Hilchot and Minhagei Chanukah According to the Sephardic Practice – Part 1

hero image

Excepted with permission from Laws of the Holidays: A Comprehensive Halachic Guide for Sepharadim

During the time of the second Bet HaMikdash, the Syrian-Greeks issued cruel decrees against Bnei Yisrael in their attempt to destroy the Jewish religion. The Syrian-Greeks entered the Bet HaMikdash and desecrated and defiled all of its pure and holy vessels. On the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, the Chashmona’im succeeded in defeating the Syrian-Greek forces occupying Eretz Yisrael.[1] The Chashmona’im then entered the Bet Hamikdash in search of uncontaminated oil to use to kindle the Menorah. After exhaustively looking for pure oil, they found only one bottle that contained the Kohen Gadol’s unbroken seal attesting to its purity. Although there was only sufficient oil to burn for one day, a miracle occurred, and the oil lasted for eight days, by which time they were able to produce more oil. Therefore, on Chanukah we light the menorah for eight days, to thank Hashem and publicize the great miracle that occurred at that time.[2]

 Customs of Chanukah

 Learning the laws of Chanukah

  1. It is proper to learn the laws of Chanukah at least one week before Chanukah.[3]

Performing Melachah after Lighting the Chanukah Lights

  1. Many women have the custom to refrain from performing melachot that are prohibited on Chol HaMoed, such as sewing and knitting, for half an hour after lighting the menorah.[4] However, they may cook, clean, and bathe. Women who refrain from melachah the entire Chanukah are mistaken, and should be corrected.[5]
  2. The custom of refraining from work for thirty minutes after the menorah is lit does not apply to men.[6]

Giving Tzedakah

  1. It is customary to distribute tzedakah to the poor on Chanukah.[7]
  2. Some people have a custom to give small amounts of money to the children on Chanukah. Others give them presents.[8]

Serving a Meal in Honor of Chanukah

  1. Many people prepare seudot or parties on Chanukah. This is done to commemorate the completion of all the beams, tarps, etc. that were needed for the Mishkan’s construction, which was on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, although the Mishkan itself was not actually constructed until months later, in Nissan. Additionally, seudot are made on Chanukah to commemorate the rededication of the Bet HaMikdash, which had been defiled by the Syrian-Greeks.[9] However, since these seudot are not a bona fide Yom Tov requirement, a person should sing zemirot (which consist of praise to Hashem) or speak words of Torah during the seudah so that the seudah will be considered a seudat mitzvah.[10]
  2. Many people have the custom to eat dairy foods to commemorate the miracle that occurred to Yehudit.[11]
  3. Many people have the custom to eat foods fried in oil, such as sufganiyot, donuts.[12]
  4. On Shabbat Chanukah, it is customary to add a dish that one would not regularly serve. If that Shabbat is also Rosh Chodesh, one should add a second additional food to his meal.[13]

Using a dreidel

  1. A dreidel is considered a kli she’melachto le’hetter, even though it is sometimes used as a game for winning money, and it is permitted to be used on Shabbat.[14]

Wearing nice clothing

  1. It is praiseworthy to wear nicer clothing on Chanukah than one usually does during the weekday.[15]

The Mitzvah of Lighting the Menorah

  1. There are two reasons given for why we light the menorah on Chanukah: In order to remember the miracle that the oil that they found in the Bet HaMikdash lasted for eight days, and so that we can remember the miracle that they won a war against the Greeks and annulled their evil decrees.[31]
  2. The Gemara states that one who is scrupulous with the kindling of the Chanukah lights will be rewarded with children who are Torah scholars.[32] Therefore, after one lights the Chanukah candles, it is proper to pray that one’s children will be righteous and be Torah scholars.[33]
  3. There are essentially three levels of observance regarding the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah lights:
    1. Strictly speaking, the halachah requires one to light one light on each night of Chanukah, in every household.[34]
    2. The second way prescribed is called mehadrin: when lighting mehadrin, each household member lights one light every night.
    3. The third, and preferred, method is called mehadrin min hamihadrin, in which one light is lit on the first night, and an additional light is added each subsequent night, until eight lights are lit on the last night.
  1. The Ashkenazic custom is for each household member to light mehadrin min hamihadrin. The Sephardic custom, however, is only for the head of the household to light mehadrin min hamihadrin on behalf of the household.[35]

Setting up the Menorah, Wicks and Oil

The Type of Menorah That Should Be Used

  1. One should obtain a beautiful menorah to the best of his ability.[36]
  2. The order of preference in the type of menorah that should be used is as follows: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper, Iron, Tin, Lead, Glass, Wood, Bone, Glazed porcelain, Unglazed porcelain (unused), Pomegranate shell, Coconut shell, Acorn shell.[37]
  3. One who lights the wicks inside glass cups that are held in a silver menorah is considered to have a silver, and not a glass, menorah.[38]
  4. One should clean the cups and area around the menorah to ensure that the mitzvah is done respectfully and beautifully, and one should not leave oil and used wicks lying around the menorah in an unorderly manner.[39]
  5. Cups that are used to hold the oil for the Chanukah lights do not need to be immersed in a mikveh since they are not being used for food or drink.[40]
  6. If one bought a new menorah, he should have it in mind when reciting the berachah of Shehecheyanu on the first night of Chanukah.[41]

 Setting Up the Menorah

  1. One may place many wicks in a single vessel containing oil, and each wick will serve as a separate light. However, the wicks must be separated so that the light should not appear torch-like. This may be done by placing another vessel that has separate openings for the various wicks over the first vessel before kindling the lights, to prevent the flames of the wicks from uniting. In this way, each wick counts as a separate light.[42] The wicks may also be separated by either a partition or a space the width of a thumb (2 cm).[43]
  2. The candles or wicks should be set up in a row and not in a circle, because it would then appear like a torch. However, if one does not have any other menorah, he may use a candelabra in which the candles are positioned in a circle as long as there is a space of two centimeters between each candle.[44]
  3. It is preferable for the candles to be placed in a straight row, without having some candles toward the front and others toward the back.[45]
  4. Preferably one should not place candles on a regular surface; rather, they should be placed inside a menorah or other vessel.[46]
  5. Some people have the custom to place water in the cups of the menorah and then fill the rest with oil.[47]

Permissible Oils, Candles, and Wicks to Be Used for the Chanukah Lights


  1. While any type of wick may be used for the Chanukah lights, the preferred practice is to use cotton or linen wicks.[48]
  2. One is not required to change the wicks every night; the same wicks may be used repeatedly, night after night.[49]

Oil or candles

  1. It is ideal to use olive oil, though one may use any type of oil or candle for the Chanukah lights.[50]
  2. If olive oil is unavailable, one should use another oil that produces clear and pure light.[51] If this is also not possible, wax candles may be used, since their flames are similar to oil flames.[52]
  3. Preferably, all of one’s candles and wicks should be the same size and look the same.[53]
  4. If one only has enough olive oil for one candle, he should light the candle that is for that night with olive oil, and the rest of the candles with a different oil. If one does not have any other oil, then one can use wax candles for the rest of the candles.[54]
  5. One should preferably not light partly with wax candles and partly with oil.[55]
  6. If one already set up his menorah with wax candles but did not yet light, and then finds oil and wicks, he should replace the candles with the oil.[56]
  7. It is better to use congealed oil than wax candles, since once it is lit, it turns into regular oil.[57]
  8. Wicks that are glazed in a thin wax coating may be used when kindling an oil menorah, and it is not considered as if one lit with wax.[58]
  9. Although oils and candles do not need certification to be used for Chanukah, certain oils and candles may not be used if:
    1. They are prohibited because of basar bechalav.[59]
    2. They are orlah (when there are other types of oils available).[60]
    3. They are tevel (when there are other types of oils available).[61]
    4. They contain kedushat sheviit (when there are other types of oils available).[62]
    5. They are stolen oil.[63]
    6. Oil that has a bad smell when it is burning.[64]
    7. A mouse was found in the oil.[65]
  10. One does not need to perform a formal kinyan when using oil from someone else, and it suffices to just have permission to use someone else’s oil to light one’s menorah.[66]
  11. Oil that was left under someone’s bed should preferably not be used. However, one may use such oil if he either cannot obtain other oil or cannot afford to buy new oil.[67]
  12. While one is not obligated to use edible oil, according to some opinions it is praiseworthy to do so.[68]

Electric lights

  1. One may not use electric or gas lights to fulfill the mitzvah of Chanukah lights.[69]
  2. If one only has an electric light, he may light it without a berachah.[70] (This is especially relevant when traveling by plane or car or if one is in a hospital.)

Placement of the Menorah

Height of the menorah

  1. One should place the menorah lower than ten tefachim (about 80 cm)[71] but higher than three tefachim (about 24 cm)[72] from the ground. According to Kabbalah, one should preferably place the menorah higher than seven tefachim (56 cm).[73] These measurements are determined from the flame, and not from the menorah.[74]
  2. The menorah should not be placed above twenty amot (around 9.6 meters) from the ground. If one did so and the flame is above twenty amot, he has not fulfilled the mitzvah, and is required to extinguish the flame and relight it at the proper height.[75]

Apartment buildings

  1. If one lives in an apartment whose window faces the passersby, the menorah should be placed by the window. However, if one lives in an upper story that is above twenty amot, which is not considered visible to people in the street, he should preferably place the menorah within a tefach of the entrance of his apartment.[76] If there is another building adjacent to one’s window that is in view of the Chanukah lights, then one should light the menorah by the window instead of the door, regardless of the fact that his apartment is above twenty amot.[77]

Placing the menorah by a door or by a window

  1. The original custom during the time of the Gemara was to place the Chanukah menorah by the outside entrance of the house, if the house was open to the street, as a way to publicize the miracle. However, during times of danger, the custom changed, and people began to light their menorahs indoors. Since this became the prevalent custom over time, it became permitted to light indoors even if there is no danger to light outside. It is praiseworthy, though, to light outdoors by one’s doorpost.[78]
  2. If one cannot place his menorah in a window or by a door that faces a public area, he should place it in the tefach closest to the door, on the left side (opposite the mezuzah).[79] If there is no mezuzah on the door, the menorah should be placed on the right side.[80]
  3. When lighting by a window, one should place the menorah to right side of the window, unless people will be able to see the menorah better if it is on the left side of the window.[81]
  4. One should light the menorah by the window that is more likely to be seen by a passerby, even if the window is in a side room of one’s home, and people in the home will not be able to see the candles as often.[82]
  5. If one has two windows where he can light the menorah, and one of the windows is below 10 tefachim, and the other is above 10 tefachim but has more pirsumei nissa, then one should light in the higher window.[83]
  6. If one’s balcony is facing the street, it is better to light by the door of the balcony instead of by a window. However, if there is more pirsumei nissa by lighting by a window, then it is better to light by the window.[84]
  7. When lighting by a window, it is permitted to light in the window or on the ledge outside of the window, since it is clear to an onlooker that one’s menorah belongs to the home that it is situated by.[85]
  8. In summary, the order of preference of placement of the menorah is as follows:
    1. Outside of one’s door, opposite the mezuzah, facing a public place, at ground level, preferably below 10 tefachim.
    2. Outside of one’s door, next to the mezuzah, facing a public place.
    3. By a window that is facing a public domain, or facing other windows of other buildings. Preferably by a window that is below 10 tefachim, unless there is more pirsumei nissa by lighting in a window that is above 10 tefachim.
    4. On the inside of the door, opposite the mezuzah, preferably below ten tefachim.
    5. On one’s table, where the people in the house will see it.

Placement of the menorah for a boy in yeshivah

  1. For a boy in yeshivah who is obligated to light Chanukah lights, the order of preference of where he should light is as follows:[86]
  2. In his room, where he sleeps and eats, by a window or a door that is facing the street.[87]
  3. In the lunchroom, in a window that faces the street or by the entrance of the building.[88]

A house with two entrances

  1. If a house or a courtyard has two entrances facing two different directions, one light is sufficient at the main entrance of the house. Since the common custom has become to light indoors, people will not come to think that one is not lighting if there is no menorah outside of the other entrance.[89]

 Moving the menorah after it has been lit

  1. Once the menorah has been lit, it should not be moved. One who lit a candle inside his home and then moved it outside, has not fulfilled his obligation.[90]
  2. One who is ill and cannot go to light the menorah himself should appoint a shaliach to light on his behalf in a proper spot.[91]
  3. One cannot fulfill the obligation by lighting the menorah and holding it in his hands for half an hour.[92]

Lighting the menorah accomplishes the mitzvah

  1. If the light in the menorah was burning for more than twenty-four hours, it must be extinguished and relit for the mitzvah of the Chanukah lights.[93]
  2. Sufficient oil or candles that are long enough should be placed in the menorah so that the lights may burn for thirty minutes after tzet hakochavim. If the menorah did not contain the minimum amount of oil at the time of the lighting, and additional oil was added after one lit, his requirement was not fulfilled, and he is obligated to extinguish the flames and relight without a berachah.[94]
  3. If one lit properly, his requirement is fulfilled without having to wait thirty minutes. Therefore, if the flame went out before thirty minutes have passed, he is no longer responsible, and is not required to light again.[95] However, it is praiseworthy for one to relight the flame if he can, without a berachah.[96]
  4. If one lit in a windy location and the lights went out, the lighting was invalid, and one is required to relight without a berachah in a location without wind.[97] Likewise, if one purposely extinguished the flames before they have been burning for half an hour, one must relight them again without a berachah.[98]

The Proper Time to Kindle the Chanukah Lights

Lighting at tzet hakochavim

  1. The proper time for kindling the Chanukah lights is at the conclusion of sunset, which is tzet hakochavim (about thirteen and a half minutes after shkiyah.)[99] Many Ashkenazim have the custom to light at shkiyah.[100]
  2. Even when lighting indoors, not near a window, one should light the candles at tzet hakochavim, and not wait until later.[101]
  3. Even when lighting at the proper time, one must place sufficient oil (or wax) in his menorah that will burn for at least thirty minutes.[102]
  4. If one knows that the members of his household will be coming home within the first half an hour after tzet hakochavim, it is proper to wait for them to come home so that they can be present during the lighting.[103]

The earliest time to light

  1. One who is unable to light the Chanukah lights at tzet hakochavim may light them as early as from after plag haminchah (one and a quarter Halachic hours before tzet hakochavim). One who does so should make sure to have enough oil or wax in the menorah for the lights to burn until half an hour after tzet hakochavim. This leniency should only be relied on in extenuating circumstances. If one did so, and is able to light again after tzet hakochavim, he should relight the menorah at the proper time.[104]

The latest time to light

  1. One should try not to light the Chanukah lights after the time that people are walking in the street (around thirty minutes after tzet hakochavim). Even when one lights after the proper time, sufficient oil must be placed in the menorah to burn for the minimum half hour.[105]
  2. If the optimum time has passed, one may light at any point the entire night with a berachah until dawn (alot hashachar).[106] However, after alot hashachar, one may no longer light with a berachah.[107]
  3. Even if alot hashachar is within thirty minutes, the Chanukah lights should be lit with a berachah.[108]
  4. Once the entire night has passed without one having kindled the Chanukah lights, one may no longer make up the mitzvah for that night.[109]

One who cannot be home at the time of candle lighting

  1. One who must attend a wedding or other function and will not be able to light the Chanukah lights at the proper time should do one of the following:
  2. Appoint a messenger to light for him at the proper time.[110]
  3. Light at home after plag haminchah, while ensuring that there is enough oil to last until thirty minutes after tzet hakochavim.[111]
  4. Wait until he comes home later that night and light then.[112]

Praying Arvit before lighting

  1. The custom of most Sephardim is to pray Arvit immediately after shkiyah and then return home to light the Chanukah lights.[113]
  2. If one is praying Arvit before lighting the Chanukah lights, one should have the menorah prepared before Arvit so that he may light them immediately when he gets home.[114]
  3. If one has the choice of either praying Arvit with a minyan or kindling the Chanukah lights at tzet hakochavim, he should preferably pray Arvit by himself and not miss the most preferred time for kindling the Chanukah lights. However, if there will be a minyan afterward, later that night, he should pray later with the minyan and light the Chanukah lights on time.[115]
  4. If one arrives home half an hour after tzet hakochavim and has not yet prayed Arvit, he should preferably first pray Arvit, and kindle the Chanukah lights only afterward.[116]

Eating a meal before lighting

  1. It is prohibited to eat a meal consisting of more than a kebetzah of bread or mezonot foods, from thirty minutes prior to tzet hakochavim. This is prohibited lest one become too involved in his meal and forget to light at the proper time. One is permitted to eat a snack, such as a fruit or vegetable.[117]
  2. Even if one began eating a meal before half an hour before tzet hakochavim, one should pause in the middle of his meal to light the Chanukah lights at the proper time.[118]
  3. A married woman and her children do not have to refrain from eating before the time, or even during the time, of lighting Chanukah lights, since the head of the household will be lighting on behalf of everyone else. However, a widow or a divorcée who will be lighting the Chanukah lights herself must refrain from eating before the time to light.[119]

Working or learning within half an hour of tzet hakochavim

  1. One may not begin performing work[120] or even learning before the time of lighting Chanukah lights. However, one may learn Torah half an hour before the time of lighting, but must stop to kindle the lights when the time arrives.[121]
  2. One may pause from his regular learning schedule to go home and light the Chanukah lights. If one will not be able to return to his learning afterward, he should instruct his wife to light on his behalf.[122] If this is also not a possibility, then he may light when he returns home.[123]
  3. In synagogues that have Torah classes between Minchah and Arvit, the classes should not be canceled to allow everyone to return home and light the Chanukah lights if there is a chance that the people will not return for the classes afterward.[124]

Lighting the Menorah Before and After Shabbat

Erev Shabbat

  1. On erev Shabbat, the Chanukah lights are kindled before the Shabbat lights.[125]
  2. Even if the menorah is lit in the same room as the Shabbat candles, a berachah can still be recited on the Shabbat candles.[126]
  3. If one, whether a man or woman, accidentally lit the Shabbat lights before lighting the Chanukah lights, the Chanukah lights may still be lit. However, if one accepted Shabbat with his lighting, then another person in the household who did not accept Shabbat yet should light the Chanukah lights instead.[127]
  4. One should make sure there is enough oil in the menorah at the time of lighting to burn for thirty minutes after tzet hakochavim. Therefore, one should be careful not to light the menorah too early. The best time to light the menorah on erev Shabbat is around fifteen minutes before shkiyah.[128]
  5. While under normal circumstances, one does not have to relight the Chanukah lights of they went out, he should preferably relight the menorah without a berachah if they went out on erev Shabbat and he did not yet accept Shabbat.[129]
  6. Preferably, one should light the Chanukah lights only after praying Minchah on erev Shabbat. However, if this is not possible, one may light before praying Minchah.[130]

Setting Up the Menorah on Erev Shabbat

  1. The menorah should not be placed where the lights may be extinguished by the wind. This is especially important on Shabbat, when extinguishing a flame is prohibited. One should be aware of this when opening a door, as the gust of wind that comes forth may extinguish a flame that is next to the door. If one must place his menorah in a windy area near the door, he should make sure to put some sort of separation between the menorah and the entrance to prevent the wind from extinguishing the flames.[131]
  2. Once the lights of the menorah go out, the menorah may not be moved on Shabbat unless one stipulates on erev Shabbat that he will be able to move it.[132]

Motzaei Shabbat Chanukah

  1. In the bet hakeneset on motzaei Shabbat, the Chanukah lights are kindled before reciting Havdalah. At home, however, Havdalah is recited before the Chanukah lights are kindled.[133]
  2. If one lit the Chanukah lights first, he should not recite Havdalah over them.[134]
  3. One who is stringent to keep Shabbat until the time of Rabbenu Tam may do so on motzaei Shabbat Chanukah.[135] One also does not have to ask his wife (if she is lenient to not keep Shabbat until the time of Rabbenu Tam) to light for him at tzet hakochavim of the Geonim.[136]

Part 2 here

[1] This is according to the Rambam, Chanukah 3:2. The Meiri, Shabbat 31b, states that they defeated the Greeks on the 24th of Kislev, and lit the menorah on the night of the 25th. See also Pri Chadash 670:1 and Chattam Sofer, Shabbat 21b.

[2]. Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 21b; Rambam, Hilchot Chanukah 3:1; Mishnah Berurah 670:1. Seder HaYom says that one should not treat the holiday of Chanukah lightly just because it is a Rabbinically established holiday. Anyone who does not treat the holiday with proper respect is considered like he is denying all of the miracles that Hashem has done for the Jewish Nation, and shows that he does not care about the final redemption either.

[3] See Halichot Shlomo, Chanukah, p. 270 who says that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would learn the halachot of Chanukah several weeks before Chanukah. Igrot HaRishon LeTzion, vol. 1, p. 253, reports that in his Yeshivah, Chazon Ovadia, they would begin learning the halachot of Chanukah a week before Chanukah. Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 98, says that this was also the custom of his father, Rabbi Salman Mutzafi.

[4]. Shulchan Aruch 670:1. The Bet Yosef states that the reason for this custom is to remind the women that one may not benefit from the light of the menorah. See Kaf HaChayim 670:7, which states that another reason for this custom is to remind them about the miracle of Chanukah. See also Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:27 and Yedei Chayim 670:2, which brings a Kabbalistic reason for this custom.

[5]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 12 and on; Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 226; and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 40, which state that women should refrain from strenuous work, such as washing clothing and the like. See also Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 41:1, which permits putting clothing in the washing machine, since it does not entail a lot of work. However, even this should be avoided if one can do it later. See also Rivevot Ephraim 1:436.

[6]. Birkei Yosef 670:4; Kaf HaChayim 670:9; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 14.

[7]. Magen Avraham, beginning of siman 670; Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham; Mishnah Berurah 670:1; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:1; Rivevot Ephraim 440:3; Mishneh Halachot 7:88; Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 228. See also Moed LeChol Chai 27:77 for a special segulah. Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 145, also brings several sefarim who state that one who gives tzedakah on Chanukah merits to purify one’s neshamah and also protects one from middat hadin. Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 40:10 adds that if one gives tzedakah, he should ensure that the money is distributed to the poor on Chanukah.

[8] The Stiepler (as brought in Orchot Rabbenu, vol. 3, p. 1) would give money to his children and his grandchildren, but he himself stated that he didn’t know the reason for this custom. This custom has even sources dating back to over 200 years ago, as mentioned in Moed Lechol Chai, Chanukah 79. See also Nitei Gavriel, Chanukah, 51:5. Avnei Yoshfeh 1:129 states that it is in order to bring joy to the children and give them an appreciation for the days of Chanukah which are days of happiness. It is brought from Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky (Emet Le’Yaakov, siman 670, footnote 583) that the custom stems from an even older custom which was to send money with the children to pay the rabbanim who taught them, this was customarily done on Chanukah which is a time that celebrates the restoration of Torah learning and values. In fact, Rav Yaakov states that it is even possible that the non-Jews took the custom of giving presents from us who had this custom long before their holidays were instituted. Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (She’elat Rav, vol. 1, 4:21) states that he never heard of such a custom, but doesn’t seem to see a problem with doing so. Chanukah Be’Tzion, Chanukah, p. 147, adds that even though there are sources for this custom, nevertheless, one should not tell one’s children to go around asking people for money since it teaches them that it is alright to beg for money even though they are not needy, and it also teaches them to speak to strangers, which is obviously a dangerous habit.

[9]. See Shulchan Aruch 670:2, which states that there is no obligation to eat a meal on Chanukah. The Rama writes, however, that there is a mitzvah to do so. See also Chayei Adam 155:5; Minchat Shlomo 2:54; Maadanei Shlomo, p. 118; and Igrot Moshe, O.C., vol. 5, 43:2.

[10]. Mishnah Berurah 670:9, in the name of the Maharshal, Yam shel Shlomo, Bava Kama 7:30; Moed LeChol Chai 27:66; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 41:2; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, pages 17–18; Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 220; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 75.

[11]. Rama 670:2; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:24; Kaf HaChayim 670:17; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 41:2; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 18; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 63. The miracle with Yehudit occurred even before the story of Chanukah (see Aruch HaShulchan 670:8 and Kaf HaChayim 670:17). There was an evil decree for every betrothed woman to live with the Greek governor prior to her wedding. Yehudit, the daughter of Yochanan the Kohen Gadol, fed the governor cheese until he was very thirsty. She then served him wine until he was drunk and fell into a deep sleep. She then proceeded to decapitate him, and brought his head to Yerushalayim. When the Greeks saw that their leader was dead, they fled.

For other reasons for eating dairy foods on Chanukah, see Bnei Yisasschar, Maamarei Chodesh Kislev, Maamar 3, Ner Mitzvah.

[12]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 19, in the footnotes; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 64; and Nitei Gavriel, Chanukah, p. 311, which mention that this custom is brought in Kovetz Sarid U’Palit in the name of Maimon, the father of the Rambam. See also Halichot Shlomo, vol. 2, ch. 17, Orchot Halachah §20, which brings other reasons for this custom. Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 143, also mentions this custom and says that in Yerushalayim it was customary to send these pastries to poor people, Talmidei Chachamim, or people who had recently lost a relative in order to appease them. Netivot HaMa’arav, Chanukah 23, brings that it was customary in Morocco to send platters of these pastries (called sfinge) to poor people, widows, or newly married couples.

[13]. Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:28; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 84.

[14] Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 2, 39:26; Chut Shani, Chanukah, p. 304; Igrot HaRishon LeTzion, vol. 1, p. 53.

[15] Yesod VeShoresh HaAvodah, Shaar 9; Igrot HaRishon LeTzion, vol. 1, p. 7.

[31] Tur 671 and Rambam, Chanukah 3:1-2, imply that the main reason for lighting the menorah is in order to remember the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days. Masechet Sofrim 20:6 mentions that this is also in order to remember the war as well.

[32]. Shabbat 23b. Rashi explains that the pasuk says (Mishlei 6:23) ‘For a mitzvah is like a candle, and the Torah is light’; through the observance of the mitzvot of lighting the Shabbat and Chanukah candles, comes the light of Torah. Shulchan Aruch 671:1; Mishnah Berurah 671:1. See Shemesh U’Magen, vol. 2, O.C. §75 and Teshuvot VeHanhagot 2:340. See also Chanukah Be’Tzion, vol. 221, who brings several explanations of the intention of this Gemara.

[33] Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 225.

[34]. Rambam, Chanukah 4:1; Shulchan Aruch 671:2; Mishnah Berurah 671:4.

[35]. Shulchan Aruch and Rama 671:2; Yedei Chayim 671:3 and Kaf HaChayim 671:6.

[36]. Mishnah Berurah 673:28.

[37]. See Kaf HaChayim 673:60, in the name of Chessed LaAvraham, which brings this list. He also adds that in every case, the menorah must be able to stand on its own without support. See also Sdei Chemed, Chanukah §7 and Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 118.

[38]. As mentioned above, the Chanukah lights may not be placed in anything that cannot stand on its own. Some rabbis, therefore, question the popular use of glass cups in menorahs, since the glass cups cannot generally stand on their own and would not qualify as utensils. Additionally, one might lose the aspect of the menorah’s hiddur, beauty, since the oil is being placed into the glass cups and not directly into the menorah. The poskim rule leniently, however, because, firstly, they maintain that there is no such requirement to place the oil or candles into a utensil, and it is not mentioned in any of the Rishonim from where normative halachah is derived. Additionally, these glass cups are considered subordinate to the menorah, and it is considered as if the menorah itself is holding the oil. Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 146 states that this was also the custom of Chacham Ovadia Yosef, who would use glass cups to hold the oil. See also Halichot Shlomo, vol. 2, p. 285; Teshuvot VeHanhagot, vol. 5, 223:1; and Shevet HaLevi 8:157.

[39] Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 85.

[40]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 35, in the footnotes; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 150.

[41]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 128. See also Halachah Berurah, vol. 11, p. 282, which says that today’s custom is not to recite a Shehecheyanu on new vessels and objects. Therefore, it is preferable to wait until the first night of Chanukah, when one will be reciting Shehecheyanu anyway, and have his new menorah in mind. This is true even for a very expensive menorah.

[42]. Shulchan Aruch 671:4.

[43]. Mishnah Berurah 671:16. See also Kaf HaChayim 671:25 & 671:27; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 122; and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 137.

[44]. Rama 671:4. See also Rav Pe’alim 4:30; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 124; and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 142, which state that even the Rama would agree that one may use a circular candelabra if there is a space between each candle. See also Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, p. 280, end of footnote 8. However, preferably, one should only use a regular Chanukah menorah and not veer from the custom of the Jewish people, especially because there are mystical reasons given for lighting a menorah that is straight with eight holders. See Yalkut Yosef, p. 143, in the name of Revid HaZahav, siman 5.

[45]. Mishnah Berurah 671:15.

[46]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 34; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 144 and on.

[47]. Kaf HaChayim 671:32, in the name of Yafeh LaLev 2:2. This is to symbolize that just as oil floats on water, so too, the Jewish people, who are compared to oil, came out victorious above the Greeks. See also Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 184.

[48]. Mishnah Berurah 673:2, in the name of Chayei Adam 154:8.

[49]. Shulchan Aruch 673:4. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 105 and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 325. Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 74, adds that the wicks that are commonly used nowadays light better when they are new, than when they have been used. Therefore, it is better to put new wicks every day.

[50]. Rama 673:1. Mishnah Berurah 673:4 and Kaf HaChayim 673:11 explain that olive oil is preferred since the miracle in the Bet HaMikdash occurred through olive oil. Aruch HaShulchan 673:1 adds that olive oil is drawn more properly to the wick, and its light is pure and clear in color. See also Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 170.

[51]. Kaf HaChayim 673:16 points out that sesame oil is the next-best oil after olive oil, since its light is very pure and clear.

[52]. Rama 673:1. However, one should ensure that the candles are long enough to last for the prescribed time, especially on erev Shabbat.

[53] Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:13; Kaf HaChayim 673:23.

[54] See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 81; Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 85.

[55]. Be’er Hetev 673:1; Mishnah Berurah 673:2; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:13. However, Chacham Ovadia in Yabia Omer, vol. 3, Y.D. 18:5 and Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 81 points out that if olive oil is too expensive, one may use olive oil for the ner hahiddur and other types of oil for the rest of the candles. See also Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 289, in the footnotes.

[56]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 80; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 286.

[57]. Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 285. See Shevet HaLevi 9:143 and Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, p. 239.

[58]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 80, in footnotes; Shevet HaLevi 8:157; Lehorot Natan 6:45; Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 34:23; Halichot Shlomo, vol. 2, p. 285; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 44:8; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 288.

[59]. Mishnah Berurah 673:2; Machazik Berachah, Y.D. 87:17; Moed LeChol Chai 27:56; Kaf HaChayim §7; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 82.

[60]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 82. See Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 297, which adds that if one does not have any other oil, he may use orlah oil without a berachah. See also Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 44:3.

[61] Minchat Yitzchak 7:47; Igrot Moshe O.C. 1:191; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 86.

[62]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 85; Yabia Omer, vol. 3, Y.D. §19. See Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 308, which adds that if one does not have any other oil, then even sheviit oil may be used, with a berachah. See Shevet HaLevi, vol. 1, 184:1; Shalmei Moed, p. 208; Ohr LeTzion, Sheviit, 2:7; and ibid., vol. 4, 44:4.

[63]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 97, which states that while stolen oil may not be used, if one used it, he fulfilled his obligation, but may not recite a berachah. See also Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 324. Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 79, points out that for this reason, one should not use someone else’s oil without asking him permission. See also BaTzel HaChochmah 6:118 and Igrot HaRishon LeTzion, vol. 1, p. 134.

[64] Aruch HaShulchan 473:3; Nitei Gavriel, Chanukah, p. 65; Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 179.

[65]. See Shulchan Aruch 154:12 regarding oil used in a bet hakeneset. See also Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 87.

[66] Sdei Chemed, vol. 9, Chanukah 15, in the name of Bet Yitzchak; Halichot Shlomo, Chanukah, p. 262, Orchot Halachah 29; Shevet HaLevi 3:80; Chut Shani, Chanukah, p. 304; Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 79.

[67]. See Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:12; ibid., Noach 2:17; Torah Lishmah, siman 108; and Kaf HaChayim §11, which state that oil should not be used if it was left under a bed. However, Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 88 says that one may be lenient for many reasons, one of which is brought in Yafeh LaLev, vol. 3, 116:6, that the only time one must be wary of placing food under a bed is when the food is directly on a dirt floor, however, since our floors are tiled, the food does not become prohibited. Chazon Ovadia adds that one may especially rely on this leniency if one will incur a financial loss. See also Yabia Omer, vol. 1, Y.D. §9; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 316; and Rivevot Ephraim, vol. 3, 460:14.

Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 178, adds that one should not use oil that was brought into a bathroom either.

[68]. See Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 319 and Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 2:78, which states that one may lechatchilah use inedible oil. However, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, as brought in Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 34:13, writes that there is certainly a hiddur to light with edible oil. See also Piskei Teshuvot 673:5, which also brings that one may light with inedible oil lechatchilah. See Hilchot Chag BaChag, Chanukah 8:9 and Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 75. See also Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 172, who claims that there are many “fake olive oils” on the market, and one should only use olive oil from a reputable company.

[69]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 93 and Yabia Omer 3:35, which explain that because there is no real wick or oil (or something even similar to oil, such as wax), the electric menorah does not resemble the menorah in the Bet HaMikdash. See also Kaf HaChayim 673:19. Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 180, adds several other reasons that one cannot use electric lights for Chanukah candles; since there it is not obvious that one is turning on the light for the mitzvah; since he is only flicking a switch, he is not actually doing any act of lighting; there is no actual flame; since the electricity is a new flow each second, it is considered like one’s initial lighting did not last for half an hour. See also Yaskil Avdi 3:17.

Regarding gas lights, see Yabia Omer, vol. 2, 17:12; ibid., vol. 3, siman 35; Yechaveh Daat 4:38; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 292; Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 175.

[70]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 97, in the footnotes; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 289. This is unlike the views of Kovetz Teshuvot 3:103; Halichot Shlomo, vol. 2, p. 283; Shalmei Moed, p. 200; and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 44:2, which state that if one has a battery-powered menorah, a berachah may be recited, since it bears similarities to real candles. However, Chacham Ovadia Yosef writes that even though this argument has merit, one should only rely on lighting such a menorah in cases where one cannot obtain a proper menorah, and certainly one should not rely on this view to recite a berachah. He further adds that even if one lit an electric menorah and obtained a regular menorah afterward, he may light the regular menorah with a berachah.

[71]. See Shulchan Aruch 671:6, which states that the best way to fulfill the mitzvah is for the lights to be below ten tefachim. However, one who places the menorah in a higher spot has still fulfilled his obligation. See also Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 34:22 and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, p. 241, which point out that if there are children at home and one is afraid that they may play with the fire, one may lechatchilah place the menorah higher than ten tefachim.

[72]. Shulchan Aruch 671:1. One should be especially careful to do so because there are poskim who hold that one has not fulfilled the mitzvah if the flames are lower than three tefachim.

[73]. Shaarei Teshuvah 671:8; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:5; Kaf HaChayim 671:46.

[74]. Pri Megadim, M.Z. 671:5; Shaar HaTziyun 671:33; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 34 & 36, end of footnote 13; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 153.

[75]. Shulchan Aruch and Rama 671:6.

[76]. Shaar HaTziyun 671:42; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 161; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 42:8.

[77]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 36; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 161; Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 2:77; and Shevet HaLevi 4:65. See also Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 42:7, which mentions that the window facing the menorah should not be twenty amot higher or lower either.

[78]. This is reason is brought by the Shibulei HaLeket 185. There are several reasons why many people light inside their homes, even in places where there is no danger:

  1. Aruch HaShulchan 671:24 says that it is because in most places there are very strong winds, and it is possible that one would not even have been able to light outside, even in the times of Chazal. She’elat Yaabetz 1:149 argues on this reasoning and says that it is possible that even in the time of the Talmud they would light in glass boxes.
  2. Shevet HaLevi 7:84 states that nowadays, since the custom is also to light in the bet hakeneset, there is already a pirsumei nissa, and lighting outside is not necessary.
  3. Yaskil Avdi 7:46, writes that one should light inside as a sign of precaution, since we never know when the situation may change.
  4. Darkei Moshe 671:9 brings Rabbenu Yerocham 9:1 who says that one of the reasons for lighting inside is because thieves are common, and if one is scared that his menorah will be stolen, he may light indoors. This reason is also brought by the Bach.

See also Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 36; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, p. 240; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, pages 164–193; and Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 2:79, which discusses this subject at length. Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 234 says that it seems that the Arizal would also light indoors.

[79]. Shulchan Aruch 671:7. This is in order to surround ourselves with mitzvot, i.e., the mezuzah, the Chanukah lights, and tzitzit. See also Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:4; Yedei Chayim 671:6; Kaf HaChayim 671:58; Ohr LeTzion, Chochmah U’Mussar, p. 80; and Teshuvot Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, p. 245 for more reasons why these specific three mitzvot are special.

[80]. Shulchan Aruch 671:7.

[81] Halichot Shlomo, Chanukah, p. 269, Devar Halachah 3; Chut Shani, Chanukah, p. 307.

[82] Chut Shani, Chanukah, p. 308; Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 53. One should not light in a bathroom window, even if it the only window in one’s home that is facing the street, since it is considered degrading to the mitzvah (see Chut Shani, p. 312).

[83] Mishnah Berurah 671:27; Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 54.

[84] Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 55.

[85] Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 54.

[86] See Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 63.

[87] Assuming that the Yeshivah administration permits him to light in his room and there is no fire-hazard.

[88] See Igrot Moshe O.C. vol. 4, 70:3; Y.D. 3:14; Halichot Shlomo, p. 273.

[89]. Rama 671:8; Kaf HaChayim 671:93; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 42:17; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 41; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 194. See also Halichot Shlomo, Chanukah 13:11.

[90]. See Shulchan Aruch 675:1, which states that lighting the menorah, not placing it, is the primary form of observing the mitzvah. Therefore, during the lighting, the menorah and the candles must already be in their proper positions. The menorah may also not be moved afterward because one who sees a person carrying a lit menorah may assume that he lit it for personal use and not for the mitzvah. See also Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 96, who points out that some say that if one lit the candles in a menorah that is clear that one lit for the mitzvah of Chanukah, he has fulfilled his obligation even if he moved it from place to place, since an onlooker will not think that one is moving the menorah for his personal use.

Mishnah Berurah 675:6 and Kaf HaChayim 675:10 state that after half an hour has passed, the menorah may be moved around. Preferably, however, the menorah should not be moved until all of the lights have gone out. See also Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 115.

[91]. Moed LeChol Chai 27:60; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:6; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 116. Chazon Ovadia also rules that the shaliach should recite the blessings.

[92] See Shulchan Aruch 675:1. Mishnah Berurah 675:7 and Kaf HaChayim 675:12 state that if one lit the candles while holding the menorah, and then immediately placed the menorah down, he has fulfilled his obligation even though he should not have done so initially.

[93]. Shulchan Aruch 675:1. The Mishnah Berurah 675:3 explains this is because each day of Chanukah is a separate mitzvah. See also Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 373.

[94]. See Shulchan Aruch 675:2; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:8; Kaf HaChayim 675:16; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 111; and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 371.

[95]. Shulchan Aruch 673:2.

[96]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 106; Shema Shlomo 6:10.

[97]. Mishnah Berurah 673:25; Kaf HaChayim 673:54; See Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 357, which discusses this subject at length.

[98] Mishnah Berurah 673:25; Shaar HaTziyun 673:32; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:9; Kaf HaChayim 673:55. Halichot Shlomo, Chanukah, p. 304, says that when one relights the candles, the candles only need to remain lit to complete the half an hour before they were extinguished. See also Halichot Moed, Chanukah, pp. 90-91.

[99]. Shulchan Aruch 672:1; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:7; Kaf HaChayim 672:2; Shemesh U’Magen 1:31–32; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 43:1; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 62.

[100] In accordance with the opinion of the Vilna Gaon 672:1. Mishnah Berurah 672:1 that even those who light at shkiyah should put enough oil in the menorah so that the flame can last until half an hour after tzet hakochavim.

[101] Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 32.

[102]. Shulchan Aruch 672:2.

[103] See Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 34. Emet LeYaakov, Siman 670, footnote 586 states even if one’s wife will come home after tzet hakochavim, if one is concerned that she might be insulted one did not wait for her, then one should wait for her to light the candles. See also Kovetz MiBet HaLevi, vol. 10, p. 3. Sefer Tuvcha Yabi’u, vol. 1, p. 74, brings that the Chafetz Chaim related that his rebbe, Rabbi Nachum, would wait for his wife to return home even thought this would mean lighting the Chanukah candles late at night. He explained that the Gemara says that one who cannot afford candles for both Shabbat and Chanukah should purchase a candle for Shabbat, since the Shabbat candles are meant to enhance Shalom Bayit – tranquility in the home. Certainly, he concluded, the Chanukah candles which are pushed aside completely for the sake of Shalom Bayit should not be the cause for lack of Shalom Bayit! Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 198, reports that even though his father, Rabbi Salman Mutzafi, was very particular to light at tzet hakochavim, especially for Kabbalistic reasons, on one occasion one of the members of the household was unable to make it home in time for tzet hakochavim, and Rabbi Mutzafi waited for him for an hour until he came home.

Halichot Shlomo, Chanukah 16:2, also points out that a woman should not light before her husband comes home, even if her husband will return home late at night, if she thinks that he will be insulted that his wife lit the candles without him.

[104]. Shulchan Aruch 672:1, in the name of some views (yesh mi she’omer). See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 69, which explains the Shulchan Aruch. See also Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 98, which states that a berachah should not be recited if one is lighting at plag haminchah. See also Yalkut Yosef, Chanuakah, p. 216, in the footnotes, in the name of Shemen Afarsamon 2:15; Yabia Omer 11:73.

[105]. Shulchan Aruch 672:2. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 66; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 1, 44; and ibid., vol. 4, 43:2.

[106]. Shulchan Aruch 672:2. The Mishnah Berurah 672:11; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:7; Kaf HaChayim 672:26; and Tefillah LeMoshe 2:49 state that one may only recite a berachah if at least one other person in the house is awake. However, Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 64; and Halichot Olam vol. 1, p. 63 state that one may even light with a berachah if everyone in the house is sleeping. However, even according to Chazon Ovadia, it is preferable to wake up someone else in the house to be present during the lighting. See also Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, pages 248–262, and Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 2:81, which discusses this subject at length.

[107]. However, Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 103, in the name of Chacham Ovadia Yosef, as brought in Kovetz Kol Sinai, adds that one should light without a berachah, even after alot hashachar, if it is still before netz hachamah. This is so that one may at least fulfill his obligation according to the Ra’avya, in the name of Tosafot, who holds that one may light during the day if he missed lighting at night, even though one may not rely on this view to make a berachah.

[108]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 67; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 262; Shevet HaLevi 8:156.

[109]. Shulchan Aruch 672:2. The Rama adds that one must light the same amount as other people even if he missed a night. See Ruach Chayim and Moed LeChol Chai 27:58, which states that he should add more oil than usual the next day, even though he cannot compensate for the day he missed.

[110]. This would seem to be the best thing to do, since according to the Rambam in Hilchot Chanukah 4:5, one may only light within a half hour after tzet hakochavim, and not earlier or later. This is also better than lighting right after plag haminchah, since according to the Chida, Kisei Rachamim, Mesechet Sofrim, ch. 20 and Kaf HaChayim 672:10, a berachah may not be recited if one lights at plag haminchah.

[111]. This would seem to be the next-best option, since according to the Mishnah Berurah 572:3, one may even recite a berachah at plag haminchah. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 98 regarding whether a berachah may actually be recited at plag haminchah.

[112]. Shulchan Aruch. 572:2. In such a situation, a berachah may be recited.

[113]. See Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 105, which states that this is the custom in Eretz Yisrael. Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 198, states that this was the custom of all of the Chachamim in Porat Yosef, and almost all of the Sephardic synagogues in Yerushalayim.

When one arrives home, one should recite Keriat shema again after tzet hakochavim, before lighting the candles.

[114]. Mishnah Berurah 672:1. Chanukah Be’Tzion, p. 186, reports that Rabbi Salman Mutzafi would set up the menorah in morning.

[115]. Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 43:5; Avnei Yoshfeh, Tefillah 15:24, footnote 39; Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 37:7. I also asked Rabbi David Yosef to clarify the view of Chacham Ovadia Yosef on this matter, and he replied that if one will be able to pray Arvit with a minyan later, then one should pray with a minyan later and light the Chanukah lights on time even though he has not yet prayed Arvit. See also Teshuvot VeHanhagot 2:338.

[116]. See Mishnah Berurah 672:1 and Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 71, which explain that since the time has already passed, one should preferably pray Arvit, since the mitzvah to pray Arvit is more recurrent than kindling Chanukah lights. See also Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 44, who brings several poskim who point out that if one has a regular minyan that he attends, who pray much later than tzet hakochavim, then he can light the Chanukah candles before praying Arvit, since it is not considered like one is giving precedence to lighting the candles over Arvit.

[117]. Mishnah Berurah 672:10; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 68; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 263.

[118]. Mishnah Berurah 672:10; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:7. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 68, which states that it is preferable to stop eating and light the Chanukah lights at the proper time.

[119]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 68, in footnotes; Halichot Olam, vol. 1, p. 63; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 264.

[120] A melachah that one can easily stop doing and one will not get distracted, such as writing or sewing, is permitted to be done during this time. See Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 29.

[121]. Moed LeChol Chai 27:57; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 68, in the footnotes. This is comparable to the halachot of learning before bedikat chametz on erev Pesach; see Mishnah Berurah 431:7. See also Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 137, which adds that one should not even take a nap half an hour before lighting the Chanukah lights.

[122]. Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 104. This is also true for those who are working and will not be home until late at night. See Yechaveh Daat 3:51.

[123]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 75; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 266; and Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 2:81. Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef writes in Yalkut Yosef that he heard that this is the custom in Yeshivat Torah Ohr, the yeshivah of Rabbi Chayim Pinchas Scheinberg. See also Halichot Shlomo, vol. 2, p. 296 and Shalmei Moed, p. 241 for Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s opinion on this subject.

[124]. See Yechaveh Daat 2:59 regarding bedikat chametz. See also Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 69; Yabia Omer 11:74, and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 266 and on, which mention this halachah. See also Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 43:7. Teshuvot VeHanhagot, vol. 3, 215:19 states that even one who is giving a shiur may not cancel it, and should instruct his wife to light for him.

[125]. Shulchan Aruch 679:1 writes that on erev Shabbat of Chanukah, one should light the Chanukah candles before lighting the Shabbat candles. It would seem that he is ruling like the opinion of the Bahag cited in the Shulchan Aruch 263:10: “According to the Baal Halachot Gedolot (Bahag), once a person kindles the Shabbat lights, Shabbat is in effect for him, and he may not perform any melachot. Based on this, some women have the following practice: After reciting the berachah and kindling the lights, they drop the match with which they kindled the lights to ground and do not extinguish it.” However, in regard to the laws of Shabbat, the Shulchan Aruch clearly rules unlike the opinion of the Bahag. Nevertheless, in the laws of Chanukah it is possible that the Shulchan Aruch was only ruling stringently like the Bahag so that he could fulfill all of the opinions, but if one were to light the Shabbat candles first, he certainly can still light the Chanukah candles afterward. See also Yabia Omer, vol. 2, O.C. 16:3; vol. 9, O.C. 24:4 and 108:122; vol. 10, O.C. 21:2; Yechaveh Daat 2:33; Maor Yisrael, vol. 3, p. 103; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 1, p. 168; Chanukah, p. 176; Halichot Olam, vol. 3, p. 39; and Levyat Chen §5, that explain the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch at greater length.

See also Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:20, which states that even for Kabbalistic reasons, the Shabbat lights should not be lit before the Chanukah lights, even if a man is lighting the Chanukah lights and the woman is lighting the Shabbat lights. See also Kaf HaChayim 679:1.

[126] Told to me by Rabbi David Yosef, he added that this is even the case if one lit a shamash. This is also the ruling of Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef in Igrot HaRishon LeTzion, vol. 1, p. 226.

[127]. Mishnah Berurah 679:1 and Kaf HaChayim 679:3. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 176 says that according to the Shulchan Aruch, lighting the Shabbat lights is not necessarily enough for one to accept Shabbat. If one verbally accepted the Shabbat through his lighting, though, then he may not perform melachah, and should ask someone else to light the Chanukah lights for him. See also Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 43:8 and Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion, vol. 1, p. 126.

[128]. See Mishnah Berurah 679:2, which states that at least one of the lights that were lit should still be burning by tzet hakochavim for one to fulfill the mitzvah. See also Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 71, which states that if one realizes that he did not put enough oil, he should extinguish the lights, add oil, and then relight them without a berachah. See also Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 544 and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 43:8.

[129]. See Shulchan Aruch 673:2, which states that one does not have to relight the lights if they blow out. However, many poskim write that on erev Shabbat, one should relight them. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 110; Sdei Chemed, Chanukah §6; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 44:6; and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 367.

[130]. Pri Megadim, E.A. 671:10 explains that this is because it appears as if one is contradicting himself if he first light the Chanukah menorah and then prays Minchah. See also Mishnah Berurah 679:2. Another reason mentioned in Birkei Yosef 679:2 is that the prayer of Minchah corresponds to the Korban Tamid of the afternoon, which generally was done before the menorah was lit in the Bet Hamikdash.

Kaf HaChayim 671:79, in the name of the Kitzur HaShelah; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, p. 264; Yechaveh Daat 1:74; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 181; and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 545 point out that it is preferable that one pray Minchah with a minyan after lighting the Chanukah lights and not pray alone before lighting.

[131]. Shulchan Aruch 680:1–2. See also Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 181.

[132]. Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 181, footnote 3. See also Yabia Omer, vol. 7, 36:9 and Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 1, p. 259.

[133]. See Shulchan Aruch 681:2 and Darkei Moshe. See also Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:21; Moed LeChol Chai 27:17; Yafeh LaLev, vol. 2, 681:1; Kaf HaChayim 681:4; Yechaveh Daat 1:75; Yabia Omer, vol. 9, 88:19; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 182; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 561, 2; and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 43:10.

[134]. Shulchan Aruch 681:1. The Mishnah Berurah 681:1 states that one may, however, use a candle for Havdalah, extinguish it, and then relight it for the mitzvah of Chanukah lights.

[135]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 186; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 565; and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 43:9, which discuss this subject at length. See also Igrot Moshe 4:62 and Teshuvot VeHanhagot, vol. 2, 342:6.

[136] See Halichot Moed, Chanukah, p. 164. I also heard this from Chacham Yitzchak Yosef in his motzaei Shabbat shiur on motzaei Shabbat, parashat Vayishlach 5783.