Joel Hoffman
Rabbi, Teacher, Columnist

Why the Menorah Needs Shabbat Candles Tonight

Using regular Chanukah candles in their Menorah on Friday night does not fulfill the Mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah Menorah and here’s why… .

The Menorah needs to be lit before one’s Shabbat candles, of which, for example, candle  lighting time for Shabbat in the New York City area today is 4:10 p.m.  But the Menorah has to burn for 30 minutes past the time one can first see medium-sized 3 stars if it was a clear night which will be at exactly 5:14 p.m. in the New York City area this year.  This is a total of 64 minutes, but regular Chanukah candles only burn for 30 minutes. Can you see the problems?  Therefore, one needs to use Shabbat candles in their Menorah today, which, FYI, burn for about 2.5 hours.  Many people avoid this issue by using an oil Menorah.  I

If one’s Menorah is too small to to melt Shabbat candles onto the candle holder because it’ll then have the candles too close together, then s/he could line up six Shabbat candles on tinfoil, plus the Shamash on a stack of quarters.

The Maccabees fought to be able to light the Temple’s Menorah the correct way (with pure oil), so, too, we should light our Chanukah Menorah according to Halakhah, or Jewish Law.

In addition to using Shabbat Candles in place of Chanukah candles tonight, the procedure is that one first lights their menorah then light their Shabbat candles.

Happy Chanukah!

About the Author
Rabbi Joel E. Hoffman has been an educator for 22 years which has included teaching, administration, developing innovative programs and curriculum, research, writing articles, facilitating workshops, and speaking nationwide. Links to most of his 35+ published writings can be found on his Linked-In page at