Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles

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The Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles:[1]

[A year after the Chanukah miracle, the Sages instituted to light candles annualy in commemoration of the miracle.[2] Lighting Chanukah candles is one of the seven Rabbinical commands.[3]] One must be very careful in the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles. [One who is careful in this Mitzvah, merits having children who are Torah scholars.[4]]


The purpose of lighting the Chanukah candles:[5]

In Jewish law, we find several Mitzvos associated with lighting candles, such as lighting Shabbos candles, lighting the Temple Menorah, lighting candles in a Shul, etc. There is however a major difference between the purpose of these lightings and the lighting of the Chanukah candles. By all other Mitzvos of lighting, the purpose is to achieve something as a result of the light, such as we light Shabbos candles for “Oneg and Shalom Bayis.” We light the Menorah in the Temple as a testimony to the world that the Shechina resides on the Jewish people. However, the Chanukah candles are not lit for any external purpose, and contain a purpose in it of themselves, to shine its light to people. Now, although an integral purpose of lighting Chanukah candles is to publicize the miracle, nevertheless, this is not the main purpose behind the lighting, as is seen from the fact that even in cases that the miracle will not be publicized, one must still light the candles. This shows that its main purpose is intrinsically to shine.


[1] Michaber 671:1

[2] Shabbos 21b

[3] Keser Torah [Harav David Vital 1560] Tanya chapter 53

[4] Gemara Shabbos 23b as explained by Rashi, brought in M”B 671:1; Kaf Hachaim 671:1

[5] Likkutei Sichos 35 p. 318 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:263-265]

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