Lighting Candles on Yom Tov - Part 2

 Courtesy of Ohr Olam Mishnah Berurah

Question: If someone is using a floating wick, is there any problem with inserting the wick into the hole of the cork disc on Yom Tov?

Discussion: Many Poskim rule that inserting the wick into the hole of the disc is not considered melachah in any way and is permitted. However, some consider this tikkun mana (fixing a utensil) and prohibit it.145

Another possible concern is because the pieces of cork sometimes do not come fully finished. Sometimes they are not completely detached from one another, or the hole has not been fully punctured. It is prohibited to separate the discs or finish the hole on Yom Tov. Therefore, in deference to the stringent opinion, and due to these other factors, one should puncture the discs (such as by inserting the wicks) before Yom Tov.

Bottles of oil should also be opened before Yom Tov, as opening the seals of such a bottle on Yom Tov usually involves melachah.146

Question: How should one remove a used wick in order to light on the second night?

Discussion: The type of wicks used today for lighting Yom Tov candles are generally unusable once they have been lit once. They are therefore considered muktzeh machmas gufo. Although it is permitted to move muktzeh for purposes of eating or for other forms of enjoying Yom Tov, today, with the advent of electric lights, one does not really benefit from the Yom Tov candles. Therefore, some Poskim do not permit removing the wicks from the cups with one’s hands.147 Although there are Poskim148 who argue that this should be permitted, it is preferable to carry the cup or candlestick to the garbage, turn it upside down, and allow the wick to fall into the garbage without having to remove it by hand.149 If one is using wicks that fit into a thin metal pipe, the pipe may be moved to the garbage, and then some other utensil (such as a new wick) may be used to push the old wick into the garbage.

Question: Today we have electric lights that provide for all of the light we need on Yom Tov. Does this have any bearing on the halachos of lighting Yom Tov candles?

Discussion: For the past several decades, Poskim have grappled with the issue of lighting Shabbos candles when electric or other artificial lights are lit. Since the purpose of lighting Shabbos candles had always been to provide light for Shabbos, yet they are no longer a significant source of light, it seems somewhat questionable whether lighting candles constitutes the fulfillment of a mitzvah.

The issue is even more complicated when it comes to lighting Yom Tov candles on Yom Tov itself. Lighting candles is permitted on Yom Tov only for actual benefit, and these candles seemingly provide no actual light since there is already electric, or other, lighting. It is therefore questionable whether the melachah of kindling is being done for a legitimate purpose. However, despite the above concerns, the widespread custom is indeed to light candles even in the presence of electric lighting. Poskim explain that since these candles are lit in honor of Shabbos or Yom Tov, it is indeed considered a Yom Tov need and it is permitted to light them.150

There is seemingly more of a problem when Yom Tov falls on erev Shabbos, such that Shabbos candles must be lit on Yom Tov. According to numerous Rishonim,151 even when an eiruv tavshilin has been set, the permissibility of performing melachah on Yom Tov for the sake of Shabbos is based on the concept of ho’il – meaning, since the melachah might be needed by guests who suddenly arrive on that same day. Tosafos152 explains that it is nevertheless permitted to light candles for Shabbos because late in the day, there is immediate benefit from the light of the candle. It thus emerges that one is benefiting on Yom Tov itself from the candle. Although, in contemporary times with the advent of electric lights, one does not derive any benefit from the candle on Yom Tov itself, the rationale of Tosafos still applies, since it is possible to move the candles to a place that does not have light. Therefore, ho’il will still apply.153

Question: When lighting candles for Yom Tov, if a person makes a mistake and recites the berachah for Shabbos candles, should another berachah be recited?

Discussion: It depends whether the berachah was recited before or after lighting. If it was recited before lighting and one has not yet lit the candles, one should recite the berachah again with the correct wording.154 But if one has already lit the candles, even if one generally recites the berachah after lighting, the berachah for lighting Yom Tov candles should no longer be recited. Although the incorrect berachah had been recited, it is now too late to correct the mistake and recite the proper berachah.155

In any situation, if it is still within toch kedei dibbur of reciting the incorrect berachah, the error can be fixed by reciting the correct one.

Question: What if it is both Shabbos and Yom Tov and, forgetting that it was also Shabbos, I recited only the berachah for Yom Tov candles?

Discussion: In this situation, even if one has not yet lit, one should not recite the other berachah, since one has recited a berachah that is legitimate for this mitzvah.156

145 See Yom Tov Kehilchaso 11, footnote 2.

146 Bottles of oil are sealed with a tamper-proof seal. This seal is made in various ways; breaking it usually entails some melachah.

147 See Yom Tov Kehilchaso 20:9; Hilchos Moadim (Grossman) 7, footnote 10.

148 Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasah (13:23) permits removing the wick (cf. footnote 87 ad loc., citing R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, who was uncertain about this). Chut Shani (page 43) also rules that removing the wick is permitted.

149 On Yom Tov, the candlesticks are not muktzeh, as they are fit for use. They have also not become a bosis (base) to the used wick, as he has no intent for the wick to specifically be there, and also since the wick is is considered insignificant vis-à-vis the candlestick. Therefore, moving the wick in this way is considered tiltul min hatzad and is permitted.

150 See Yom Tov Kehilchaso 26:3 and footnote 8.

151 See Beiur Halachah 527:1, ד"ה ועל ידי עירוב.

152 Beitzah 22a, ד"ה אין.

153 See Kuntreis Hilchos Eiruv Tavshilin (Bodner) p. 57 and Shevus Yitchak (Ner Shabbos 6:5), citing R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, as well as Halachah Berurah XV, Otzaros Yosef p. 35 who also rules leniently.

154 Orchos Shabbos IV, 23:82, based on Mishnah Berurah 487, note 4.

155 See Responsa Maharam Brisk II:44, ד"ה ומעתה.

156 Yemei Hapesach (Shechter) p. 114 citing R’ Nissim Karelitz. See also Orchos Shabbos IV:23, footnote 171.