Halacha for Sunday 17 Kislev 5782 November 21 2021

Lighting the Chanukah Candles

The Mitzvah of Lighting Chanukah Candles
There is a Mitzvah to light Chanukah candles throughout all eight nights of Chanukah (beginning from next Sunday night). The Sephardic custom is to light one set of Chanukah candles per house. The Ashkenazi custom, however, is that every member of the household lights his own Chanukah candles.

The Amount of Oil
When lighting Chanukah candles, one should be certain to put in enough oil so that they will remain lit for at least half an hour from the initial lighting time. Similarly, if one is using wax candles, care should be taken that they should be long enough to burn for at least half an hour after the appropriate candle-lighting time which is when stars appear in the sky. There are some multi-colored candles on the market made especially for small Menorahs which do not last for half an hour; one should abstain from using such candles. On Friday afternoon when Chanukah candles are lit earlier than usual, more oil should be added, as will be explained, G-d-willing, in a following Halacha.

The Proper Order for Lighting
On the first night of Chanukah one should light the candle to the extreme right of the Menorah. On all subsequent nights, the new candle should be lit first followed by the candle(s) lit on the previous night(s). Thus, the proper direction for lighting Chanukah candles is from left to right such that the new candle that is added every night due to the additional miracle is lit first.

The Mitzvah is Performed by Lighting
Our Sages taught us in the Gemara in Tractate Shabbat (23a) that the mitzvah of the Chanukah candles is performed through the lighting of the candles and if the candles are extinguished, one is not obligated to rekindle them. This means that the main Mitzvah is through lighting Chanukah candles which will innately have the ability to burn for half an hour. Therefore, if the candles were extinguished due to a cause non-existent at the time the candles were lit, for instance, if the door or window were opened suddenly and a gust of wind blew out the flames, one is exempt from rekindling the flames. Even so, it is an extra special Mitzvah to relight any candle (without a blessing) that has been extinguished if it is still within a half hour of being lit.

However, if the candle was extinguished before the halachic timespan of half an hour due to an intrinsic reason, for instance, because it was lit in a windy place or it was not filled with enough oil, one is obligated to relight the candle, albeit without a blessing.

Benefitting from the Candles
One may not derive personal benefit from the Chanukah candles. Thus, one may not use the light of the candles to aid in counting money or reading a book. After the candles have been lit for half an hour, however, one may use the light for whatever one pleases. Nowadays when electricity is common, we do not usually derive any benefit from the Chanukah candles in any event.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha

Lighting the Chanukah Candles

The Mitzvah of Lighting Chanukah Candles There is a Mitzvah to light Chanukah candles throughout all eight nights of Chanukah (beginning from next Sunday night). The Sephardic custom is to light one set of Chanukah candles per house. The Ashkenazi custom, however, is that every member of the househ......

Read Halacha

A Guest On Motza’ei Shabbat Chanukah

Question: If one is staying as a guest at one’s parents’ or in-laws’ home for Shabbat Chanukah, where should one light Chanukah candles on Motza’ei Shabbat? Answer: Regarding a married individual who is staying as a guest at his father’s home, according to the Sephar......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Boarders, Guests, Soldiers, and Yeshiva Students Regarding Chanukah Candles

Question: If one will be away from home as a guest during Chanukah, how should one act regarding lighting Chanukah candles? Similarly, what is the law regarding a soldier who will be at his military base during Chanukah? Answer: If one is away from home during the holiday of Chanukah and stays a......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Married Children Staying with Their Parents and One Staying in a Hotel

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that although one who has no one lighting on his behalf at home (for instance, because he has no family or because his family is with him) and is staying as a guest in a friend’s home on Chanukah should have been obligated to light candles in one&rsqu......

Read Halacha

Washing One’s Hands After Taking a Haircut

Question: Is one obligated to wash one’s hands (Netilat Yadayim) after taking a haircut? Answer: Our Sages list various situations where one must wash one’s hands. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 4) states: “The following activities require one to wash one’s hands: ......

Read Halacha

“Al Ha’Nissim”

Starting from the Arvit prayer on the first night of Chanukah (this year, 5782, starting from tonight, Sunday night) “Al Ha’Nissim” is added in the Amida in the middle of the Blessing of Thanksgiving (“Modim Anachnu Lach etc.) as it is printed in all Siddurim. Even if mos......

Read Halacha

The Meaning of Chanukah as it Applies to Us

We have already discussed the essence of the miracle of Chanukah which was that when the wicked Greeks threatened the Jewish nation, the sons of the Hashmonai family rose up against them and were victorious. They then chose a king for the Jewish nation from their priestly family (of Kohanim). Fro......

Read Halacha