By: OU Kosher Halacha Yomit Team
If someone lives alone, and after lighting Shabbat candles they realize they forgot to light Chanukah candles, is there anything they can do?
The Mishnah Berurah (679:1) writes that in this situation there is a difference between a man and a woman. It is assumed that a man does not accept Shabbat upon himself when he lights Shabbat candles. So long as there is still time before sh’kiat hachama (sunset), he may light Chanukah candles and recite the brachot. However, women customarily accept Shabbat when they light candles, unless they specifically make a condition to the contrary. As such, women cannot light Chanukah candles after lighting Shabbat candles.
Can anything be done? If she can find a Jewish neighbor who has not yet accepted Shabbat, she may ask them to light Chanukah candles for her in her house. The neighbor should recite the first bracha (L’hadlik Ner) and she then recites the bracha of She’asa Nisim. If she can only find a non-Jew, it would not help. A non-Jew cannot light Chanukah candles on behalf of a Jew (see Rambam Hilchot Chanukah 4:9).