Electric Shabbat Candles

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Dear Rabbi Simon
You recently mentioned that in times of need, eg hotel/hospitals etc, one can fulfil the mitzvah of nerot Shabbat (Shabbos candles) by making the berachah on electric lights.
Can this be used at home where a person misses candle lighting time and therefore can’t strike a match – say a person oversleeps or forgets etc, can she still recite the berakhah on the existing electric lights?

Dear Candi
One can recite the blessing and fulfil his/her mitzvah of Shabbos candles using electric lights (in a case of need), however the mitzvah must still be performed before the arrival of Shabbat itself. One cannot say the blessing “who has commanded us to light,” unless s/he is going to kindle the lights (or has done so immediately before). Also, if the mitzvah has been performed by someone else, s/he cannot recite the blessing. Moreover, once Shabbat has arrived, one is commanded not to light, so the blessing is not appropriate.
The only succour I can hold out is that according to some authorities, the “penalty” mentioned in the sources for one who neglects this mitzvah is applicable only to one whose failure to light the candles compels him/her (et famil) to eat in the darkness. If there is a source of illumination in the home all the same, the severity of the oversight is diminished (dimmed?).
I hope this is helpful.
Best wishes
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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