Parsha Halacha

Parshat Vayeshev

Shabbat Chanukah / Shabbat Mevarchim Tevet

The VaYeshev – Chanukah Connection

and Laws & Customs of Chanukah 5781

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Chanukah Collection for Families

In honor of Chanukah, I am continuing to collect for families in South Florida and in Israel. So far $3000 was distributed to 23 families. There are still many more that need assistance. All your contributions are greatly appreciated.
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Thanking you and wishing you and your family a Shabbat Shalom and a Happy Chanukah.

The Torah portion of Vayeshev is usually the Shabbat before Chaunukah while occasionally it coincides with Shabbat Chanukah as it does this year. The Shela writes (Torah Shebichtav, beginning of Parshiyot Vayeshev, Miketz and Vayigash) that since everything is arranged by G-d in perfect order, there is always a connection between the Torah portion and the festivals (chagim) of that week. This applies whether they are festivals of Torah or Rabbinic origin and it even applies to fast days such as Tisha Be’av. As such, the commentaries find many allusions and connections to Chanukah in the portion of Vayeshev. Here are two of them.
Self Sacrifice Beyond the Letter of the Law
We read in the Torah portion (Gen. 37:12 and on) that Yakov sent Yosef on a mission to Shechem to see how his brothers were doing. When Yosef came to Shechem they were nowhere to be seen. He then met a man who said to him “They have traveled away from here, for I overheard them say, ‘Let us go to Dotan.’”
According to the Midrash (cited in Rashi) this “man” was none other than the angel Gavriel who was warning Yosef of the impending mortal danger should he seek out his brothers. The inner meaning of his words were, “They removed themselves (“traveled away”) from brotherhood (“from here”) to seek legal pretexts ( נִכְלֵי דָתוֹת which is similar to  דֹתָֽן – “Dotan”) regarding you, by which they can put you to death.” Despite this warning, Yosef continued to search for his brothers and, as we know, was nearly killed when he found them.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out (Likutei Sichot 35, pages 172 – 173) that we must understand Yosef’s behaviour. After such a warning, why would Yosef put himself in danger and continue to seek out his brothers? Although his mission was a mitzvah – to fulfill his father’s wishes – one should not risk their life for the sake of fulfilling most mitzvot [see Y.D. 157]. (The sins of idolatry, murder and sexual immorality are the only exceptions to this rule.) This is especially difficult to understand in light of the fact that if Yosef would die he would not be able to fulfill the very mitzvah that he was seeking to accomplish – to bring his father a report about the brothers.
This can be understood based on the opinion of the Nimukei Yosef (cited in the Beit Yosef on Tur Y.D. 157) who writes, “A great, pious and G-d fearing person may sacrifice his life in order to sanctify G-d’s name even for a small mitzvah if he sees that the generation is lax and he wants the people to learn from him.”
Yosef felt that the brothers were lax in the mitzvah of honoring their father. This is evidenced by the following incidents.
  • Shimon and Levi killed the entire city of Shechem without consulting with their father. (See Gen. 49:5 where Yakov reprimands them regarding this incident.)
  • Reuven disturbed his father’s bed (see Gen. 35:22 and Rashi there).
  • The brothers mistreated Yosef despite knowing that he was their father’s favorite son.
As such Yosef, who was certainly a great, G-d fearing and pious person, wished to go beyond the letter of the law and risk his life to fulfill the mitzvah of honoring his father. He was hoping that this would be a good example from which the brothers would learn.
This behaviour was mirrored by the Hasmonians and their followers in the Chanukah era. Firstly, they risked their lives for all of the mitzvot including Brit Milah and Rosh Chodesh. (Some say this is necessary at a time of religious persecution while others disagree). Secondly, they went on the offensive and waged battles which they had no logical chance of winning. This risk of life is certainly not mandatory as it is not a response to a specific desecration of any mitzvah. Yet they did so because they were great and pious men who wanted to inspire their generation to return to the ways of the true Torah. They certainly accomplished this goal as we continue to be inspired by their bravery and zeal until this very day.
Fixing Brotherly Hate
According to the Zohar (Zohar Chadash, beginning of Parshat Vayeshev) the exile to Egypt was a punishment for the sin of the brothers selling Yosef. When the Jewish people began to exhibit baseless hatred towards each other in the era of the second Beit HaMikdash the effects of the sin of the sale of Yosef were reactivated. This resulted in the oppression of the Greeks on the Jewish people which can be likened to a state of exile. This is why the gematira (numerical value) of the righteous Yosef (יוסף) is the same as that of the wicked Antiochus (אנטיוכס) as both equal 156. [I.e., the sin regarding Yosef is what caused the rise of the wicked Antiochus.] (Zera Shimshon, beginning of Parshat Miketz quoting the Megaleh Amukot)
The rest of this article is about the laws and customs of Chanukah.

