Lighting on Erev Shabbos

Lighting on Erev Shabbos:[1]

When are the Chanukah candles lit? On Erev Shabbos the Chanukah candles are lit prior to the Shabbos candles.[2] The candles are lit with a blessing despite the fact that they are being lit while still day.[3] [The earliest time one can begin to light the Chanukah candles is from Plag Hamincha.[4] Plag Hamincha is 1.25 Zmaniyos[5] hours prior to sunset.[6]]

When should Mincha be prayed?[7] Mincha is prayed prior to lighting the Chanukah candles.[8] [In a time of need however one may light the candles prior to Mincha.[9] If one is unable to Daven Mincha with a Minyan prior to candle lighting then it is better to light before Mincha and then Daven Mincha with a Minyan.[10]]

How much oil must the candle contain? On Erev Shabbos one is to place enough oil in the candles for them to remain lit for at least 30 minutes after nightfall.[11]

Wax candles:[12] One who is using wax candles must verify that the candles are long enough for them to burn until 30 minutes after nightfall. Thus practically the candles must be long enough to last a minimum of 70 minutes.[13] If one does not have enough long candles available then it suffices so long as one candle will be long enough to last this amount of time.

If the candles extinguished before Shabbos: If the Chanukah candles that were lit Erev Shabbos extinguished before Shabbos had begun some Poskim[14] rule one is not required to relight the candles. However other Poskim[15] rule in such a case one must relight the candle without a blessing. Practically one should always relight candles that extinguished before their time, especially on Erev Shabbos. If one has already accepted Shabbos then he should ask another person to relight the candles.[16]



May a wife light the Shabbos candles prior to the husband lighting the Chanukah candles?[17]

Initially the wife is to only light the Shabbos candles once the Chanukah candles have been lit by her husband.[18] However in a time of need she may light the Chanukah candles prior to her husband and certainly may begin the lighting after her husband has lit one candle.[19]


If a man already lit the Shabbos candles may he still light the Chanukah candles?[20]

Yes. [However if he lit the candles then he must make sure to accept Shabbos within ten minutes of the initial lighting of the Shabbos candles.[21]]


If a woman already lit Shabbos candles may she still light the Chanukah candles if no one else is lighting for her?[22]

No [unless she made a Tnaiy]. However she may ask a Jew who has not yet accepted Shabbos to light the candles for her, having them say the first blessing in her presence while she recites the remaining blessings [of Sheasah Nissim, and Shehechiyanu if this occurred on the first night].


If it is very close to Shabbos and one has not yet Davened Mincha or lit candles, what should he do?

One should first light candles and then Daven Mincha.


If one fears to light the Menorah by the doorway due to children and the like, where is he to light it?

It is to be lit by the window or table.


May one move the Menorah from the doorway on Shabbos?[23]

Moving the Menorah itself: It is forbidden to move the actual Menorah even after it has extinguished.

Moving the tray together with the Menorah: If the tray is not a Basis it may be moved if one needs the space [as is usually the case when by doorway]. If the tray is not a Basis then one may move the Menorah gently even while it is still lit, even if contains oil.

Moving the chair with Menorah: If the chair is not a Basis it may be moved if one needs the space [as is usually the case when by doorway]. One may move the Menorah gently even while it is still lit, even if it contains oil.


How does one effect that the tray/table does not become a Basis?

A tray or table does not become a Basis if either a) One forgot to remove the candle from the tray/table from before Shabbos; or b) Had bread [of the Shabbos meal[24]] or another non-Muktzah item [such as a Siddur or Tehillim] of more importance[25] than the flame resting on the tray/table with the entrance of Shabbos, and the tray was not manufactured specifically for candles.

Moving it for its space: If the tray is not a Basis then if one needs to move the tray in order to use the space under it, then one may move it together with the candle, if shaking off the candle would prevent him from being able to use that space.[26] In such a case that one will be moving the candle together with the tray one may do so even while the candles are still lit [although in the process one must be careful that no oil swerves in the case of an oil candle].


What is one to do if the tray has become a Basis?

One may only move it with an irregularity [Shinuiy].


