When To Light The Menorah

The Daily Halacha Moment - Time to Light The Menorah 🕎


‎״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן

‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

When is the proper time for one to light the menorah?


Answer:

The proper time for kindling the Chanukah lights is at the conclusion of sunset, which is tzet hakochavim (about thirteen and a half minutes after shkiyah.) [1] Some have the custom to light earlier.


One who is unable to light the Chanukah lights at tzet hakochavim and onwards may light them as early as from after plag haminchah (one and a quarter Halachic hours before tzet hakochavim). One who does so should make sure to have enough oil or wax in the menorah for the lights to burn until half an hour after tzet hakochavim. This leniency should only be relied on in *extenuating* circumstances. If one did so, and is able to light again after tzet hakochavim, he should relight the menorah at the proper time (without a beracha). [2]


If the optimum time has passed, one may light at any point the entire night with a berachah until dawn (alot hashachar). [3] However, after alot hashachar, one may no longer light with a berachah. [4]


Even when lighting at the proper time, one must place sufficient oil (or wax) in his menorah that will burn for at least thirty minutes. [5]


Sources:

[1]. Shulchan Aruch 672 §1; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:7; Kaf HaChaim §2; Shemesh U’Magen 1:31–32; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 43:1; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 62.

[2]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 69, which explains the Shulchan Aruch. See also Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 98, which states that a berachah should not be recited if one is lighting at plag haminchah. See also Yalkut Yosef, Chanuakah, p. 216, in the footnotes, in the name of Shemen Afarsamon 2:15.

[3]. Shulchan Aruch §2. The Mishnah Berurah §11; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:7; Kaf HaChaim §26; and Tefillah LeMoshe 2:49 state that one may only recite a berachah if at least one other person in the house is awake. However, Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 64; and Halichot Olam vol. 1, p. 63 state that one may even light with a berachah if everyone in the house is sleeping. However, even according to Chazon Ovadia, it is preferable to wake up someone else in the house to be present during the lighting. See also Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, pages 248–262, and Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 2:81, which discusses this subject at length.

[4]. However, Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 103, in the name of Chacham Ovadia Yosef, as brought in Kovetz Kol Sinai, adds that one should light without a berachah, even after alot hashachar, if it is still before netz hachamah. This is so that one may at least fulfill his obligation according to the Ravya, in the name of Tosafot, who holds that one may light during the day if he missed lighting at night, even though one may not rely on this view to make a berachah.

[5]. Shulchan Aruch 672:2.

Adapted from the Laws Of The Holidays - Nacson


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