Thursday evening, 25 Kislev / Dec. 10 – Friday, 3 Tevet/ Dec. 18
Chanukah is the holiday that celebrates the victory of the miraculous conquests by the small Jewish army led by the Hasmonean family against the vastly superior and larger Greek army led by Antiochus.
After the victory, the Jews purified the Temple and found only a small jug of undefiled, pure oil for the Menorah which miraculously lasted eight days. The sages of that generation established an eight-day holiday on the anniversary of the victory and miraculous candle-lighting.
The holiday is called Chanukah which stands for Chanu, they rested (from the war) and kah which stands for chaf- hei (25), referring to the 25th day of the month of Kislev. Another explanation of the name Chanukah is that we celebrate the rededication of the Altar of the Holy Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks. (Chanukah means dedication.)
On these eight days we light candles (or oil lamps) every night, recite additional prayers, and rejoice for this victory.
Shabbat 21b, Mishnah Berurah 270:1, Shibolei Haleket 174
This article will give a brief outline of the laws and customs related to this holiday.
Menorah Lighting
One should be very careful to light the Chanukah lights. The Talmud says that one who is careful in this mitzvah will have children who are Torah scholars. “To be careful” in this context means that he is particular to light pure oil in a clean and beautiful Menorah.
The Rambam (Laws of Megillah and Chanukah 4:12) writes, “The mitzvah of kindling Chanukah lamps is very dear. A person should be very careful in its observance to publicize the miracle and thus increase our praise of G-d and our expression of thanks for the miracles which He wrought on our behalf. Even if a person has no resources for food except that which he receives from charity, he should pawn or sell his garments and purchase oil and lamps to kindle in fulfillment of the mitzvah.”
O.C. 671:1 and  Shabbat, 23b Rashi D. H. Banim
Some say the candles should be lit after sunset. Others say they should be lit after the emergence of three stars. The Chabad custom is to light after sunset and put in sufficient oil to last until a half hour after the stars emerge. This is a total of 50 minutes. This was also the minhag (custom) of the Vilna Gaon.
If the stars are already out, one should daven maariv before lighting the Menorah as. This follows the principle of doing what is more common before what is less common (tadir veshe’eino tadir, tadir kodem). This is certainly true if one has a minyan (quorum) with which to pray now and will not have one later.
One who usually davens maariv later with a minyan may light the Menorah first and daven later as usual.
One who lights after Maariv should prepare the Menorah before leaving to Shul so that he will be able to light immediately upon returning.
Preferably one should light within the first half hour after dark.
If one did not light at this time, one may light as long as there are people walking in the street (if one is lighting outside) or as long as household members are awake (if one is lighting inside the house, see below).
One may even light at the end of the night, before dawn. If one’s household members are asleep, he should awake them (or at least one of them) as otherwise one may not recite a blessing on the kindling.
One may not, however, light (with a blessing) during the following daytime.
One who will be unable to light at night may light after plag hamincha (an hour and a quarter before sunset) as long as there is enough fuel to last until one half hour after dark.
O.C. 672 and Mishnah Berurah 1 and 11 and note 4 in the Dirshu, Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad, HaYom Yom Kislev 25
The original mitzvah was to light outside of one’s doorway to the street so that passersby could see the lights and learn about the miracle. At that time, one would only light indoors if it was dangerous to light outside. Nowadays, some light outdoors, just as before, some light in the window so that the lights can be seen from the outside, and some light inside the house in a doorway, opposite the mezuzah. Chabad custom follows the last view.
One who lights in the window should not use a Menorah that has a back to it so that the household members are able to see the lights as well.
In addition, if the window is more than 30 feet from the street level, one should not light in the window (see below) as the lights will not be noticed by those outside.
Two people may light using the same Menorah by using opposite sides of the Menorah on the first three nights as the empty space in between is an indication that they are lit by different people.
O.C. 671, Sefer Haminhagim Chabad
Candles vs. Oil
One may fulfill the mitzvah by lighting with any flammable material using any fuel that will last for at least one half hour. If using candles, beeswax candles are considered most preferable.
It is better to use oil rather than candles. It is best to use olive oil as this oil burns brightly and was the type of oil used in the Beit HaMikdash.
In addition, it is better to use cotton or linen wicks as these provide a smooth flame.
The oil need not be edible nor does it need to be kosher.
One should not use candles for some of the lights and oil for the others as it may appear that these were lit by two different people.
