12. Unmarried People who Live Alone

https://ph.yhb.org.il/en/05-13-12/

As a rule, the laws of candle-lighting for independent, unmarried people are the same as those for a family unit (section 9 above). Therefore, if an unmarried person has his own home, regardless of whether it is owned or rented, he must light candles there. If he is visiting friends at candle-lighting time but will return home to sleep, he cannot fulfill his obligation at his hosts’ home. Rather, he must return home to light. (See sections 6-8 above for the proper times to light candles, le-khatĥila and be-di’avad.)

If an unmarried person will be staying for the night as well, his status depends on where he is sleeping. If he will be sleeping in the hosts’ home, he should pay the host the value of a pruta toward the cost of the candles (or the host may give him a share in the candles as a gift) and he can fulfill his obligation through the host’s lighting. According to Ashkenazic custom, it is better if he lights his own candles with the berakhot, thus fulfilling the custom of mehadrin min ha-mehadrin. If the unmarried guest was given a separate residence for sleeping, according to all customs he should light there with the berakhot.[20]


[20]. See Shabbat 23a; sa 677:1. According to Ashkenazic custom, every member of the household lights his own candles, in order to beautify the mitzva. In contrast, according to Sephardic custom (above 12:3), only one person lights in each household. According to Ginat Veradim (cited in Kaf Ha-ĥayim 677:3), as long as the guests are completely dependent on their hosts, there is no need to pay the value of a pruta toward the cost of the candles, because we can assume the hosts give them a share in the candles as a gift. However, according to many Aĥaronim, including mb 677:1, the guests should still contribute the value of a pruta or otherwise acquire a share in the candles. The only case in which they do not need to do so is if they are permanently dependent on the host, as is the case with live-in workers. Even if the guest is one of the homeowner’s children, and thus there is good reason to claim that he is considered a part of the family, since the guest is an independent adult, it is proper for him to pay toward the cost of the candles and meet the requirements of the more stringent position on the matter.

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