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A Summary of Chanukah Laws


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We say Full Hallel on all 8 days of Chanuka.

Chanuka Torah Reading

Torah reading for Chanuka is from Parshat Naso, Bamidbar 7 (known as Parshat HaN’si’im) and the beginning of ch. 8. It is the portion of the Torah that tells of the dedication (CHANUKA) of the Mishkan during the time of Moshe Rabeinu and the generation that came out of Egypt. On Chanuka, we celebrate the rededication of the Beit HaMikdash during the time of the Chashmo- na’im – hence the choice of Torah reading.

On “regular” days of Chanuka, one Torah is read from; three people are called to the Torah. On Rosh Chodesh (two days, this year), two Torahs are read from; four Aliyot (3+1). On Shabbat Chanuka, two Torahs; 7 Aliyot plus Maftir – see further.

First day of Chanuka – WED 25 Kislev – December 21st

On each day of Chanuka, the portion of the Nasi (tribal leader) of the day will be read. On the first day, the reading starts with the introduction to Chanukat HaMizbei’ach (the dedication of the Mishkan) and continues to include the day one Nasi of Yehuda (Nachshon b. Aminadav). Specifically, for the first Aliya, we read the 11-pasuk intro with the allocation of wagons and oxen to the Levi families for carrying the parts of the dismantled Mishkan (except for K’hat, which carries the sacred vessels on their shoulders). Some communities begin with the 6-pasuk portion of Birkat Kohanim which immediately preceeds parshat HaNesi’im. This is appropriate because the battles and dedication of the Second Beit HaMikdash, which we celebrate with Chanuka, was done by the Kohein family of Chashmona’im.

This year, we read Parshat Mikeitz in the first Torah – 7 Aliyot, as usual for Shabbat. Then, in a second Torah, we read the 6-pasuk portion of Reuven’s Elitzur b. Sh’dei-ur for the Maftir (day 4 of Chanuka). The Haftara, which is exactly the same as the one for Parshat B’haalot’cha, is from the book of Zecharia and includes the description of a vision of a golden Menora. It ends with a message that is as fresh today as it ever has been. “Not through armies and not through might , but through My (HaShem’s) spirit…”

Yes, we need an army, and tanks and planes, etc. etc. But our ultimate and foolproof weapon against our enemies is the spirit of G-d which we are granted when we remain faithful to HaShem, keep His Torah and Mitzvot, and live by His values.

8th day of Chanuka – WED 2 Tevet – December 28th

ZOT CHANUKA: First and second Aliyot split the Nasi’s portion of the 8th day, Gamliel b. P’datzur of Menashe.
For the third Aliya, we read the portions of days 9, 10, 11, and 12, and then the summary of the gifts from all twelve days, and then the first part of B’haalot’cha, the portion of the Menora. The name ZOT CHANUKA comes from the Torah reading.

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The following general overview of Chanukah laws – Chag Sameach!

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