Abridged Laws of Chanukah 5783

  • Chanukah begins on Sunday evening, 18th December 2022.
  • Our practice is for a husband and wife to fulfil their obligation with the same menorah and for each other member of the household to light their own menorah, each with candles corresponding to the night of Chanukah.
  • The candles should be lit in a safe place!
  • As with all mitzvot, children from the age of around 5/6 are encouraged to do the mitzvah themselves and therefore should have their own menorah.  Clearly this should be done safely and with appropriate supervision.
  • One can light with any sort of (non-scented) candle but many try to light with oil just like the menorah of the Temple.
  • The candles should be lit after around 4:45pm, as soon as possible to demonstrate our enthusiasm for the mitzvah.
  • If one cannot light until later, candles can be lit any time it is still night but ideally when people are around to see the candles.
  • The procedure for lighting is as follows and can be found on pg. 732 in the green siddur.
    • The menorah should ideally be placed in a window visible from the street with the candles beginning on the right side of the menorah (from the perspective of the person lighting).
    • The shamash (candle used to light others) is lit and held while three berachot (blessings) are recited – (1) “asher kideshanu…lehadlik ner shel Chanukah” on the mitzvah, (2) “she’asah nisim” on the miracles of Chanukah and (3) “shehechiyanu” giving thanks for bringing us to this moment in time.
    • The candles are then lit, starting with the newest (leftmost) candle.
    • Haneirot halalu” and “Ma’oz tzur” are sung.
  • The Chanukah lights should be lit with enough oil/wax to remain alight for at least half an hour after dark.  If they accidentally go out during this time they should be relit (except on Friday night) without a berachah (blessing).
  • Candles should be lit in the home where one is sleeping rather than where one is only eating that day.
  • On Friday afternoon, Chanukah candles are lit before Shabbat candles, before 3:39pm.  One should make sure to light them after around 3:10pm.  (In cases of great need, candles can also be lit from this time on other nights of Chanukah.)
  • On Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night), Chanukah candles are lit after Maariv, and preferably after Havdalah.
  • Al hanisim” is said every day of Chanukah in the amida, as well as in bensching. However, if al hanisim was forgotten, one does not repeated either the amida or bensching.

Rabbi Ben Kurzer, Kislev 5783

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