Sh’mini Atzeret Candle Lighting

Sh'mini Atzeret Candle Lighting

The laws for lighting candles on Sh’mini Atzeret are similar to those for Shabbat. These laws also apply to Simḥat Torah.

The exception is that the custom of the waving of one’s hands over the flames and covering the eyes while the blessing is recited is not done as on Shabbat, because a flame can be transferred on Sh’mini Atzeret as on the other festivals, and there is no need to have lit the candles before reciting the blessing.

The blessing is:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְו‍ֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל יוֹם טוֹב.

Barukh attah adonai, eloheinu, melekh ha-olam, asher kidd’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivvanu l’hadlik neir shel yom tov.

Praised are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign of the universe, who, sanctifying us with divine commandments, has commanded us to kindle the festival lamp.

This is followed by the She-heḥeyyanu (also written as shehechianu) blessing, which is recited on Sh’mini Atzeret and Simḥat Torah:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶּה.

Barukh attah adonai, eloheinu, melekh ha-olam, she-heheyyanu, vekiyamanu, vehigiyanu lezman hazeh.

Praised are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this occasion.


In addition a special Yizkor candle is lit just prior to the formal Sh’mini Atzeret candles by those who will be remembering loved ones no longer living.

There is no blessing recited on the kindling of this candle, although many prayerbooks include appropriate devotional material to recite just before lighting the memorial candle.

The same blessing and procedures are used for lighting candles on Simḥat Torah, with the exception of lighting a Yizkor candle.

Adapted with permission from The Observant Life.


  • The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Jews distills a century of thoughtful inquiry into the most profound of all Jewish questions: how to suffuse life with timeless values, how to remain loyal to the covenant that binds the Jewish people and the God of Israel, and how to embrace the law while retaining an abiding sense of fidelity to one’s own moral path in life. Written in a multiplicity of voices inspired by a common vision, the authors of The Observant Life explain what it means in the ultimate sense to live a Jewish life, and to live it honestly, morally, and purposefully. The work is a comprehensive guide to life in the 21st Century. Chapters on Jewish rituals including prayer, holiday, life cycle events and Jewish ethics such as citizenship, slander, taxes, wills, the courts, the work place and so much more.

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