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Hanukah – Lighting Hanukah Candles on Friday Afternoon

On Friday of Hanukah, one must light the Hanukah candles before the Shabbat candles. The earliest time when one may light the Hanukah candles is the point of “Pelag Ha’minha,” which during the Hanukah season is usually around 3:30pm (in the New York City area). Therefore, on Ereb Shabbat Hanukah, one must be extra vigilant to complete Shabbat preparations especially early, so that he can light the Hanukah candles before the wife lights the Shabbat candles.

It is preferable on Ereb Shabbat Hanukah to recite Minha earlier in the afternoon, before lighting the Hanukah candles. This is because the afternoon “Tamid” sacrifice – to which the Minha prayer corresponds – would be offered in the Bet Ha’mikdash before the Menorah was kindled. Accordingly, it is proper, if possible, to pray Minha on Friday afternoon before lighting the Hanukah candles.

Therefore, synagogues should try to arrange a Minyan for Minha Gedola – meaning, the Minha prayer recited earlier in the afternoon – for those who are able to recite Minha earlier. Synagogues should then have another Minyan for Minha closer to sundown for those who could not pray Minha earlier, but this Minha prayer must start earlier enough to allow for the Hanukah candles in the synagogue before the onset of Shabbat.

When one lights the Hanukah candles on Friday afternoon, he must ensure to add enough oil, or use long enough candles, to sustain the candles until 45 minutes after sundown, a period of close to one hour fifteen minutes..


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