Chanukah Checklist

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Chanukah Checklist

  1. Chanukah Customs:
  • Meals: Increase in meals and festivities each day of Chanukah. Sing praise and song during the meals.
  • On Shabbos Chanukah, increase in foods more than a regular Shabbos.
  • On Rosh Chodesh Teves one is to increase in foods more than a regular Rosh Chodesh.
  • Eat cheese on Chanukah.
  • Eat foods that are cooked with oil during Chanukah.
  • Chanukah Gelt: Parents are to give Chanukah Gelt to their children every day of Chanukah, with exception to Shabbos. On the 4th or 5th night they should give a double portion. On Friday or Sunday one is to give a double portion on behalf of Shabbos. One is to give his students Chanukah Gelt. Spouses should ask for Chanukah Gelt from each other.
  • Charity: Increase in giving charity during Chanukah.
  • Dreidel: It is customary to play Dreidel during Chanukah. However, one is certainly to avoid gambling with large sums of money or valuable items.
  • Cards: The Chassidic masters spoke ardently against playing cards, saying that it contains much impurity.
  1. Chanukah prayers:
  • Tachanun is omitted beginning from Mincha of the 24th of Kislev, until the last day of Chanukah.
  • A mourner may lead the services on Chanukah, except for the reading of He is however to say the Kaddish after Hallel.
  • Al Hanissim: We recite Al Hanissim all eight days of Chanukah during Birchas Hamazon, within the Birchas Haaretz, and by Shemoneh Esrei within Birchas Modim.
  • By Maariv and Shacharis, we do not announce Al Hanissim prior to Shemoneh Esrei. Rather, upon the Chazan reaching Yaleh Veyavo he recites those words aloud.
  • Hallel: The complete Hallel is recited each day of Chanukah.
  • After reciting Hallel, half Kaddish is recited. On Rosh Chodesh Teves, the complete Kaddish is followed after Hallel.
  • This is then followed by the Torah reading.
  • Torah reading: On the 1st day, the reading begins from “Beyom Kalos Moshe”. The Kohen reads until Ubiyom Harishon while the Levi and Yisrael read from Ubiyom Harishon.
  • On the second day of Chanukah and onwards, the Kohen and Levi read from the Karban of the current day while the Yisrael reads from the next day’s Karban.
  1. Setting up the Menorah:
  • One is to use olive oil and cotton wicks for the candles.
  • One is to use wax candles for the Shamash.
  • Each candle is to contain enough oil to last at least 30 minutes after nightfall.
  • The candles are set up starting from the far-right end of the Menorah. The Shamash is placed slightly higher than the other candles.
  • The Menorah is set up inside one’s home, by the doorway of a room, adjacent to the doorpost opposite the Mezuzah.
  • The Menorah is to be between three and ten Tefach [24-80 centimeters] from the ground.
  • Each person lighting is preferably to light by a different doorpost. Children are to light by the doorpost of their bedroom.
  1. The lighting:
  • Beginning from sunset, one is not to do Melacha or eat a meal until the candles are lit.
  • After sunset, begin lighting the candles. If this is not possible, the candles may be lit with a blessing until day break, so long as there are people still awake.
  • One wears the regular weekday garb of hat and jacket during the lighting.
  • Married men light wearing a Gartel.
  • Prior to the lighting one recites three blessings on the first night, two blessings on every subsequent night.
  • Only after the blessings have been recited, does one begin lighting the candles.
  • One begins lighting the candle to the far left, and hence lights from left to right.
  • One does not light any candle, including the Shamash, from an already lit Chanukah candle.
  • After all the candles are lit, one sings Haneiros Halalu.
  • One remains near the candles for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Women may not do work during these thirty minutes.
  • The Menorah may not be moved until 30 minutes have passed from after nightfall. One may move the Menorah once this time has passed, prior to extinguishing.
  • The candles may not be extinguished until 30 minutes have passed from after nightfall.
  • One may not benefit from the candlelight’s of the Menorah during these 30 minutes.
  • After the 8th night, all leftover oils and wicks are to be burnt on their own.
  1. The Shul lighting:
  • The Menorah is lit in Shul with all the blessings, just like at home.
  • One does not fulfill his obligation with the Shul’s Menorah lighting, and thus one must relight at home with the blessings. Nevertheless, on the first night, the person who said the blessings is not to repeat the blessing of Shehechiyanu unless he is lighting also on behalf of others, such as his wife and daughters.
  • On the first night, a mourner is not to light the candles in Shul.
  • The Menorah is to be placed by the southern wall of the Shul, and is to face from east to west.
  • One is to light the Menorah with his front facing South, and his back facing North.
  • One is to set up the candles starting from the end furthest from the Aron. One then adds one more candle each night to the left of that candle, and begins lighting from the candle on the extreme left and then continues lighting towards the right.
  • On each day of Chanukah, the Shul Menorah is lit with both blessings of “Lehadlik Ner Chanukah” and “Sheasa Nissim Laavoseinu”.
  • On the first night of Chanukah one also recites Shehechiyanu.
  • The prayer of Haneiros Halalu is sung after the lighting in Shul just as it is done at home.
  • The Menorah is lit after Kaddish Tiskabel of Mincha, prior to the prayer of Aleinu.
  • On Motzei Shabbos the Shul Chanukah candles are lit after Maariv [before Aleinu], prior to Havdala.
  • The Chabad custom is to leave the Menorah lit consecutively for 24 hours.]


  1. Erev Shabbos Chanukah:
  • The Chanukah candles are lit prior to the Shabbos candles.
  • The earliest time one can begin to light the Chanukah candles is from Plag Hamincha. Plag Hamincha is 1.25 Zmaniyos hours prior to sunset.
  • If possible, Mincha is prayed with a Minyan prior to lighting the Chanukah candles.
  • One is to place enough oil in the candles for them to remain lit for at least 30 minutes after nightfall.
  • If one fears to light the Menorah by the doorway due to children and the like, it is to be lit by the window or table.
  • One is to place a Sefer and the like on the chair or stool that is supporting the Menorah, if one desires to move it on Shabbos.


  1. Lighting on Motzei Shabbos:
  • In shul: First Chanukah lighting, then Havdala.


  • First say Havdala
  • Recite a Bracha Achrona on the wine
  • Light the Chanukah Menorah
  • Say Vayiten Lecha
  1. The Rebbe’s Mivtzaim:
  • Place effort to influence that a Menorah is lit in each and every Jewish home.
  • Boys of all ages should light their own menorah.
  • Gather children together and explain to them the miracle of Chanukah.
  • Arrange that each Jewish boy and girl receives Chanukah Gelt (coins), and that they in turn also give to their friends.
  • Increase in ones learning of Torah during the holiday

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