One may not use a candle that has two wicks as this resembles a torch rather than an individual light.
O.C. 673 and Mishnah Berurah
One should endeavor to acquire a nice Menorah in order to beautify this Mitzvah. If possible, one should use a silver Menorah.
One who uses a glass Menorah with glass inserts is considered to have used the silver Menorah for the mitzvah.
See Kaf HaChayim 673:60, note 41 in the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah 673 in the name of Reb Chaim Kanievsky
How High?
It is best to place the Menorah on a stand that is more than the three tefachim (handbreadths, approx. 9 inches) but less than ten tefachim (approx. 30 inches) from the floor. This is to emphasize that the purpose of the Menorah is solely for the Mitzvah and not for light.
Some are not particular to place it lower than 10 tefachim.
If the Menorah is lower or higher than these heights, it is still acceptable. But if it is above 20 amot (approx. 30 feet), one does not fulfill their mitzvah as the Menorah will not be noticed by people.
O.C. 671:6, Mishnah Berurah 27
The Blessings
When lighting the first night, one should say the three blessings of
1)      Lehadlik ner (shel)  Chanukah
2)      She’asah nissim la’avoteinu
3)       She’hechiyanu
Chabad and Sefardic custom is to say “Lehadlik ner  Chanukah” without the word “shel.”
On subsequent nights one only recites the first two blessings.
It is customary for Chabad Chassidim to wear a gartel (belt for prayers) while kindling the Menorah, but it is not necessary to don Shabbat clothes. Some Chassidim wear Shabbat clothes during the lighting and even throughout Chanukah.
O.C. 676:1, Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad
The Direction
The common custom is to place the first candle on the extreme right of the Menorah and then to add one additional candle to the left of that one on the second night and so on. The lighting should begin with the new candle and then move towards the right. This follows the concept of “turning towards the right.” This is also the Chabad custom
Some say that one should set up the first candle on the extreme left of the Menorah and then add new ones to the right of this one. The lighting begins with the lamp that was kindled first and moves to the right. (This is the custom of the Vilna Gaon.)
O.C. 676:5 and Mishnah Berurah 9
The Shamash
It is forbidden to benefit from the Chanukah lights. This is one of the reasons we use a shamash (an extra candle) so that if we inadvertently use the light, it should be considered that we’re using the light of the Shamash. For this reason, the Shamash should be placed higher than the other candles.
In addition, it is customary to not light one Chanukah candle from the other. The shamash is therefore used to light all of the candles.
If the shamash goes out, one may not relight it from a Chanukah candle.
Chabad custom is to use a shamash made out of beeswax. Oil is not used as it is difficult to maneuver an oil lamp and use it to kindle the other lights.
O.C. 673:1 and 675:1, Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad.
After Lighting
It is best to sit near the candles for a half hour after the lighting. This does not apply on Friday night when one should go to shul to pray after lighting the candles.
Sefer HaMinhagim, Chabad, see Responsa Shav Yaakov, 22,  Hayom Yom 25 kislev.
Who Lights?
The basic obligation is that one person should light one candle per night of Chanukah.
It is a better mitzvah for each family member to light a candle each night.
The best mitzvah is to add one candle every night so that one light one on the first night, two on the second night etc.
In practice, it is Ashkenazi custom for every household member to light one on the first night, two on the second and so on.
This includes children who have reached the age of education in mitzvot.
Sefardic custom is that only the head of the household lights a Menorah, and he adds one for each night.
In any case, it is proper for all of the members of the household to gather during the lighting of the Menorah so that everyone hears the brachot and participates in the mitzvah.
O. C. 671 and 672:2
The mitzvah of kindling the Chanukah lights applies to men and women equally. The sages established this rule, despite the fact that Chanukah is a time-bound mitzvah from which women are normally exempt, because the decrees of the Greeks affected the women as well as the men. In addition, the salvation of the Jews came about through the efforts of a woman, Yehudis, who killed the powerful Greek general Helipurni.
It is customary that women fulfill their mitzvah by the lighting of their husband, father, or other male family member. Nevertheless, if a woman wishes to light her own Menorah, she may do so, and she may recite a bracha. (This is not the Chabad custom.)
If a woman lives alone, she should certainly light her own Menorah with a bracha. A man may light on behalf of a woman in her home and recite the brachot for her if she cannot do this herself. (Needless to say, the laws of Yichud must be observed.)
O.C. 670:2, 675:3, Mishnah Berurah 9, Magen Avraham 676:4
If one eats at a friend’s or relative’s house on Chanukah but will not be sleeping there, but will rather go home to sleep, he must light in his own home. This applies to both men and women.
