|The Chanukah Lights should be kindled at nightfall on each of the eight nights of Chanukah. What follows is a brief, step-by-step guide to Chanukah observance.
|All members of the family should be present at the kindling of the
Chanukah lights. Children should be encouraged to light their own
Menorahs. Students and singles who live in dormitories or their own
apartments should kindle menorahs in their own rooms.
|Many have the custom to place the menorah in a doorway opposite the
mezuzah (such is the custom of Chabad-Lubavitch) so that the two
mitzvot of mezuzah and Chanukah surround the person. Others place it on
a window sill facing a public through-fare.
|Dec 1, 2010
|1 candle. After Nightfall. Blessings # 1, 2 & 3
|Dec 2, 2010
|2 candles. After Nightfall. Blessings # 1 & 2
|Dec 3, 2010
|3 candles. BEFORE Shabbat Candle Lighting.
Blessings # 1 & 2
|Dec 4, 2010
|4 candles. AFTER Nightfall, and Havdallah.
Blessings # 1 & 2
|Dec 5, 2010
|5 candles. After Nightfall. Blessings # 1 & 2
|Dec 6, 2010
|6 candles. After Nightfall. Blessings # 1 & 2
|Dec 7, 2010
|7 candles. After Nightfall. Blessings # 1 & 2
|Dec 8, 2010
|8 candles. After Nightfall. Blessings # 1 & 2
|Setting Up Your Menorah
|It is preferable to use cotton wicks in olive oil, or paraffin candles,
in amounts large enough to burn until half an hour after nightfall. If
not, regular candles can be used as well.
The candles of a menorah must be of equal height in a straight row.
The shamash, the servant candle that kindles the other lights, should
stand out from the rest (i.e. higher or lower).
The Chanukah Lights must burn for at least half an hour each night.
Before kindling the lights, make sure that there is enough oil (or if
candles are used, that they are big enough) to last half an hour.
|How to Light
|On the first night of Chanukah one light is kindled, on the following
night, two, the third night, three, and so on, so that on the eighth
night of Chanukah eight lights are kindled (not including the servant
The candles are placed in the Menorah from right to left, so that on the
first night only the far right one is used, on the second the two
furthest to the right, and so on.
The lights are then kindled left to right, so that the additional light
of each night is kindled first.
|Special Shabbat Requirements
|On Friday eve, the
Chanukah Lights are
kindled before the
Shabbat Lights (which are lit 18 minutes before sundown).
Additional oil or larger
candles should be
provided for the
Chanukah Lights to make
sure they will last half an
hour after nightfall.
Note: From the time the Shabbat candles are lit until Shabbat ends and
the Havdalah (separation between Shabbat and weekday) prayer is recited,
the Chanukah menorah should not be re-lit, moved or prepared. After
Shabbat ends, the Chanukah lights for Saturday night are kindled.
|Sitting by the Lights
|One is not to benefit from the light of the candles, only from the
shamash and other sources of light. During the time the candles are
burning, it is customary to sit by the candles, and tell stories
relating to the holiday.
Work should not be done in the proximity of the burning candles. Some
women have a custom to refrain from household work during the half hour
that the lights are burning, to honor the brave Jewish women who played
a big role in the Chanukah story.
|More Chanukah Prayers
|During the eight days of Chanukah, we recite the Al HaNissim liturgy
in the Amidah (daily silent prayer) and in Grace After Meals.
The complete "Hallel" prayer (see your prayerbook) is also said in the
A portion of the Torah is read daily in the Synagogue during morning
|It is customary to increase one's daily giving to charity on Chanukah. On Fridays we give double, to account for Shabbat.
|It is traditional to give all children Chanukah gelt (money).
Of course, this beautiful custom adds to the children's happiness and
festive spirit. In addition, it affords us an opportunity to give them
positive reinforcement for exemplary behavior, such as diligence in
their studies, and acts of charity.
Chanukah Gelt is given to children after lighting the menorah. The
children should be encouraged to give charity from a portion of their
|Because of the great significance of oil in the story of the Chanukah
miracle, it is traditional to serve foods cooked in oil. Among the most
popular Chanukah dishes are potato latkes (pancakes) and sufganiot