Halacha for Sunday 24 Kislev 5780 December 22 2019

Some Laws Regarding Lighting Chanukah Candles

The Proper Time to Light
The proper time to light Chanukah candles is at the “emergence of the stars” which is approximately fifteen minutes after sunset this time of year. Some Ashkenazim light Chanukah candles immediately at sunset. If one has not lit at this time, one should light as soon as possible thereafter. Even if one was very delayed, one may light Chanukah candles with a blessing until dawn.

The Obligation to Light
We have already mentioned that the Sephardic custom is that only the head of the household lights Chanukah candles and the rest of the members of the household fulfill their obligation in this manner. The Ashkenazi custom, on the other hand, is that every member of the household light his own Chanukah candles. We have also mentioned that women are obligated in the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles as well. Thus, a single woman or a woman whose husband is out of town must light Chanukah candles on her own. Similarly, if a man knows that he will arrive home late at night, he may appoint his wife as his agent to light the Chanukah candles on his behalf and she should subsequently light the candles with a blessing and the husband will fulfill his obligation in spite of the fact that he is not home.

A Child Lighting Chanukah Candles  
Since the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles applies only to men and women above the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, if a child under this age lights the Chanukah candles, the adult members of the household will not fulfill their obligation through his lighting. One should therefore not allow a child to light the Chanukah candles. Rather, the head of the household should light the first candle and if he wishes, he may allow a child to light the rest of the candles according to the letter of the law (although it is preferable for the father and son to light these candles together). The extra “Shammash” candle may be lit by anyone.

Regarding the law that a child may not light Chanukah candles, some say that a child of twelve years of age may light Chanukah candles (see Zivchei Tzedek, Volume 3, Chapter 41). This law is nevertheless doubtful. Nonetheless, if it happened that a child recited the blessings and lit Chanukah candles, there is no need to extinguish them and light other ones (see Chazon Ovadia-Chanukah, page 49).

Stipulation Regarding the Chanukah Candles
The sanctity of the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles rests on the remaining oil and wicks of the Chanukah candles. One must therefore burn them after Chanukah. In order to avoid such a situation, it is appropriate that one stipulate before Chanukah that one does not intend to designate the oil and wicks for the sake of the Mitzvah. In this way, no sanctity will rest on the remaining oil and wicks and one will be free to use it as one wishes.

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

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


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

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