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Chanukah Guidelines

Thank you to Intern Rabbi, Rabbi Aryeh Richter, for compiling this brief synopsis of the laws and customs of Chanukah. Wishing you all a Yom Tov filled with incredible light and joy. We look forward to seeing you all at the Shul Chanukah Chagigah Thursday night at 6:00pm. Kindly register asap >>

When to Light
- The time to light starts at sunset, it is best to wait until it begins to get a bit dark before lighting (approx. 15-20 minutes after sunset).

- If one cannot light at the proper time, he may light the menorah as long as people are awake in the house.

Duration
One must use candles (or oil) that would burn for at least 30 minutes after nightfall (tzeis hakochavim). If one used proper candles and lit in the proper place, yet the flame burnt out before the above time, he does not have to relight the candles, although he may do so without reciting another beracha.

Obligation
According to Ashkenazic custom, it is a form of hidur (beautification of the mitzvah) for all members of the household to light their own menorah. This includes all members of the home who have reached the age of chinuch (approximately 6 years old).

Location
- The mitzvah to light Chanukah candles is fulfilled only at the place of residence.
- If one is visiting another and staying overnight, one should light his menorah where he will be sleeping. Alternatively, one may join the lighting of the host by contributing a nominal amount towards the oil and wicks.
- Outside of Israel, the generally accepted minhag is to light inside the house. One should place the menorah in a place where the family members can see it. If one has a window which faces a public street (and the family members can still see the candles) one should place the menorah there.
- In a home which has more than one menorah lit, one should be careful that each menorah is kept enough of a distance from the other, so that each menorah is distinguishable.

Oils and Candles
All oils, wicks, and candles are kosher for neiros Chanukah; however, it is best to use oil (since the miracle of Chanukah occurred through oil) and wicks that produce a nice flame.

Procedure
- On the first night of Chanukah one candle is lit beginning on the right side of the menorah. Each subsequent day one more candle is added to left of the previous day’s candle. When lighting the menorah, one begins with the new candle (moving left to right).
- The candles are lit for the sake of publicizing the miracle of Chanukah and not for the sake of providing light (unlike Shabbos candles). Thus, one should not use the candles for personal use. To avoid the possibility of deriving personal benefit from the light, the custom is to light one extra candle (called the Shamash) from where one can drive benefit.
- This extra candle should not be directly aligned with the rest of the candles. (Some use the “shamash” to kindle the rest of the menorah, others light is as a separate candle, either way is an acceptable option).
- On the first night of Chanukah three berachos are recited before kindling the first candle. On all subsequent nights, only two berachos are recited- the beracha of shehechiyanu is omitted. The song of Haneiros Hallalu (הנרות הללו) and Maoz Tzur are recited after the candles are lit.
- There is a custom to avoid doing work while the candles are burning.

General Halachos and customs for the 8 days of Chanukah
- Although there is no specific mitzvah of simcha (celebratory joy) on Chanukah, there is a custom to be joyous and partake of celebratory meals. When zemiros are sung, the meal becomes a seudas mitzvah. It is proper to share Torah thoughts at the meal as well.
- There is a custom to eat dairy items on Chanukah. This is to commemorate the miraculous victory that Yehudis had over the Greek general after serving him a dairy meal.

Other Customs Include
- Spinning dreidel
- Giving out Chanukah gelt
- Eating foods fried in oil (latkes and doughnuts)

Halachos Pertaining to Teffilah and Birkas Hamazon on Chanukah
Starting at Mincha on Erev Chanukah (Sunday 12/2) through the rest of the days of Chanukah the following sections of davening are omitted:
- למנצח מזמור לדוד יענך (Shacharis prayer between Ashrei and U’va L’zion)
- תחנון (Shacharis and Mincha)
- צדקתך צדק (Mincha on Shabbos)

Al HaNissim - על הנסים
- In the Amida (Shmona Esrei) of all teffilos, al HaNissim is added after the beracha of modim before saying Ve’al Kulam. The following is a guide for one who mistakenly omitted it from its proper place:
- If one has not yet uttered the name of HaShem in the beracha of ve’chol hachaim, al hanisim should be said and continue as normal.
- If one already said the HaShem’s name in the Beracha of Vechol Hachaim, the following should be added at the end of Elokai Netzor prior to taking the three steps back.
הרחמן הוא יעשה לנו נסים ונפלאות כשם שעשית לאבותינו בימים ההם בזמן הזה. בימי מתתיהו בן יוחנן...
- If one concluded the Shmona Esrei without reciting al Hanisim, the tefila is NOT repeated.
- In Birkat Hamazon, al hanisim is added after the beracha of node lecha prior to ve’al ha’kol. The following is a guide for one who mistakenly omitted al hanisim from it proper place:
- If one has not yet uttered the name of HaShem in the be’racha of al ha’aretz ve’al hamazon, he/she should recite al hanisim at that point and continue as usual.
- If HaShem’s name was said, then the following should be added after במרום (bamarom):
הרחמן הוא יעשה לנו נסים ונפלאות כשם שעשית לאבותינו בימים ההם בזמן הזה. בימי מתתיהו בן יוחנן...
- If one concluded birkat hamazon without reciting al hanisim, he/she does NOT repeat it.

Hallel הלל
The complete Hallel is added to the Shacharis teffilah every day of Chanukah (even on Rosh Chodesh).
Chapter 30 of Tehilim (מזמור שיר חנוכת הבית לדוד) is added after the normal shir shel yom.

Shabbos Chanukah
- On Erev Shabbos, the Chanukah menorah is lit prior to the Shabbos candles. One must make sure that there is enough oil (or large enough candles) to ensure that the Chanukah lights burn until 30 minutes after nightfall (approx 90 minutes in total).
- On Motzei Shabbos the order of Havdalah and kindling the menorah is subject to dispute. One should follow his family minhag. If one doesn’t have or is unaware of the family minhag, Havdalah should be made first (although either way is perfectly acceptable).

Sat, December 15 2018 7 Teves 5779