[1] 679/1


[2] Michaber ibid; Sefer Haminhagim p. 160 [English]

The Reason: As there are opinions which hold that after one has lit the Shabbos candles he has fully accepted Shabbos and thus may no longer light the Chanukah candles. Now, although most Poskim argue on this ruling [regarding men] it is nevertheless proper to first light the Chanukah candles in order to fulfill ones obligation in accordance to all opinions. [M”B 679/1]


[3] Rama ibid; Terumos Hadeshen 102


[4] M”A 679; M”B 679/2


[5] M”B 672/3

This means that one calculates the amount of day hours in the day and then divides that by 12. One then times that by 1.25 hours, which is the amount of hours in Plag Hamincha [1 hour and 15 minutes]. Thus if there are 14 day hours in the day, then each hour when divided into 12 contains 70 minutes, and thus Plag Hamincha would be 1.25 hours times 70 minutes which equals 87.5 minutes prior to sunset. 


[6] Admur in Siddur Hilchos Kerias Shema and 443/4; Gr”a; Ketzos Hashulchan 76/1

Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch: In 263/6 Admur rules that Plag Hamincha is 1 hour and 15 minutes before nightfall. This is based on 58/3; 89/1 in which Admur rules the day is from Alos until Tzeis. Likewise in 261/5 where Admur rules that although one may be stringent to accept Shabbos from 1 and ¼ hours prior to sunset, he may not be lenient to light candles until 1 and ¼ hours prior to nightfall. However in Admur 443/4 he rules it is counted from sunrise until sunset and so rules Admur in the Siddur.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule Plag Hamincha is 1.25 Zmaniyos hours prior to nightfall. [M”B 672/3; 679/2; 692/13; Kaf Hachaim 692/29]


[7] M”B 679/2 in name of Shaareiy Teshuvah and Peri Megadim; Sefer Haminhagim p. 160 [English]

Other customs: Many are accustomed to Daven Mincha after the Chanukah candle lighting, as it is difficult to arrange a Minyan prior to the Chanukah lighting. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 679/2; Tzur Yaakov 1/136]


[8] The Reason: As the allowance to light the Chanukah candles prior to sunset follows the opinion that from Plag Hamincha is considered night, and thus if one were to afterwards pray Mincha it would contradict to the lighting of the Chanukah candles. [Shaar Hatziyon 679/7]


[9] Shaar Hatziyon ibid


[10] Kitzur Shlah Chanukah; Elya Raba 679; There were times that the Rebbe lit Chanukah candles, and then Shabbos candles and only then Davened Mincha with the Minyan. [Hiskashrus 908 footnote 77]


[11] Michaber 672/1; M”B 679/2


[12] M”B 679/2


[13] As one begins to light the Chanukah candles prior to the Shabbos candles which are lit 18 minutes before sunset, and following sunset until nightfall is approximately 20 minutes, depending on country. In some places the candles must last much longer due to a longer twilight period. Likewise the earlier one lights the candles before Shabbos, the longer they must last.


[14] Michaber 673/2


[15] Taz 673 brought in M”B 672/26


[16] M”B 672/27; 679/1


[17] Piskeiy Teshuvos 679/1


[18] Binyan Shlomo 53


[19] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeshev


[20] M”B 679/1


[21] Kuntrus Acharon 263/3 [brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 74 footnote 26] “a lot less than 15 minutes”; Ketzos Hashulchan 74 footnote 17 “This is approximately 10 minutes”


[22] M”B 679/1


[23] 277/5-6


[24] So rules Admur in 277/6. Seemingly this is coming to teach that only the Shabbos Chalas are considered to oneself of more importance then the candles. This is in contrast to weekday bread to which the candles hold more importance in relation to, and thus the table would still remain a basis.


[25] One follows whichever to oneself is of more importance, whether due to its value or its necessity. Thus when Shabbos candles are on ones table the permitted item placed on ones table must be of more importance to oneself then is having the light on the table. [Ketzos Hashulchan 112 footnote 24


[26] If shaking it off will not cause any interference then one must do so, following the guidelines explained next.


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