Halacha for Wednesday 20 Kislev 5780 December 18 2019

Lighting the Chanukah Candles

The Mitzvah of Lighting Chanukah Candles
We have explained previously that there is a Mitzvah to light candles on Chanukah. Both men and women are equally included in this Mitzvah.

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.

8 Halachot Most Popular

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

The Pesach Seder-“Maror”, “Shulchan Orech”, and “Tzafun”

Maror Everyone is obligated to eat a Kezayit (olive’s volume, approx. 27 grams) of Maror on the night of Pesach. There are several kinds of vegetables that one may use for Maror, however, the predominant custom today, especially among Sephardic Jewry, is to use the leaves and stalks (spines) ......

Read Halacha

Magid-Motzi-Matzah

The order of the night of Pesach printed in Haggadot is as follows: Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah. Magid Upon reaching the point of the Seder entitled “Magid,” the entire household shoul......

Read Halacha

Hallel on the Night of Pesach-The Laws Regarding Men and Women

The Tosefta (Chapter 3 of Sukkah) states: “There are eighteen days and one night throughout the year when the (complete) Hallel is recited, as follows: The eight days of the Sukkot holiday, the eight days of Chanukah, the first day of Pesach as well as the first night of Pesach, and on the hol......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach

One may not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since vessels which have been used to cook in or have had hot Chametz placed in them have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Thus, just as we separate between meat and dairy utensils all year long, we must likewise separate between the utensils we use all year......

Read Halacha

Arriving Late to or Skipping Some Portions of the Megillah Reading

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha

Koshering Sinks and Kitchen Countertops

We have previously discussed that just as one should designate vessels for milk and meat respectively, likewise, regarding the holiday of Pesach, one should not use one’s regular Chametz vessels that were used all year round; rather, one should designate special kosher for Pesach vessels. N......

Read Halacha