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Kindling Hanukkah Lights Before and After Shabbat

12/11/2020 02:48:56 PM


Unlike with other festivals that coincide with Shabbat, Shabbat lights and Hanukkah lights are lit separately, each having their own blessings recited. In order not to violate the observance of Shabbat, all of the candles must be lit at sunset (today, 4:28pm) The Hanukkah candles must be lit first because once the Shabbat candles are lit, Shabbat has begun and no new fire is permitted to be kindled. Since the Hanukkah lights must last into the night, long-lasting Hanukkah lights are needed for Friday night. 

The principle of kindling no fire during Shabbat also applies on Saturday night for the end of Shabbat. Shabbat lasts until nightfall (one hour after sunset, 5:22pm) and no fire may be kindled until Shabbat has ended with the evening Maariv and Havdalah services. Therefore, one must wait until Shabbat has officially ended before Havdalah and kindling the Hanukkah lights.

The purpose of kindling the lights of the hanukkiyah is not only to remind those who are lighting it of the miracles that are commemorated by Hanukkah, but also to make the miracles known to the larger non- Jewish public. In Aramaic (the spoken language of the rabbinic period), this is called "pirsumei nisa" publicizing the miracle.” The way that this requirement is fulfilled is by kindling the lights of the hanukkiyah so that they can be seen by passersby, either directly in front of a street-facing window or within sight of one. If kindling the lights of the hanukkiyah cannot be done in this way for danger of creating a fire, then this requirement can be overlooked. Safety and preservation of life always comes first in Jewish tradition and the law would never require us to practice a ritual in a way that would put life or property at risk. Nevertheless, every effort should be made to kindle the Hanukkah lights in a place where they could be seen by the public.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom & Happy Hanukkah!

Wed, April 14 2021 2 Iyyar 5781