By Yosef Brecher
If someone is going away for Shabbos, how should he fulfill his obligation of hadlokas nairos?
The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 263:6) writes that if a married man goes away for Shabbos without his wife, he does not need to light his own Shabbos candles. Even when not sleeping at home, a married man is still viewed as being part of his wife’s household, and can therefore fulfill his obligation of hadlokas nairos together with her. Although the Shulchan Aruch only speaks specifically about a husband relying on his wife’s lighting at home, the Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchaso (45:3, note 12) writes that the same concept would apply to children that are still living at home. If these children are temporarily staying in another house, they are not obligated to light their own Shabbos candles. They can instead fulfill their mitzvah together with their mother’s lighting in their home.
What about an unmarried man, who does not still live with his parents? Is he obligated to light candles when staying at another’s home for Shabbos? The Shulchan Aruch Harav (O.C. 263:9) writes that a guest that is both sleeping and eating together with his host is considered to be a temporary member of his host’s household. In this case, a guest can fulfill his mitzvah of hadlokas nairos together with his host – much like a husband fulfills his obligation together with his wife. If a guest is sleeping at his host’s house but not eating there, however, he is not considered to be a temporary a member of his host’s household and therefore retains his individual obligation of hadlokas nairos. How should such a guest fulfill his obligation?
The first option would seem to be for the guest to light candles in his own private bedroom. The Biur Halacha (263:6) writes that if a person’s host has given him a private room that requires illumination in order to be used on Shabbos, then it is the guest’s obligation to light candles in his room. This is to ensure that there will shalom bayis in all the rooms that he will be using over Shabbos. As we have mentioned (Hadlokas Nairos Part 5), however, the obligation to light candles for shalom bayis is now generally fulfilled with electric lights. That would mean that the candles being lit in the guest’s private room are unnecessary and therefore do not constitute a fulfillment of the mitzvah of hadlokas nairos. In addition, a person’s host may not be comfortable with him lighting candles in a bedroom. In such a case, a guest should fulfill his obligation of hadlokas nairos by making himself a partner in the candle lighting of his host. This can be accomplished by either buying part ownership of the candles from the host (Shulchan Aruch 263:7) or, by accepting part ownership of the candles as a present from the host (Mishna Berura 263 sif katan 24).
The purpose of this column is not to render halachic decisions, but rather to provide readers with a helpful overview of basic hilchos Shabbos. All specific halachic inquiries should be asked to a local halachic authority. General questions about the content being discussed, however, are welcome and can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2013 Yosef Brecher