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Peninei Halakha > Shabbat > 04 - Lighting Shabbat Candles > 08. Those Who Live in Dormitories and Those Who Are Ill

08. Those Who Live in Dormitories and Those Who Are Ill

Boys learning in yeshiva, who live in a dormitory most of the time, are considered independent as far as candle lighting is concerned, and have a personal obligation to light candles to honor Shabbat. This is the case even if they are still financially dependent on their parents who take care of all their needs. Since the students eat together in a dining room, they have the status of one large family, that is, one of them must light candles in the dining room on everyone’s behalf. Additionally, they should make sure that there is a little light in their dorm rooms when they go to sleep. It may be enough for this purpose to rely on the hall lights or a street light. And even though they may light candles in each room with a berakha if they wish, it is unnecessary since they fulfill their obligation with the lighting in the dining room. This is the widespread custom in yeshivot.

In contrast, in a women’s dormitory, there are often many girls who want the opportunity to fulfill the mitzva of lighting candles with a berakha. Accordingly, in addition to the candles that one of them lights in the dining room, they may each light in their own room with a berakha. But in many places, there are concerns about fire and candles may not be lit in the rooms, in which case everyone fulfills her obligation with the candles lit by one of them in the dining room (it is good if the other girls also light electric bulbs in their rooms to fulfill the mitzva; see section 5).[6]

People in the hospital fulfill their candle lighting obligation with the candles lit in the dining room. A married woman in the hospital who is accustomed to light candles every Shabbat may light with a berakha in her room. If there is a hospital rule against lighting in the rooms because it would be a fire hazard, she may light in the dining room, and if necessary even in the hallway (in terms of the berakha, see section 6 above).

[6]. This is the position of SSK 45:5, 11. However, Yalkut Yosef 263:15-16 states that they should light in each room. In any case, the primary purpose of the candle lighting is to provide light for the meal, and thus the primary place for lighting is the dining room. Since the students are like one big family, one person may light for everyone.

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman