Candle Lighting Times
||Before lighting Shabat candles|
1. Where to Light
The Sages state: “Ĥanuka candles should be placed at the doorway, outside the home. One who lives on an upper floor places them in the window facing the street. In times of danger, it is sufficient to place them on the table”
15. Candle Lighting at Public Gatherings
Many people glorify the miracle by lighting Ĥanuka candles wherever people gather, like at weddings, bar mitzvas, bat mitzvas, Ĥanuka parties, and lectures. But may one recite a berakha over the lighting at such an event?
14. Lighting in the Synagogue
It is customary to light Ĥanuka candles in the synagogue, reciting all of the berakhot there that we recite at home. It is customary to light the candles between Minĥa and Ma’ariv.
13. Prior to Lighting
One may not begin to eat within half an hour before candle-lighting time, which is at tzeit. Likewise, one may not begin any type of work during the half-hour period before candle-lighting.
12. Setting up the Candles and Lighting Them
When setting up the menora, one is faced with several choices: Where, preferably, should the first candle be set up on the first night, the second on the second night, etc., and which candle should be lit first?
11. The Menora and the Shamash
It is proper to beautify the mitzva by using a beautiful menora (ĥanukiya, candelabrum), each according to his means.In order to prevent people from violating the prohibition of benefiting from the Ĥanuka candles, the custom developed to light an additional candle to serve as a shamash.
10. The Prohibition of Benefiting from the Candles
One may not benefit from the light of the Ĥanuka candles, whether for mundane purposes, like counting money, or sacred purposes, like studying Torah.
9. Lighting Is the Mitzva
The mitzva is fulfilled by the act of lighting the candles, not by having them lit. However, if one lights the candles in a place where they cannot burn for half an hour he has not fulfilled his obligation.
5. The Berakhot and Ha-nerot Halalu
The Sages prescribed that we recite two berakhot before lighting the Ĥanuka candles, so that we focus on the two aspects of the mitzva. Immediately following the berakhot, one begins lighting the candles, without talking between completing the berakhot and beginning to light.
6. Family Participation in the Mitzva
One should try to gather the entire family for candle lighting, so that everyone can hear the berakhot, answer “amen,” and witness the lighting.
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