1. Channukah begins on the 25th of Kislev and lasts for eight days, which are considered days ofhappiness and praise, and during which we light the festival candles.
2. "Days of happiness" � According to some, it is fitting to honor Channukah by serving finer meals, however this is not considered as a Mitzvah Meal unless one also sings the praises of G-d at the meal. Therefore, it is certainly correct to deliver words of Torah about the festival at Channukah parties, and to sing religious songs. There is a custom to eat milk products in memory of Yehudit who served cheese to the enemy, in order to bring about their downfall. It is also customary to eat doughnuts, "latkes" and other foods fried in oil, in memory of the miracle of the flask of oil.
3. It is forbidden to fast during Channukah. Tachanun is not recited (nor on the afternoon preceding Channukah).
4.It is permitted to work during Channukah. Women have a custom not to work during the time the candles are lit (or at least for half an hour after lighting). This includes only those labors forbidden during Chol HaMoed (sewing, laundry, etc, but cooking is permitted).
5. "Praise" � during Channukah, full Hallel is said daily, and "Al HaNisim" is added to the Amidah and Grace after Meals.
6. If one forgot "Al HaNisim", one does not begin again, neither in prayer nor in grace after meals. However if one remembered before the end of the Amidah, one should add (directly before the line "Yih'yu L'Ratzon �") the formula "Harachaman Hu Ya'aseh Lanu Nisim Venifla'ot Keshem Sheasita La'Avotainu BaYamim HaHem Bazman HaZeh. Bi'Yemay Mordechai �" [and continue with the standard formula] And so too in Grace after Meals, one can add the forgotten praise before "Harachaman Hu Yezakeinu Liymot HaMashiach", with this Harachaman .
7.The complete Hallel is also said by women. Ashkenazi women recite the blessing, whilst amongst the Sephardim, some women say the blessing, and others refrain.
8.There are those that add "Mizmor Shir Hanukat Habayit L'David" during the morning service, and some also recite it during the evening service. Sephardim do not recite "Bameh Madlikin" on Shabat of Channukah.
9.The Channukah Candles – All of Israel is accustomed to light in the fashion ofthe Mehadrin Min HaMehadrin, that is, one candle on the first night (apart from the extra Shames candle), two on the second, and so on. However, if one has no other alternative, one may fulfill the Mitzvah with one candle each night per household. It is praiseworthy to use olive oil for the lights, although any type of candle is permitted (but one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah with electric lights).
10.The Sephardim are accustomed to light one "Menorah" per household, while in many Ashkenazi households each member of the house, including children,light their own "Menorah".
11.Women are obligated in the Mitzvah of Channukah lights, because they too partook of the miracle. The law of women lighting can be divided into three:
a)An unmarried women who lives in her own house – she is obligated to light whether she is Ashkenazi or Sephardi.
b)A married woman whose husband is at home � the custom in most households is for the woman to fulfill her Mitzvah via her husband's lighting. There are those, amongst the Ashkenazim, however, who hold that such a woman should/may light for herself. If the husband is absent from the house, all opinions state that she must light.
c)A woman who lives with her parents � the Sephardi custom is that only the father lights, and the children do not light at all. In an Ashkenazi home, where each person lights for him/herself, it would seem that a daughter should also light. However, many communities havea custom that a daughter does not light when living at home, which is based uponreliable sources.
12.Women who do not live at home on a permamant basis, but have not yet established their own households, such as dormitory students, or those away from home on National Service etc, create an interesting halachic question. Those Ashkenazi women who lit even in their parents' homes (as above) certainly must continue to light in such a situation. But in relation to Sephardi women, it is questionable if they fulfill their Mitzvah by their father's lighting at home, or are individually obligated to light for themselves. Rav Henkin rules that if they are financially dependent on their parents, they are included in the parents' lighting, but if they support themselves, they are obligated to light their own candles. It would seem that if there is another woman who is lighting in the house anyway (for example an Ashkenazi), one would do well to join with her lighting (by paying her a minimal amount for part of the candles, or by receiving a share in the candles as a gift through the act of physically lifting them up), and then hear the blessings from her. If the parents live in another part of the world where they are lighting at a different time, or they do not light at all, everybody agrees that the woman must light herself.
13.Several women living together in an apartment, or dormitory, who are all obligated to light, may, if they wish, join to light together (by all acquiring a part of the candles as above), and listen to the blessings from one of them.
14.One may appoint a messenger to light in one's stead in one's home.Nonetheless, the sender should try to be present at the time of lighting wherever he is (that is, in someone else's home), in order to hear the blessings and see the lights.
15.The place of lighting � Each person should light in his/her own home. Therefore, it is incorrect for many family members to light together at one of the relatives' houses, or to schedule communal candle-lighting at a Channukah party. Rather, everyone should light at home, and only afterwards hold the party or gathering. Someone dining at another's house should try to return home to light (or light via a messenger as above), but if it is impossible for them to arrive home and light while people are still out in the streets, [or awake in the house if one lights inside], so as to publicize the Mitzvah, one can light in the host's house, or join with him in his lighting (as above). And so too, someone who is sleeping away from home can light where they sleep, or join with the host's lighting.