A man who is a (sleepover) guest in someone else’s house for Chanukah need not light separately if he is married and his wife is lighting back home in his house. He should nevertheless be present at a Menorah lighting in order to hear the blessings.
In this situation, if one wishes to light himself, he may do so as long as he intends to not fulfill the mitzvah by the lighting of his wife. Some say that he may only do this if he lights before the time that he expects his wife to light.
A man whose wife is not lighting in his house (either because he’s not married or because he and his wife are both traveling) must either light himself (this is preferred) or participate in the lighting of his host. He may participate by giving the host a coin in order to acquire some of the candles or by the host simply giving him some of the oil (or candles) as a gift.
O.C. 677
One who is traveling during Chanukah should try to arrange his travel plans so that he will not be traveling throughout any of the nights of Chanukah. One should then light the Menorah either before he departs or when he arrives. If one’s travel arrangements make this impossible, one should consult a rabbi as to how to proceed.
Before Lighting
From a half hour before the time of lighting, one should not be involved in anything that will be distracting and cause him to forget about the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah lights. This includes:
  • Eating (grain foods larger than the size of an egg)
  • Studying Torah (one may study during the half hour before dark but should stop when it gets dark).
  • Business activities
O.C. 672, Mishnah Berurah 10 with the notes of the dirshu
For How Long?
As mentioned above, the Menorah should preferably burn for at least a half hour after dusk. If the lights become extinguished during this time, it is not necessary to rekindle them though it is preferable to do so.
It is permissible to move the Menorah after this time.
One may extinguish the lights after this time.
 Mishnah Berurah, 673:27, Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad, O.C. 672:2
It is customary that, while the candles are burning, women do not do work such as laundry, ironing, and sewing. This is referring to the time that the candles must actually burn (50 minutes is lit after sunset and 30 minutes if lit after the stars emerge, see above). The types of work permissible on Chol Hamoed (e.g., cooking and basic cleaning) are permissible. Some are strict even regarding such work.
One of the reasons for this custom is to ensure that one not use the light of the Menorah for one’s own activities. Women are particular about this more so than men since they had a great part in the miracle as explained above.
O.C. 270:1, Responsa Rivevot Efrayim, 1:436 and Responsa Kinyan Torah 7:52
Leftover Oil
The oil that is left after the Chanukah lights go out may not be used for other purposes. One may, however, use the leftover oil for the following nights of Chanukah. After Chanukah, the leftover oil should be burned separately in order to ensure it will not be used improperly.
If it is difficult to burn, one may dispose of it in a respectable manner (i.e., not down the toilet or in a way that it mixes with garbage).
If one made a condition before he kindled the Chanukah lights that the leftover oil not be sanctified, he may use it or dispose of it however he sees fit.
In any case, the oil that remained in the bottle may be used for any purpose although it was purchased for the purpose of Chanukah.
O.C. 677:4 with Mishnah Berurah and Dirshu notes. See Biur Halacha D.H. HaTzarich
HaNeirot Halalu
After lighting the Menorah, we recite HaNeirot Halalu. This short paragraph explains the reason for our lighting these candles. By reciting this paragraph we show that our intent in lighting the candles is to praise G-d for His salvation. This is an essential aspect of the fulfillment of the Mitzvah.
Some say that one should start reciting this paragraph as soon as one finishes lighting the first candle. Others say that one should first light all the candles before reciting this prayer. This is the Chabad custom.
One who does not recite this paragraph has still fulfilled the mitzvah.
O.C. 676:4, Mishnah Berurah 8, HaYom Yom Kislev 25 and Aruch HaSHulchan 276:8
Lighting in Shul
It is customary to light the Menorah in shul between Mincha and Maariv. This lighting is to publicize the miracle and is not for any person to fulfill their obligation. Even the person who lit the Menorah and recited the brachot must light again in his home with the brachot. On the first night, the one who actually lit in shul should not repeat the She’hechiyanu blessing when he lights at home unless there is someone in his home who did not yet hear that blessing.
It is customary in many shuls to light the Menorah without a bracha before Shacharit (morning service) as well.
On Erev Shabbat, if the hour is late, the Menorah should be kindled in shul before Mincha. One may recite the blessings even if a minyan has not yet arrived as the minyan will arrive while the candles are still burning.
O.C. 671:7 and Shevach HaMo’adim page 107
Lighting in Public Places
