Thursday, November 27, 2008

The time to light the Menorah


Traditionally, Jews lit the Menorah at the time of the stars' first visibility. The Menorah, publicizing the miracle of Chanukah for people in the streets, would be lit at the time of real street traffic. (Before street lights, few people travelled the roads later at night, with the small moon of Chanukah-time, in winter).

Since then, two things have changed:
1. For reasons of both persecution and climate, most Jews outside of Israel now light indoors, publicizing the miracle for their family members more than for the passersby, and
2. Street traffic lasts much later at night.

Therefore, one may light later at night.

However, one truly should still light when the stars emerge, if possible, because Mitzvot should be performed at their earliest eligible time. One may not engage in any sort of other activity that might distract him from lighting - eating, or studying Torah, for example - until he has lit.

(Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 672:1-2; Mishneh Berurah 672:10)

Have a great day,

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