Daily Halcha: Shalom Bayis precedes Chanukah candles-The lesson in Divine Service


Precedence-Shabbos candles versus Chanukah candles:[1]

One who is unable to afford to purchase both Shabbos candles and Chanukah candles, Shabbos candles receive precedence.[2] He is to purchase only one Shabbos candle for the dining table [to last until after the meal[3]], and if any money remains, he is to use it to purchase Chanukah candles.[4] [This however only refers to the candles of Erev Shabbos, if however one has enough money to either purchase candles for Thursday’s lighting, or save the money to purchase candles for Shabbos, then the Chanukah candles receive precedence.[5] Furthermore, some Poskim[6] rule that possibly in today’s times that we anyways light the Chanukah candles inside the house, the Chanukah candles always receives precedence.[7] Other Poskim[8] however argue that this law that the Shabbos candles receive precedence applies even today. Practically, we rule like the latter opinion, that even in today’s times the Shabbos candles receive precedence.[9]]

Precedence-Wine for Kiddush/Havdala versus Chanukah candles: If one has Shabbos candles, but is unable to afford to purchase both Chanukah candles and wine for Kiddush, Chanukah candles receive precedence.[10] He is to purchase only one Chanukah candle and use any leftover money towards wine for Kiddush.[11] Likewise, if one has Shabbos candles and wine for Kiddush, but is unable to afford to purchase both Chanukah candles and wine for Havdala, Chanukah candles receive precedence.[12] [If, however, one does not have money to afford both Chanukah candles and bread for the meal, then some Poskim[13] rule that the bread receives precedence.[14] Other Poskim[15] however rule the Chanukah candles receive precedence.[16] If a roommate cannot afford to purchase both wine for Shabbos and Chanukah candles, he/she is to ask the other roommate to acquire him/her some of the oil and wicks as a present, and be included in their lighting. He/she may then use the leftover money to purchase wine for Kiddush.[17]]

Shalom Bayis precedes Chanukah candles-The lesson in Divine Service:[18]

The Shabbos candles represent Shalom Bayis, bringing peace into one’s home. The Chanukah candles represent bringing peace to the world. The above law states that if one is unable to enter the energy into both spreading peace in his home and into the world, then his home takes precedence. One is to precede his efforts in making his home a dwelling place for Hashem. This especially to one’s wife, who can at times be a Knegdo [adversary] and needs to be reversed to become an Eizer.


[1] Michaber 678:1; Rava Shabbos 23b

[2] The reason: As the purpose of Shabbos candles is to bring peace to one’s home [Michaber ibid] as one needs to eat near light, and the light prevents him from stumbling upon walking in the room. [See Rashi ibid; Taz 678:1; M”A 678:2] The Shabbos candle receives precedence even if he can afford to buy both Chanukah candles and wine for Kiddush with that money. [Radbaz 108; Erech Hashulchan 678:1; Kaf Hachaim 678:4] The entire Torah was given for the sake of peace, and hence if one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah of Chanukah due to a Mitzvah that brings peace, then even from the perspective of Chanukah, one should forgo its Mitzvah for the sake of the Mitzvah that brings peace. [See Likkutei Sichos 15 p. 372 [printed in Shaar Hamoadim Chanukah 49]]

[3] See Kaf Hachaim 678:4

[4] M”A 678:1; Elya Raba 678:1; M”B 678:1; Kaf Hachaim 678:1

The reason: As one is only obligated to light one Shabbos candle to fulfill the Mitzvah of Ner Shabbos. The concept of lighting two candles for Shabbos is merely a proper act, and it is thus better to be Mihadeir in the Chanukah lighting [and light many Chanukah candles] rather than be Mihadeir in Shabbos candles. [P”M 678 A”A 1; M”B 678:1; See also Biur Halacha 263 “Shtei Pesilos”] As the concept of Mehadrin by Chanukah candles is brought in the Talmud, as opposed to the concept of lighting more than one Shabbos candle. [Shaar Hatziyon 678:3]

[5] Radbaz 13; Erech Hashulchan 678:2; Kaf Hachaim 678:5

The reason: As we do not delay the performance of a Mitzvah for the sake of performing a later Mitzvah. [ibid] Furthermore, Hashem could arrange that he make money the next day and hence afford to buy the candles. [Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[6] M”A 678:2; Ruach Chaim in name of Rosh Yosef; Chayeh Adam 154:36; See Kaf Hachaim 678:2

[7] The reason: As in upon lighting the Chanukah candles at home one will automatically achieve the Shalom Bayis affected by the Shabbos candles, as the Chanukah candle will give light to the room. Now, although it is forbidden to use the Chanukah lights and eat near it, nevertheless, this is similar to a time of danger in which we rule the candles may be lit on the table, and due to lack of choice one is likewise allowed to eat near it. This law likewise applies during the week, if one only has one candle available. [M”A ibid]

[8] Elya Raba 678:2; Bigdei Yesha 678; Derech Hachaim; P”M 678 A”A 2 that so is implied from Michaber and Rama ibid; M”B 678:2; Kaf Hachaim ibid in name of Shaar Hakavanos

[9] M”B 678:2

[10] Michaber 678:1; Rava Shabbos 23

The reason: As the Chanukah candles contains the Mitzvah of Pirsumei Nissa. [Michaber ibid] Now, although the Mitzvah of Kiddush is Biblical, nevertheless, since one can make Kiddush on bread, the wine does not receive precedence. [Beis Yosef; Ran; Levush; Taz 678:2; M”B 678:6]

[11] M”A 678:3; M”B 678:5

[12] Rama 678:1

The reason: As the Chanukah candles contains the Mitzvah of Pirsumei Nissa [Michaber ibid] and it is possible to recite Havdala in Davening. [Kaf Hachaim 678:10]

[13] Taz 678:2; Erech Hashulchan 678:4; M”B 678:4; See Kaf Hachaim 678:9

[14] The reason: As eating bread and Lechem Mishneh on Shabbos is a Biblical precept according to all, as well as that making Kiddush on bread [when wine is not available] is a Biblical command, while the Chanukah candles is merely Rabbinical. [Taz ibid;]

[15] Bach 678, brought in Beir Heiytiv 678:1; Peri Chadash 678; Ateres Zekeinim 678

[16] The reason: As the Mitzvah of Kiddush is only Rabbinical, and there is no Biblical command to eat Lechem Mishneh. [Ateres Zekeinim ibid; P”M 678 M”Z 2]

[17] P”M 678 A”A 2; Kaf Hachaim 678:8

[18] Likkutei Sichos 3:67 [Lashon Hakodesh]; See also Likkutei Sichos 15 p. 372 [printed in Shaar Hamoadim Chanukah 49]

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