The Chabad custom is to light the Menorah in public gathering places in order to publicize the miracle of Chanukah. One should only recite the brachot if a minyan (ten Jewish adult men) is present. All those present at such a lighting must light again in their own homes.
See Netivim Besdeh Hashlicht by Rav L. Y. Raskin of London, pages 242 – 257
During the eight days of Hallel we recite the complete Hallel during the morning service (shacharit). A mourner who is acting as the chazzan should not be the chazzan for Hallel but may lead the rest of the services. This is the Chabad custom. Some say he should not be the Chazzan for the entire shacharit during Chanukah. Some say he should not be the Chazzan at all during Chanukah.
O.C. 683 and Mishnah Berurah, Biur Halacha Siman 132, Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad
Ve’Al HaNissim
During Chanukah we recite the paragraph of Ve’Al HaNissim during the second to last blessing of the Amidah and during the second blessing of the grace after meals.
If one forgot to say this prayer and he did not yet say G-d’s name at the end of the blessing, he should return and say it and continue his prayers from that point on.
If one already said G-d’s name at the end of these blessings, one need not (and may not) repeat these blessings, whether in the Amidah or in the Grace after meals. Nevertheless, if one remembers before completing the Birchat HaMazon, he may add a Harachaman for Chanukah where the HaRachamans are normally added for Shabbat and Holidays (after the paragraph of Mimarom). One can then say the paragraph of Bimai Matityahu etc.
On Shabbat or Rosh Chodesh this should be recited after the Harachamans of Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh respectively.
See the Siddur for more details on this law.
Similarly, one who forgot to say Ve’al Hanissim during the Amidah may say this Harachaman before the last line of the Amidah (Yihiyu Leratzon) and then say Bimai Matityahu. One may do this on Shabbat as well.
There is no addition to the Al HaMichya blessing.
O.C. 681 with Mishnah Berurah and Dirshu notes
Some say that one need not have any additional meals on Chanukah as Chanukah primarily celebrates the religious victory of the Jews over the Hellenists. Some say that it is a mitzvah to have meals with which to celebrate this miracle since Chanukah was a military victory as well. In addition we are also celebrating the compilation of the building of the Mishkan and the rededication of the Beit HaMikdash.
In practice, if one recites Torah thoughts at these meals, they are considered to be “mitzvah meals.”
Some have the custom of eating dairy on Chanukah to commemorate the brave acts of Yehudit who killed a Greek general after feeding him cheese and wine.
O. C. 670:2 Mishnah Berurah 6 and 7
No Fasting
It is forbidden to fast on any of the days of Chanukah. This includes a Yahrtzeit and a Chattan and Kallah on their wedding day. Some say that one may also not fast on the day before and the day after Chanukah.
Rama 670:3 see Mishnah Berurah, 686, 1
No Tachnun
During Chanukah we do not recite Tachnun (confessionary prayers) during the prayers. The same is true of the Mincha before Chanukah.
Siddur HaRav.
Torah Study
It is proper to add in Torah study during Chanukah to commemorate the fact that under Greek occupation we had been unable to study Torah and that as a result of the miracle, we were able to study again.
See Shela, end of inyanei Tefillah That these days are most appropriate for assiduous Torah study more than other days.
See also Kedushat Levi (Derushim LeChanukah, D.H. Yadua)”On these days G-d begins to shine the rays of his Torah upon us.”
Minhagei Chatam Sofer (89, 1) that it was during the days of Chanukah that the secrets of the Torah were revealed to Moshe Rabeinu.
It is customary to give extra charity on Chanukah.These days are propitious to cleanse the blemishes of one’s soul by giving Tzedakah.  In addition, since these days are propitious for the coming of Mashiach, we try to hasten his arrival by giving Tzedakah.
Mishnah Berurah 670:1 and Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad
It is customary to give monetary gifts on Chanukah to one’s family members. This is to commemorate the fact that during the Greek occupation we did not have control over our own property and that this was restored to us in G-d’s great kindness.
The Chabad Rebbes would distribute “Chanukah gelt” to their families on the fourth or fifth night of Chanukah.
Hayom Yom 28 Kislev
Other Customs:
It is customary to eat foods fried in oil such as latkes and donuts (sufganiyot).
See Hayom Yom 28 Kislev
Some have a custom to play Draidel. This commemorates how the Jewish children would switch from studying Torah to playing games when the Greek inspectors would arrive.
Erev Shabbat Chanukah
Friday, 25 Kislev / Dec. 11
On Erev Shabbat Chanukah (Friday of Chanukah), one should light the Chanukah candles before lighting the Shabbat candles.
  • If a man forgot and lit the Shabbat candles first, he may still light the Chanukah candles (if Shabbat has not yet begun).
  • If a woman forgot and lit the Shabbat candles first, she may not light the Chanukah candles, but she may instruct someone else to do so.
  • If it is late the woman of the house should light the Shabbat candles even if her husband has not yet lit the Chanukah candles.


