Chapter: 12 – Lighting the Chanukah Candles

1 – The Mitzvah to Light Chanukah Candles

Our Sages instituted [a mitzvah] to light candles all eight days of Chanukah, when the Jewish people celebrated and gave thanks to God for helping them defeat the Greeks, liberate Jerusalem, and purify the Holy Temple.  In addition, the oil … Continue reading

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2 – The Number of Candles and the Custom of Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin

The mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles is a very beloved one.  In general, there are two levels of mitzvah performance: carrying out the basic obligation and mehadrin, fulfilling the mitzvah more elaborately.  When it comes to Chanukah candles, however, there … Continue reading

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3 – The Sefardic Custom

There are different customs regarding the actual fulfillment of mehadrin min ha’mehadrin.  According to Sefardic tradition, the main hiddur (adornment) is to light as many candles as corresponds to the day [of Chanukah that one is currently celebrating].  Even if … Continue reading

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4 – The Ashkenazi Custom: Men, Women, and Children

According to Ashkenazi custom, all members of a household must light their own menorahs in order to fulfill mehadrin min ha’mehadrin.  [That is], on the first night everyone lights one candle and on the eighth night everyone lights eight.  We … Continue reading

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5 – The Blessings and HaNeirot Halalu

Our Sages prescribed that we say two blessings before lighting the Chanukah candles, so that we focus on the two aspects of the mitzvah.  The first blessing relates to the mitzvah itself and its formula is as follows: “Blessed are … Continue reading

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6 – Family Participation in the Mitzvah

One should try to gather the entire family for candle lighting, so that everyone can hear the blessings, answer “Amen,” and witness the lighting.  Besides the fact that this glorifies the mitzvah and publicizes the miracle, it is necessary for … Continue reading

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7 – The Candles

All types of oils and wicks are kosher for Chanukah candles, even those that are unusable for Shabbat candles.  After all, the purpose of Shabbat candles is to illuminate the house, and if they do not light well, there is … Continue reading

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8 – Electric Lights

After electricity was discovered, the question was raised: can one fulfill the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles with electric lights? In practice, most poskim hold that one cannot use electric lights, because they do not have wicks and oil like … Continue reading

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9 – Lighting is the Mitzvah

The mitzvah is fulfilled by lighting the candles, not by having them lit.  This is evident from the formulation of the blessing: “Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the Chanukah candle.”  Therefore, if … Continue reading

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10 – The Prohibition of Benefitting from the Candles

It is forbidden to benefit from the light of the Chanukah candles, whether for mundane purposes, like counting money, or sacred ones, like studying [Torah].  The reason being that the candles are designated for the mitzvah of Chanukah, and just … Continue reading

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