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Apologies if this is a duplicate, I could not find this question on the site, or in any of the suggestions. May one say a blessing on light bulbs for shabbat is for Shabbos candles (Friday night), which has very different requirements.

For Havdalah, we use a source of fire for the Beracha of "Borei Meorei Haeish". May one use a lightbulb of sorts (what types) to be Yotzei this "Lechatchila"?

Similarly, if one has no regular candles, can they make the above Beracha on just a light?

  • ",can they just be Yotzei by holding up their hands" consider clarifying the background information. – mevaqesh Jan 2 '18 at 17:24
  • Why would this be different than light bulbs for a menorah? I’ll hold off on the close vote until your response, but it does seem like a close dupe. – DonielF Jan 2 '18 at 18:02
  • The idea is not to hold up your hands but to see the difference between skin and nail on the right hand – patient Jan 2 '18 at 18:26
  • @DonielF do hold off, as Chanukah Menorah doesn't require an Avukah, see here for some discussion/comparison of the two: dinonline.org/2012/12/12/chanukah-and-havdalah-candle – רבות מחשבות Jan 2 '18 at 18:32
  • @רבותמחשבות But both require fire. Maybe you can tape two light bulbs together? :) – DonielF Jan 2 '18 at 20:21
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I found some answers online for this -- I will excerpt:

1.

The issues are essentially the same with regards to Havdala [as with Shabbat candles], and many authorities rule that one may use an electric light in place of a Havdalah candle in a time of need (see She’arim Metzuyanim Be-Halachah 96:6; Az Nidberu 8:2; Rivevos Ephraim 3:599). In fact, it is reported that Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky would always use an electric bulb for Havdalah, in order to demonstrate how strongly he felt that electricity is to be treated exactly like fire from the perspective of halachah. However, some object to the use of electric light bulbs for havdalah purposes, because of the glass casing that covers the fire. Note also that for purposes of havdalah, only an incandescent light bulb, which has the full status of “fire,” can be used. For Shabbos candles, many authorities write that even fluorescent sources can be used.

2.

Some poskim allow one to use an electric light in place of a Havdala candle in a time of need.[21] In fact, it is reported that Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky would always use an electric bulb for Havdala in order to demonstrate how strongly he felt that electricity is to be treated exactly like fire from the perspective of halacha.[22] Nevertheless, there are those authorities who discourage the use of an electric light for Havdala. Among their opposition to is the fact that the blessing recited upon the Havdala candle includes the word "fire" which seems to imply the need for actual fire, not merely light. As such a light bulb would not be acceptable according to this view.[23] Even among the authorities who permit the use of electric lighting when needed many would disqualify the use of fluorescent bulbs as they work differently than standard light bulbs. [24]

3. Much the same (but includes reference to a flashlight.

4. Both 1 and 2 are essentially identical to this one.

  • Good answer. I was hoping for a discussion of "fire", as in the Beracha, which you have provided. I have read only the excerpts you brought, but do any of these also address the concept of Avukah vs. Ner? Can we consider something to be both a candle and multiple candles held together? Thanks again. – רבות מחשבות Jan 2 '18 at 18:39
  • @רבותמחשבות The rav who told me that I could use a specific electric candle for havdalah for my wife allows her to say the bracha on that type of candle for Shabbat. Note that it must be battery operated and not a plug in. – sabbahillel Jan 2 '18 at 22:59
  • @sabbahillel what would the reasoning of that Rav be for both the single candle, as well as the battery-only? – רבות מחשבות Jan 3 '18 at 0:02
  • @רבותמחשבות The incandescent bulb is treated as a fire as the answer shows. Each bulb is a source of fire and touching them would not allow the wicks or the fire to combine as is done in a candle. The battery is required in order to have the source of the fire be part of the candle. If it were plugged in, the fuel would disappear. I think that a gas stove is similar to the plug in the wall. This is from memory only so I cannot go into details. – sabbahillel Jan 3 '18 at 0:09

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