Lighting the Menorah

(Adapted and translated from Hilchos Chanuka by Rav Yoel Schwartz Shlit"a)


Before kindling the Menorah, the following two brochas are said.



On the first night the brocha of She’hecheyanu is also said.


If one began kindling the lights before reciting the brocha, he may recite them if he has not yet concluded kindling all the lights. (The shamash is not considered a light). If all the lights were already kindled, he should not say the brocha "L’hadlik ner Shel Chanuka" But he should recite the other brochas (while looking at the lights).

If for some reason She’hecheyanu was not said on the first night, it should be said when kindling lights on the next night, or any of the following nights.

A person who will not kindle Chanuka lights that night, and doesn’t have anyone kindling for him at home, should say the brocha "She’osoh nisim" when observing Chanuka lights kindled by others. On the first night She’hecheyanu, is also said.

The menorah should be in its proper place, before kindling the lights. The menorah may not be moved after the lighting. (If one moved the menorah after lighting, he should consult a rabbi for the proper procedure.)

There are various customs regarding the order of the lights in the menorah. The most accepted custom is to kindle the rightmost light on the first night. On the second night, the additional light is to the left of the first one. The additional light is kindled first, and then the rest, moving from left to right.
See the page
"Order of Lighting the Chanuka Menorah" for illustrations.

As mentioned, there are various customs, and everyone is to follow their respective custom. The prayer "Haneriros Ha’lo’lu" is said immediately after kindling the lights. Some people have the custom to begin reciting it after kindling the first light, while kindling the other lights. Others kindle all the lights before reciting it.

The is no halachic requirement to rekindle Chanuka lights that went out within the half hour, if they were kindled properly (the wick is burning smoothly, with enough fuel to burn for half an hour, and not in a windy place). It is nevertheless preferable to rekindle the lights.

If one extinguished the lights intentionally, he must rekindle them. The brochas are not to be recited again.

One may extinguish the lights after they burned for half an hour.

On Erev Shabbos, if the lights went out, before Shabbos began (sunset), they should be rekindled, (although some posskim do not require this). If the person has already accepted Shabbos upon himself, he may not rekindle them. If however the sun has not yet set, he should ask someone else who didn’t accept Shabbos, to rekindle them for him.

The Chanuka lights may not serve for any personal use. This includes using their light to inspect money, or even to learn Torah.

It is for this purpose the shamash is lit and placed above the candles. In this manner, if the lights are used for personal benefit, it is the light of the shamash that is being used.

One may not use a Chanuka light to kindle another. If a light went out, the shamash should be used to rekindle it. (There are some exceptions to this rule, and at certain times, one may use one light to kindle another. The details of this rule, are very complex, and are not brought here.)

The oil used for lighting, may not serve for any personal usage. (At the time of lighting one has the option of stipulating that he is designating only the amount of oil necessary to burn for half an hour.)

The oil remaining from one night, may be used for lighting on subsequent nights.

The oil and wicks remaining after Chanuka, must be burned separately, and may not be used for any other purpose.

Oil designated for Chanuka lights, but not used for lighting, does not become forbidden. (This includes oil remaining in a bottle, or even if it was already placed in the menorah, but was not lit.)