Hanukkah is a Jewish festival of lights that lasts for eight days. On each of these days, Jews across the world light a special nine-branched candelabra called a menorah and recite blessings. The blessing and lighting of the menorah is a fundamental part of the Hanukkah celebration. So, when are Hanukkah candles lit?
The exact time for lighting the Hanukkah candles varies slightly depending on whether one follows the traditional customs of Ashkenazi or Sephardi Jews. Generally, the candles must be lit in the evening when the sun sets. On the first night of Hanukkah, they can be lit as soon as the sun sets. On the subsequent nights, the candles must be lit before the end of the night, though there is some debate about exactly how late the menorah can be lit.
In the traditional Ashkenazi custom, the menorah can be lit until midnight, while in the Sephardi custom, it should be lit before one-third of the night has passed (typically about 45 minutes after sunset). It is important to note, however, that it is possible to light the menorah even after the ideal window has passed, making sure to have lit all eight candles before the night is over.
It is also important to remember that while it is traditional to light the candles in the evening, the blessing must be recited before lighting the menorah. The two blessings are different; the first thanks God for the mitzvah (commandment) of lighting Hanukkah candles, and the second blesses God “who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.”
In this article, we discussed the significance and rules of lighting the Hanukkah menorah. We learned that candles are lit in the evening, starting from the left-most candle and adding one each night until all candles are lit. The amount of time that elapses between sunset and the end of the night varies slightly between Ashkenazi and Sephardi cultures, but in any case, the candle lighting must be completed by the end of the night. Finally, a blessing must be recited before lighting the candles. Hanukkah is a time of reflection and joy, and the proper lighting of the menorah is an essential part of its observance.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.