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Browse Zemanim: Hanoukah: General Halachot of Hanukah

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

-Women should not perform melacha (work) in the house during the first half hour that the candles of Hanukah are lit. Women used to work in the house using light from candles in general, and so Rabbis established that women not work for fear that they use the candles of Hanukah for light (which is forbidden). Even though this reason is no longer applicable for we use electric light in our homes, women should follow this custom.

-It is not permitted to eulogize someone who passed away and it is not proper to go to a cemetery on Hanukah. Both increase pain and sadness, which is forbidden during the days of Hanukah. However, the laws of avelout fully apply- it is eulogizing and speaking more about a person that passed away which is forbidden. If the 'year' for one's close relative falls on Hanukah, one should visit the cemetery before or after Hanukah (preferably before).

-Rav Hounah in the Gemara explains that the reward for one being careful with the misvah of lighting the candles of Hanukah is to have children that are Talmidei Hachamim.

-A poor person must sell his clothing in order to have enough money to buy either oil or candles for Hanukah. (Fours cups of wine for Pesah is the only other time this halacha applies.) The poor person must buy enough to light one candle per night of Hanukah, as that is the main core of the misvah.

-Therefore, gabaim of a synagogue must be aware that they are only required to collect and disburse sedaqah funds for one candle per night.

-The main core misvah of Hanukah is the lighting of one candle per day, meaning that one only lights one candle every night (using a total of eight candles for the entire holiday). However, we have a custom to beautify this misvah and add to it by lighting an additional candle every night as the holiday progresses.

-If one have enough oil/candles for only one night, one should not split the oil/candles into eight parts, and use each smaller part each night. One should light one night fully, using all he has. For the rest of the nights, the person is considered anous, and is exempt from the misvah because he does not have the ability to light.
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