web analytics
May 5, 2015 / 16 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


A Summary of Chanukah Laws


Menorah 2

The following general overview of Chanukah is from the Torah Tidbits, a publication of OU Israel. This will be a combination of a halachic review, practical suggestions, useful information, and more. Do not take anything written here as “the last word,” if you have any doubts, check things out with your Rav.

General Pointers

In general, one should prepare his Chanukiya (candelabra) during the afternoon so that there will not be a delay in lighting at the proper time. This is especially so on Friday, Erev Shabbat-Chanuka because things get kind of hectic as Shabbat approaches. (And especially not so for Motza’ei Shabbat lighting – Obviously, no preparation for lighting after Shabbat may be done on Shabbat).

Some have the custom of setting up their Chanukiya in the morning for the evening (this goes for every day – except Shabbat, of course). This not only serves the practical purpose of being ready to light on time without undue delay, but it also commemorates the practice in the Beit HaMikdash called Hatavat HaNeirot, whereby the Kohen (Gadol) tended the Menora and prepared it in the morning for kindling in the late, late afternoon. Since our lighting on Chanuka directly commemorates the lighting of the Menora in the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) , this suggestion provides a nice “added touch” to the mitzva and symbolism of Chanuka lighting.

AL HANISIM is added to every Amida (18 Benedictions prayer) and Birkat HaMazon (Blessing after a meal) through-out Chanuka. (There is no reference to Chanuka in Bracha Mei’ein Shalosh.)

Forgetting AL HANISIM does NOT invalidate either the Amida or Birkat HaMazon. That means that neither is to be repeated because AL HANISIM was omitted.  However, if one realizes the omission before the end of the Amida, AL HANISIM can be said right before YIHYU L’RATZON, with the modified intro below. In Birkat HaMazon, an omitted AL HANISIM becomes a HARACHA- MAN, right before HARACHAMAN HU Y’ZAKEINU, as follows (there are variant texts for this)…

POINT  Brachot (including SHECHECYANU) should be recited BEFORE beginning to light the candles. This complies with the general rule for Brachot of Mitzva, that they be recited immediately before performance of the mitzva, if possible. This means, that even on the eighth night, don’t start lighting the candles until you finish both brachot.

POINT  Opinions differ, but a common practice is to place the first candle (or oil cup) in the right side of the Chanukiya. If one lights at the doorpost, then the first candle should be closest to the doorpost, even if it is the left side of the Chanukiya. From the second night on, the custom (one of the customs) is to “load” the Chanukiya from right to left, but to light it, left to right. At the doorpost, one loads it from the doorpost out, and lights it starting with the candle closest to the doorpost. Loading and lighting direction is not crucial to the performance of the mitzva, but there are reasons for the various practices.

POINT  The essential performance of the mitzva of Chanuka Lights is the lighting of a single candle each night. The custom that we follow of increasing the number of candles each night is considered HIDUR MITZVA (enhancement of the mitzva). This is not to suggest that anyone should follow the original practice of (just) one candle each night. The Jewish People “across the board” accepted upon itself – a long time ago – the current practice of lighting the number of candles that correspond to the day of Chanuka. One practice that has developed because of this, is to begin reciting HANEIROT HALALU after the first candle is lit, while lighting the others. Alternatively, one can wait until the lighting is done to say HANEIROT HALALU.

POINT  One should not just light the Chanuka candles and then go on to business as usual, but rather one should look at the candles for a while, ponder G-d’s miracles, spend some time with the family talking about the message of Chanuka and how it relates to our time, play a little dreidel, sing a song or two, have a snack, have some Chanuka fun.

POINT  It is recommended to learn some Torah, share a Dvar Torah, have a family shiur, or something like that, right after candle lighting (or sometime in the evening). The decrees of the Greeks included a ban on learning Torah. Our celebration of Chanuka marks our freedom from Greek oppression, including the ability to learn Torah in public without fear. So let’s do just that!

POINT  There is a dispute as to whether the bracha ends NER SHEL CHANUKA or NER CHANUKA. One should follow his own (or family) minhag (custom), if you have one. If not, ask your Rav which wording you should use. (A third opinion is to combine the words with L’HADLIK NER SHEL’CHANUKA.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Summary of Chanukah Laws”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Aftermath of Texas attack by terrorists in attack now claimed by the Islamic State.
ISIS Claims ‘Credit’ for Attack at Mohammed Cartoon Contest
Latest Judaism Stories
Safar-050115-Califlower

Cauliflower is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with – it blends so easily into whatever dish I am preparing.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

It’s an interesting idea, that love is illustrated by understanding another’s needs.

Niehaus-050115

“Keeping” Shabbos means to guard it and make sure to keep every aspect and detail of it.

Winiarz-Shaya-logo

Pesach is a time when we can grow in this perspective. But merely spending a week working on something will not leave any lasting impression on us.

“There is a diamond necklace that I wear on special occasions,” Mrs. Miller told her husband. “It was recently appraised at $6,000. If need be, we can give that as collateral.”

Morah for a parent is connected to shemiras Shabbos because the Shechina shines on, and through, the Sabbath.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bear a sin because of him.” – Vayikra 19:17   When the Torah mentions the obligation to rebuke a fellow Jew, it ends with the words “and do not carry a sin because of him.” The Targum translates […]

The Bais Halevi answers that we must properly define what is considered to be “in the middle of a mitzvah.”

They had realized they would be far from civilization and kosher food and had packed plenty of fresh and canned food as well as making sure there was a microwave in their room which they knew how to kasher.

He was deeply saddened by the thought of her going to her final resting place alone and that it appeared as if she knew no one and had no family who cared about her.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

The Debt Lives On
‘The Orphans’ Mitzvah To Repay Their Father’s Debts’
(Ketubot 91b)

Rabbi Fohrman asks what’s the connection between animal sacrifices and leaving crops for the poor?

Putting parents before oneself is a step toward putting the more abstract concept of God before self

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

More Articles from OU Israel
Menorah 2

The following general overview of Chanukah laws – Chag Sameach!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/judaism-101/a-summary-of-chanukah-laws/2011/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: