The Seder of lighting-How to light

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The Seder of lighting:

The attire:[1] A married man is to wear a gartel when lighting the Chanukah candles. One wears one’s usual [weekday] hat and clothes and not his Shabbos garb. See end of Halacha 18! [Some[2] are accustomed to wash their hands prior to lighting the candles. Others[3] are accustomed to immerse in a Mikveh prior to lighting.]

Gathering one’s family:[4] One is to gather his family for the candle lighting. Many Rabbanim and Chassidic Rebbe’s are particular to light the candles at a time that an abundance of people have gathered, and come to watch the lighting. However, the Rebbe Rayatz, acted on the contrary, and was displeased when non-family members were around for the candle lighting.[5]

Recite all blessings:[6] One only begins to light the candles after reciting all the blessings. [This applies to all nights of Chanukah.[7]] See next Halacha!

Light from left to right:[8] On the first night one sets up and lights a candle at the extreme right [of the Menorah]. On the second night one adds a candle adjacent to it [to the left of the previous night’s candle].[9] One begins the blessing [and subsequent lighting] with this added candle, which is on the furthest left side, and then continues to kindle the remaining candles from an order of left to right.[10] This same order is followed on the third night, in which one adds a candle adjacent to the two previous candles, and begins the blessing and lighting with that additional candle, and then continues to light from the left to the right. The same applies for each and every subsequent night. In conclusion, it come out that one always recites the blessing on the additional candle of that night, as this candle signifies the miracle, being that as each day passed the miracle grew greater. [This applies whether the Menorah is positioned to the left of the doorpost, or the right of the doorpost, such as when there is no Mezuzah, and applies whether the Menorah is vertical or horizontal, and whether the utmost right side is further away from the doorpost or is closer to the doorpost.[11] This applies whether one is right or left handed.[12] On each night, one is to stand slightly closer to the left side, so one can begin the lighting with the uttermost left candle.[13]]

May one light his Shamash or other candle from one of the lit Chanukah candles?[14] The custom is to not light the Shamash or any other candle, including another Chanukah candle, from an already lit Chanukah candle. See Halacha 20B!

May one light the first candle and have another light the rest?[15] [In a time of need[16]] one may have one person recite the blessings and light the first candle and have others light the remaining candles.[17] [However, initially, one is to light all the candles himself and not delegate the lighting of other candles to other people.[18] For this reason one is not to delegate his child to light one of the Chanukah candles, even if one desires to educate him in the Mitzvah. One may however have the child light the Shamash, which also is a slight Mitzvah.[19]] See Halacha 4!

Fully lighting the wick:[20] One is not to remove his hand from the wick until majority of the wick, which is above the oil, has caught fire.

Remaining close to the candles:[21] One is to remain close to the burning candles for about half an hour [except for Erev Shabbos]. [It was the custom of the Rebbe Rashab to stay near the candles and learn Torah.[22] He would learn Gemara.[23]]



One is to wear his regular weekday garb upon lighting, although married men wear a gartel. One is to gather his family, recite all the blessings and then light from left to right. One remains near the candle for a half hour.



Does one fulfill his obligation if he lit from right to left instead of from left to right?[24]



With which hand is the candle to be lit?

Those who are right handed are to light the candles using their right hand.[25] Those who are left handed are to use their left hand.[26]


Sparks of Chassidus

The light of Moshiach:[27]

During the time of the candle lighting, the Or Haganuz [the light which was hidden by creation] is revealed. This is the light of Moshiach. 


Listening to the candle’s message:

A saying of the Rebbe Maharash: One should listen closely to what the Chanukah lights have to say.



[1] Kav Hayashar 96; Yifei Laleiv 2:5; Kaf Hachaim 675:8; Sefer Haminhagim p. 158 [English]

Other customs: Some are accustomed to wear Shabbos clothing during the lighting. [Likkutei Maharich; See Sefer Yeish Nochalin of Shelah; Piskeiy Teshuvos 676:5]

[2] See Admur 432:12; M”A 432 and Machatzis Hashekel ibid

[3] Tiferes Tzevi Y.D. 27; Piskeiy Teshuvos 676 footnote 24

[4] See Rama 672:2; M”B 672:10]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 676:5

[5] Toras Menachem 15:314; See Igros Kodesh 24:280; Sefer Haminhagim p. 70 footnote 10

[6] Rama 576:2 in name of Maharil; Sefer Haminhagim p. 158 [English]

[7] Biur Halacha 676:2 “Vayivareich” in name of Beis Yosef and Darkei Moshe

[8] Michaber 676:5; Maharik Shoresh 164 based on Mordechai in name of Rebbe Meir; Minhag Rinuss brought in Taz 675:6 and Terumos Hadeshen 106; Drashos Maharil Chanukah; Darkei Moshe 676:2; Custom of Arizal as brought in Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Chanukah 19:4; Shaar Hakavanos 108; Siddur Admur; Sefer Haminhagim p. 159 [English]; Kaf Hachaim 676:31 that so is the final Halacha; See Aruch Hashulchan 676:11-13; Shevet Halevi 6:83; Piskeiy Teshuvos 676:6

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is to one is to always light the candles from right to left. [Minhag Astreich in Taz ibid and Terumos Hadeshen ibid; Tzemach Tzedek 66; Manuscript of son of Raavad in name of Eliyahu Hanavi] Other Poskim rule that he is to light starting with the candle most adjacent to the doorpost. [Rashal 85, brought in M”A 676:4; Gra] Accordingly, one will always begin with the same candle each night [which is the first candle lit on the first night] and at times one will go from right to left, and at times from left to right, depending on the position of the Menorah. For example, if one is lighting in front of a door and placing the Menorah by the wall of the left doorpost, then he begins lighting on the farthest right-hand side, and lights from right to left each night. If he is lighting inside the room, behind the door and he places the Menorah on the wall which is on the right-hand side [opposite the Mezuzah] then he sets up the Menorah on the left-hand side, and lights from left to right each night.

[9] Poskim ibid; Beis Yosef ibid “One always begins with the added candles, as it

[10] This is done in order to one turn to the right. [Michaber ibid; Yuma 58; Maharil 40; M”A 676:5]

[11] M”A 676:4 in name of Beis Yosef; Darkei Moshe; Elya Raba 676:9; Kaf Hachaim 676:32

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that he is to light starting with the candle most adjacent to the doorpost. Hence, when one is lighting if one is lighting in front of a door and placing the Menorah by the wall of the left doorpost, then he begins lighting on the farthest right-hand side, and lights from right to left each night. [Rashal 85, brought in M”A 676:4; Gr”a] Due to this, some Poskim rule one is to position the Menorah vertically to the doorpost, hence causing that there is no candle that is closer to the doorpost than another, and one may begin with the left according to all. [Bach 676; M”A ibid; M”B 676 in name of Mateh Moseh; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 676:6]

[12] Beir Moshe 5:128; Piskeiy Teshuvos 676:6; Dinei Iter 20:2; Shevet Halevi 8:151; Shraga Hameir 7:9-3

[13] M”B 676:11

[14] Rama 574:1

[15] Rama 671:7 regarding the lighting in Shul and the same applies for the lighting at home, as explained in M”A 671:11; Rashal 85; M”B 671:49; brought in Kaf Hachaim 671:82

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that when lighting at home one must light all the candles himself. [Levush 671] Some Poskim rule that a Baal Nefesh is to suspect for this opinion. [Mor Uketzia; Machazik Bracha 671:12; Shaareiy Teshuvah 671:13; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 18; Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[16] Biur Hagr”a; M”B 671:48; Kaf Hachaim 671:80; This certainly applies in order to suspect for the “other opinions” brought in previous footnote.

[17] The reason: As the main Mitzvah is fulfilled when a single candle is lit and the remaining candles are only Hiddur Mitzvah. [M”B 671:49; Kaf Hachaim 671:81]

[18] M”B 671:48 in name of Gr”a; This certainly applies in order to suspect for the “other opinions” brought in previous footnotes.

The reason: this is due to the rule of Mitzvah Bo Yoser Mibeshlucho.

[19] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 18; Kaf Hachaim 671:83

[20] Mahariy Bruno 39; Pischeiy Teshuvah; Kaf Hachaim 673:53

[21] Sefer Haminhagim p. 159 [English]; Toras Menachem 2:618; Shulchan Menachem 3:281; Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair “The main Mitzvah is to remain near the candles for a half hour”; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:394; Piskeiy Teshuvos 676:5

[22] As the idea of learning Torah is especially connected to Chanukah, as the Greeks desired to abolish Torah learning. [Rebbe ibid]

[23] Toras Menachem Reshimos p. 323; Sichos Kodesh 55735 1:284

[24] Shulchan Gavoa 676; Kaf Hachaim 676:33; See M”B 676:9

[25] See Admur Kama 2/3-6; Basra 2/4; 206:8

[26] Shraga Hameir 7:9; Piskeiy Teshuvos 677:6; Dinei Iter 20:3; See Tzemach Tzedek Orach Chaim 4/6 and 5/8 regarding Netilas Yadayim; Admur 183/7 that a lefty is to hold the Kos Shel Bracha in his left hand; 651/14 that a lefty is to hold the Lulav in his left hand; So writes also Rav Ginzberg in Haaros Ubiurim 783 p. 74

[27] Rav Pinchas of Koretz, student of the Baal Shem Tov; Bnei Yissachar Kislev Mamar 2

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