Ask the rabbi

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Candle Lighting

Placing vs lighting candles


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Adar 4, 5778
Dear Rabbi Lieberman, Your first paragraph describes the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch as calling for placing the candles from right to left and lighting from left to right. In your 4th paragraph, you say that you found no particular mention of setting the candles one way and lighting another direction. Doesn’t that opinion of the Shulchan Aruch constitute a particular mention of setting the candles one way and lighting another direction? Thank you.
ב"ה Shalom. Allow me to say that I am really impressed with your discerning eye which paid so much attention to what I wrote. I reread what I wrote and I saw the reason for possible confusion. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention. Nonetheless, my intention in the first paragraph was merely to point out a convenient way of placing the candles. That is also the way I understand the Shulchan Aruch that the intention was to indicate that the new candle of each evening is placed to the left of the last candle from the previous night. It was not meant that when we pour the oil or place the candles in the Menora before lighting them, that on the eight night for example we must first place the candle in the Menora all the way to the right and then put in the rest to the left. For if a child member of the household, for example would want to put in blue candles with a space in between them and them put in white candles between the blue, I don't think there would be any problem with that. The mitzvah is lighting the candles and for each one to follow the family custom of the direction of lighting. I hope I made myself clear this time. Thank you All the best
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