16.It is preferable to light in the doorway, outside the house, towards the public thoroughfare, on the left (opposite the mezuzah), within 8cm of the doorframe, at least 24cm from the ground. The ideal height is less than 80cm high, but as long as the lights are less than 9.5 meters from the ground, it is acceptable. With all that being said, in many of our houses the candles can be seen more readily if lit in a window towards the street or opposite neighboring buildings, and not in the front door towards the stairwell. It is preferable to place the candles so that they will be seen by a greater number of people, while it still being obvious that they belong to your house. [There are many opinions about the placement of the "Menorah", and those in doubt should approach their Rabbi]. In dangerous times the candles are placed on the table inside the house, without them being visible from outside. There are those who light in such a way today (especially outside Israel), even in places that are not dangerous, and they have reliable sources to base themselves upon.
17.In a dormitory, each person should light in their own apartment towards the street. One could also light in the dining hall, towards the street, even when this is in another building (such as at Nishmat).
18.Someone traveling away from home should light (or join in lighting as above) in the hotel, or at the entrance to their tent. If they are sleeping outside without a roof over their heads, they should organize a minyan for the evening service, and light one "Menorah" together for everybody. It would seem that even if there is no minyan, or they did not pray the evening service, they should still light with a blessing (and some opinions argue that one only lights if one is in a "house").
19.And so too, at gatherings and Channukah functions, some hold that one should not light with a blessing because such a lighting does not fulfill the Mitzvah for anyone. Others say that one can light with a blessing [even if the person lighting has already lit at home with a blessing], as we do in a synagogue, where we light despite the fact that such a lighting does not exempt any of the participants from their own individual obligation.
20.The order of lighting � most communities are accustomed to set up the candles from right to left, with the extra candles being added from the right side of the "Menorah" towards the left, and light the candles starting from the left towards the right. It is forbidden to benefit from the candles' light, and so we add an extra called a "Shamash". This Shamash should be placed separately from the other candles, either to the side, or higher or lower. According to the law, one is not required to light in a "Menorah", and may place a row of candles on a wall. The candles should be standing in a straight line. Those lighting in the window should try to ensure that the candles can be seen from outside as well, and if the "Menorah" has a back to it, it should be placed on an angle. When lighting in the window, one sets up the candles from their right hand side (towards inside the house).
21.The candles may not be moved after being lit until the Mitzvah is finished. The time for the Mitzvah is half an hour after nightfall, however all the time that there are people out, and the candles continue to publicize the miracle, it is also part of the Mitzvah. Therefore, those who wish to extinguish or move the candles before leaving the house, should state before they light that they only intend for the candles to burn for half an hour after nightfall.
22.Ifthe candles go out (even within the first half hour) one does not need to relight them. If one wants to relight them nonetheless, the blessing is not repeated. All of this is only if the candles were originally lit in a place where they could have been expected to burn for half an hour. But if one lit in a windy place and the candles blew out, one must relight them, without another blessing, unless it was so windy that the candles would definitely blow out (when one would bless).
23.The blessings are recited (as printed in the Siddur), together with the Shehechianu, and then the candles are lit. After the first candle is lit, one recites "HaNerot Hallalu". After the lighting the custom is to sing "MaOz Tzor" and/or "Mizmor Shir Hanukat" and "Lamnatze'ach" and other prayers.
24.One does not need to remain near the candles while they burn, and may leave them immediately after lighting (if there is no safety concern of fire).
25.The time of lighting � some are accustomed to light at nightfall (tsayt hacochavim), and others before that, at sunset (shki'ah). In the times of the Talmud the last time for lighting was half an hour later. Today, when people walk on the streets much later, the last time for lighting is also much later. This is especially true for those lighting inside the house, where one can say that as long as people are awake, it is still considered the time for candle lighting. Therefore, despite the fact that "the scrupulous hasten to perform the commandments [as soon as they can]" and it is correct to light at correct time of sunset or nightfall, (each according to their custom), those who wait to light until all the family returns home in the evening have on who to rely. And if for some reason one could not light early, one is obligated to light as long as there are still people walking the streets, or people awake in the house if one lights inside. In any event it is forbidden to eat a meal from half an hour before candle lighting time (sunset or nightfall), until one lights.
26.In the event that one needs to leave the house early, one is allowed to light from "Plag HaMincha" (in Israel 5763, around 3:30pm). One must, in such a case, use candles that will burn at least half an hour into the night.
27.On Friday evening, one lights the Channukah lights before the Shabbat candles. One must use Channukah candles that will burn at least half an hour into the night. On Saturday night some say Havdallah and then light the candles, while others take Shabbat out by pronouncing "BaruchHamavdil�" and then light the Channukah candles, and only afterwards make Havadalah over a cup of wine.
With blessings for a Happy Channukah,
שיעורים נוספים ניתן למצוא בקטגוריות הבאות: הלכה
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