From what I understand the custom to celebrate a birthday with a cake adorned with candles that makes a wish on and blows out stems from a Greek ritual. As such I would like to know if any halachic authorities have discussed whether or not this should still be considered a heathen custom and therefore prohibited.

  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7470
    – msh210
    Oct 28, 2015 at 23:56
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    I believe there is a custom (possibly from kabbalah) not to blow a flame out with your breath.
    – Epicentre
    Oct 29, 2015 at 7:30
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    @epicentre, one could use their breath but they can't blow out since that sound is the name of a malach,meaning if one sneezed or said shhhh to blow it out their shouldn't be an issue (saw it in a Shu"t)
    – sam
    Oct 30, 2015 at 1:34
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    @Epicentre I've only ever heard that with regard to the havdalah candle. Sounds like a rather burdensome custom otherwise...
    – Loewian
    Oct 30, 2015 at 2:20
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2 Answers 2


Halachically Speaking - page 11 quoting Miyum Hahalacha 4:46 says one should not put candles on the birthday cake.

The practice of putting candles on a birthday cake corresponding to the celebrant’s age does not stem from a Jewish custom and should not be done

Rabbi Eli Mansour quoting Rabbi Avraham Blumenkrantz says it should not be done.

It should also be mentioned that Rabbi Avraham Blumenkrantz, in one of his Pesach digests, documents that the entire concept of "birthday candles" has its origins in ancient pagan customs, and therefore it should be avoided altogether


The Dayanim of Dinonline say

In Greek times, people on their birthday would try to find favor in the eyes of the moon goddess, Artemis. In an attempt to do so, they would make round cakes (to symbolize the full moon) and light candles on top (to symbolize the light of the moon.) They would then ask the moon goddess to grant their requests. Therefore blowing out the candles and even lighting them should not be done.

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