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

The Laws of Glassware and Pyrex Regarding the Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have written that according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, glassware does not absorb any flavor from foods placed in it and thus, there is no prohibition to use a glass vessel for meat and then after it is washed well, to use it for dairy (although the Rama does rule st......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils?

Question: Must one designate two different sets of glassware for dairy and meat as one would with other utensils? Answer: We have already established in the previous Halacha that one is obligated to designate two separate sets of dishes and flatware for dairy and meat, for dishes used with either......

Read Halacha

The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on a New Garment

Question: When is the appropriate time to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases? Answer: The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Milk and Meat Dishes and the Laws of Giving Putrid Taste

When one cooks meat in a pot, the walls of the pot absorb some of the food cooked in it and is therefore considered “meat”. If dairy is later cooked in the same pot, the pot will release some of the meat flavor contained in its walls into the dairy food and will therefore prohibit the en......

Read Halacha


Reciting the “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on Similar Types of Fruit

In the previous Halacha, we have established that one should recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on citrus fruits, such as grapefruits or oranges, which are not so readily available throughout the year. When one merits eating from these fruits the first time during the year and the fruits......

Read Halacha

Reciting the “Shehecheyanu” Blessing on Grafted Fruits

Question: May one recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing the first time during the year one eats citrus fruits, such as grapefruits or oranges? Answer: We must first preface this discussion with the law that when one eats a new fruit that one has not yet partaken of that year, after recit......

Read Halacha

The Prohibition of Milk and Meat Mixtures

The Torah states three separate times (Shemot 23 and 34; Devarim 14): “You shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.” Our Sages (Chullin 114a) expounded that each of the times this prohibition is mentioned comes to teach us another law: The first time it is mentioned teaches us ab......

Read Halacha

The “Three Weeks”

The three-week period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av is dubbed by our Sages “Between the Straits,” based on the verse (Eicha 1, 3), “All of her enemies overtook her between the straits.” Our Sages tell us that these three weeks between the Seventeenth o......

Read Halacha