a dangerous situation would result from lighting the candles. This is purely a halachik question. – Jake Sep 27 '12 at 19:45
  • Anything involving fire is inherently a fire hazard. Adding wind to the mix, with dry conditions (necessary for being the Sukkah in the first place), increases the risk. Sure, they might blow out. Or they might ignite any number of flammable things in a typical Sukkah, ranging from the furniture to the Sechach (which is made of plantlife, hello) to the decorations, and can also threaten the house nearby. Although, I do like aaron's suggestion about "outdoor" candles/candle holders. – Seth J Sep 27 '12 at 20:37
  • How about a lantern? משנה ברורה סימן תרלט ס"ק ח ואם מטבעו הוא מצטער כשאוכל שלא במקום הנר יש להקל כשיעמיד הנר בעששית שקורין (לנטערנע) או במנורה (שקורין לאנפין) אם לא שהיא נמוכה מאוד ויש לחוש שיתקרב האור להסכך: – Double AA Sep 27 '12 at 22:34

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