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The Tabernacle Times
Dwcember 2017 ......................... Kislev -Tevet 5778 ......................... Volume 12 Issue 12

Hanukkah Customs

Angela Kunkel
Angela Kunkel



  The major ritual associated with Hanukkah is the kindling of the festival lights that, like the holiday itself, is a rabbinically ordained commandment. The kindling of lights in relation to Hanukkah is not even mentioned in the Books of the Maccabees or the writings of Josephus. The first reference is made in a baraita (statement) that notes, “the precept of light on Hanukkah requires that one light be kindled in each house; the zealous require one light for each person; the extremely zealous add a light for each person each night” (Shab. 21b). It then discusses the controversy concerning the number of candles that should be lit. The halakhah, follows Beit Hillel, which argued for lighting one candle on the hanukkiah (eight branched menorah) on the first night, two on the second night, and so forth. This view was based on the principle that in matters of holiness, one should increase rather than diminish. The halakhah prescribes that the lamps be lit between “sunset and until there is no wayfarer left in the street” (Shab. 21b). The lamp should be placed at the window nearest to the street to publicize
the miracle.
  The Talmud notes that the mitzvah of kindling the Hanukkah lights is best fulfilled with olive oil, to remind one of the menorah in the Temple. Nevertheless, any oil can be used and today it is most popular to use candles. Lighting only one menorah is sufficient to fulfill the mitzvah, but it has become customary for each person in a household to light his or her own menorah. The light of the Hanukkah menorah is intended to publicize the miracle and is not to be used for any other purpose (Shab. 21b).

Happy Hanukkah

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Inside This Month's Issue:

Hanukkah Customs Torah Overview Tabernacle TV
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