Thursday, November 5, 2009

Berachah before or after lighting Shabbat candles?


We recite a blessing when lighting Shabbat candles.

There is some debate as to whether one recites the blessing before or after lighting, because of a specific problem: Reciting the blessing qualifies as an act of accepting Shabbat, and so one should not light the candles after reciting the blessing. On the other hand, one who is performing a Mitzvah generally recites the blessing for the Mitzvah before performing the Mitzvah.

To address this problem, many women light the candles but don't look at them (often holding their hands before their eyes), and then recite the blessing, and then look at the candles. Since the essence of the Mitzvah is to benefit from the light of the candles, and they recite the blessing before they benefit, this qualifies as reciting the blessing before the Mitzvah.

(Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 263:5)

Have a great day,

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