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Ask the rabbi Shabbat and Holidays Candle Lighting

Chanukah candles

Rabbi Yoel LiebermanKislev 16, 5778
148
Question
Growing up, I was told by my father that although we light the menorah from left to right, when setting up the oil and wicks, it should be done from right to left. What is the source for that?
Answer
ב"ה Shalom There are 3 primary opinions in regard to the order of lighting the candles. The opinion of the Shulchan Aruch is that we begin the first night with the candle at the far right and each night we add a candle to the left of the candle from the previous night. Then we light from left to right. This opinion is followed the Sefardim, most Ashkenazim and Yemenites. This is also the minhag of the Ari z"l. (See Shulchan Aruch 676- סי' תרע"ו :ה) There is a second opinion of the Maharshal and the Vilna Gaon that if the Menora is to the right of the doorway, then we light from the candle closest to the door way and we light from right to left. if the Menora is to the right of the doorway, again we start from the candle closest to the doorway, however this time from right to left. (שו"ת מהרש"ל סי' פ"ה,ביאורי הגר"א סי' תרע"ו) And a 3rd opinion of the Taz that we always start we light from left to right. Meaning in a situation that the menorah is to left of the doorway, the candle closest to the doorway is on the left, and for each new day we will add a candle to the right of the previous day. Since, we always light first the candle of the new day, we light from right to left. ( ט"ז סי' תרע"ו:ו) I found no particular mention of setting the candles one way and lighting another direction. Perhaps the minhag you mentioned is a special one. In any case, a person fulfills the mitzvah according to any of the above customs. (חיי אדם סי' קנ"ד: כג, ביאור הלכה סוף סי' תרע"ו) These opinions are all nicely summed up and explained in a sefer called ימי החנוכה , in chapter 6 written by a Rabbi with a name similar to yours. Have a happy Chanuka
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