Chanukah Menorah Lighting Guide

For the BLESSINGS on the Menorah, CLICK HERE



The first night of Chanukah is Sunday night, December 2. 
The lights are lit progressively through Sunday night, December 9. 
The following are some tips on the proper procedure for lighting the Chanukah lights.
  • It is preferable to use an oil Menorah, although candles certainly fulfill the mitzvah. Electric and gas Menorahs, DO NOT fulfill the mitzvah. 
  • The Chanukah lights should be set up in a straight row and not in a circle or at different heights.
  • The Shamash should be placed apart from the other lights so that it is not confused with them. Therefore it should be placed higher, or set aside from the other lights.
  • The blessing is recited, COMPLETELY, BEFORE kindling the lights.
  • The earliest you can light the Menorah is 3:36 pm ( don’t forget — it must last until 5:31 pm. See next line.)
  • The lights must stay lit for a full half hour after nightfall. This Chanukah, nightfall is at 5:01 pm, so If you light the Menorah at 3:36 pm you must make sure that it will stay lit till 5:31 pm. PLEASE NOTE: The standard colored candles only last for 30 - 35 minutes. If you are using candles and must light earlier than 5:01 pm (which is nightfall), please buy special “long burning” candles.
  • Once the lights are lit they are not to be moved for the aforementioned amount of time.
  • If the lights go out early, it is proper to rekindle them within the aforementioned time (EXCEPT on Shabbat). It is not mandatory to rekindle them and therefore no additional blessing is recited.
  • The Menorah lights should be kindled as close to nightfall as possible (5:01 pm). If you come home later than nightfall, you should light the Menorah before anything else (even dinner!) One should stay in the vicinity of the lights for 1/2 hour after lighting (except on Erev Shabbat when one goes to shul.)


  • On Shabbat we light the Menorah BEFORE the Shabbat candles. Shabbos candle lighting on Friday, December 7, is 4:12 pm. A practical time to light the Menorah would be at 4:05 pm This will allow time for the proper lighting of the Menorah and reciting Haneiros Halalu, Maoz Tzur, etc., and ensure that the Shabbat candles are lit on time and people can arrive in Shul for davening. Please plan ahead so you can come home early. We DO NOT light the Menorah after Shabbat has started. (Even though Shabbat candle lighting time is 4:12 pm, in case of emergency only, one can light until 4:30 pm. One would never light after this time.)
  • Since we will be lighting the Menorah at about 4:05 pm, and the lights must last until 5:31 pm as discussed above, the standard 1/2 hour candle does not suffice and one cannot make a blessing over such candles on Erev Shabbat. Please call the office if you need longer candles for Shabbat and we will try to get them for you. (You may use regular Shabbat candles and insert them in your Menorah, if the base is large enough, or you can even light them lined up on a piece of silver foil, etc.)
  • The Menorah lighting on Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night) must be AFTER Shabbat is over which is 5:15 pm this year.

For Further information, please call the Chabad Center: 973-625-1525 Ext. 202,
or visit our Chanukah Super Site: