The first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown.

Chag Samech!

How do you light your menorah? Hillel’s way or Shamai’s?

Since Talmuic times there has been debate on how to light the Hanukkah candles: should you begin with one and add, or start with all and decrease?

Although it now common custom to follow the school of Hillel in matters regarding Hanukkah candles (and many othe issues), it is important to note that this has not always been the case.

 Rabbi Shamai argued that on the first night of Hanukkah all candles should be lit, decreasing by one each day until the holiday is over . He rationalized that this method served best to illustrate the miracle of the temple’ s oil supply lasting eight days.

Rabbi Hillel disagreed, stating that by adding another flame each night, we are able to see the increase in our blessings.

Check out the following sites for more details on the history of this  great rabbinical debate.

 http://www.jewishmag.com/85mag/shamaihillel/shamaihillel.htm

http://www.pardes.org.il/online_learning/halacha/chanuka.php

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/11010

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Hanukkah/At_Home/Candlelighting/Haneirot_Hallalu/Publicizing_the_Miracle.shtml

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One response to “The first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown.

  1. And then there’s the question of what order to light them – most people have settled on, put them in starting on the right, light them from the left. I enjoy saying the second prayer, which makes Hanukah special, thanking God for miracles in those days and now. See you at the party next week!

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