One should use candles (or oil) that will last until a half hour after dusk. One who has small candles should use at least one large candle that will last for this amount of time.
O.C. 679 and Mishnah Berurah
Order of Mincha
On this Erev Shabbat, it is best to pray Mincha before the Chanukah lighting. This is because when lighting the Menorah early, one is considering that part of the day to be like nighttime. One should therefore pray Mincha (which must be prayed during the daytime) beforehand.
Minchah here precedes the Chanukah lights, just as in the Beit HaMikdash the offering of the Tamid sacrifice (which Minchah parallels) always preceded the lighting of the Menorah. Moreover, this order precludes an anomalous sequence of events since the time for Minchah ends at sunset, while the Chanukah lights properly belong to the forthcoming evening.
Nevertheless one should not pray Mincha early if it means that he will miss praying with a Minyan.
Ibid with the notes of the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah
A Menorah that was lit for this Friday night is muktzah and may not be moved on Shabbat even after the candles go out, even if it is in the way. In fact, if the Menorah was placed on a tray or table, and it is the most significant item on that tray or table, the entire tray or table becomes muktzah.
One who wishes to move the Menorah on Shabbat should place it on a tray or a table that is not specifically designed for it and also place a challah or Siddur on the tray or table before Shabbat. If he has done so, he may move the entire tray after the candles go out, if it is in the way.
The same rules applies if it is on a small table or on a chair.
See the notes on the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah, 680:4
Motzei Shabbat
In shul it is customary to light the Menorah before havdalah. The reason for this is to delay the formal departure of Shabbat as much as possible. The one lighting should make sure to recite havdalah in his prayers or to say baruch hamavdil bein kodesh lechol before the lighting.
In one’s home some have the custom to first recite havdalah and then light the candles. This follows the principle of doing the more common mitzvah first. Others have the custom to light before Havdalah in the home as is done is shul.
One who lights after Havdalah should recite Veyiten Lecha after the Menorah lighting.
One who lights before Havdalah should recite Veyiten Lecha before Havdalah.
O.C. 681:2 and Mishnah Berurah 3
Sunday, the 27th of Kislev
On the 27th of Kislev the Ba’al HaTanay was freed for Soviet Imprisonment for the 2nd time.
See HaYom Yom, Kislev 27
Rosh Chodesh
Tuesday night and Wednesday, Tevet 1 / Dec. 15-16
On the days of Rosh Chodesh we add Ya’aleh VeYavo for Rosh Chodesh in the Amidah and in Birkat HaMazon. Musaf is also added. We say full Hallel on these days as we do the rest of Chanukah.
Two Torah scrolls are used for the Torah reading. The first is for three aliyot of the Rosh Chodesh reading and the second is for the Chanukah reading.
Zot Chanukah
Thursday night and Friday, Tevet 3 / Dec. 17 and 18
The last day of Chanukah, called Zot Chanukah, has special significance.
  • It is the final day of the Teshuvah season which begins on Rosh Chodesh Ellul.
  • It is a segulah to pray on this day for children. This is alluded to in Torah reading of this day which contains 89 verses. The word taf in Hebrew (which means small children) has the gematria of 89.
  • We are especially joyous on this day in that we were able to rejoice (and fulfill the mitzvot) on all of the eight days of Chanukah.
Orot Tzadikim – Chanukah, by Rabbi Aharon Meizlish, page 127 in the name of the Benei Binyamin, the Chamar Tava and the Atzei Chayim

May we merit the rebuilding of the Third Beit HaMikdash speedily so that we may kindle the grand Menorah once again!

Wishing you a Shabat Shalom UMevorach and a Happy Chanukah!

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