Earliest and Latest time to light Chanukah Candles

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Earliest Time to Light

  1. The time to light is immediately after Tzet HaCochavim (15 minutes (in Israel) after sun completely sets). Some Ashkenazim have the Minhag to light right after sunset. [1]
  2. One can’t light earlier than Tzet Hachochavim (or Shekiah according to those who light at Shekiah) except on Friday night Chanuka. But if one is unable to light at night at all and will miss the mitzvah totally, one should light after Plag HaMincha without a bracha. But it’s preferable to have someone light for you at the proper time than light early oneself. [2]
  3. If someone lit earlier than Shekiah after Plag Hamincha, should relight at the proper time of the mitzvah without a bracha. If one lit before Plag Hamincha should relight at the proper time with a bracha. [3]
  4. A boy, who regularly lights at Shkiah, who is becoming Bar Mitzvah a night of Chanuka, can light at Shkiah as usual. Some say to light at Tzet HaChochavim even if usually lights at Shkiah. [4]

Latest Time to Light

  1. One shouldn’t delay lighting right after Tzet Hachavim, but if one didn’t light he can light with a bracha until Olot HaShachar. If one is lighting late at night and no one is up, it’s proper to wake some of family up for Pirsume Nisa. If he can’t, he should make a bracha. [5]
  2. Someone who came home right before Olot HaShachar can light with a bracha even though it won’t be lit for 30 minutes during the night. Some say one should light without a bracha if there’s not 30 minutes for the candle to be light at night. [6]
  3. One should wait for his wife because of Shalom Bayit even if that means missing lighting precisely at the time for lighting. [7]
  4. One who didn’t light at night (before Olot HaShachar) can’t light during the day, but if one wants, one can light without a bracha. [8]
  5. Soldiers in the army who can’t light at night for security reasons and want to light while it’s still day and extinguish it before it gets dark can light without a bracha. [9]

Lighting before or after Mariv

  1. One who came home late and has to pray Mariv and light candles should pray first. [10]
  2. Sephardim have the Minhag to pray Mariv at Shkiah and to light individually at Tzet. So too, if the minyan prays at Tzet they should pray and then light individually unless there’s a concern that they won’t be able to light before ‘Tichle Regel’, in which case each individual should light before praying. One should set up the chanukia and candles before Tzet so that after Mariv one can light right away. [11]
  3. Ashkenzim who have the Minhag to pray at Tzet, should light at Shkiah before praying Mariv at Tzet. If Tzet came and one didn’t light he should first pray and then light. However some have the Minhag to always light after praying Mariv. One should set up the chanukia and candles before Tzet so that after Mariv one can light right away. [12]
  4. If one has an established minyan for Mariv very late, one can light earlier at Tzet. [13]

Related Pages

  1. Chanukah candle lighting


  1. Shabbat 21b the Braita says to light from the setting of the sun until people leave the market. Rashba (21b D”H Ha DeAmrinan), Meiri, Ran, and Rama (Darkei Moshe 672:4) in name of Maharil and Sefer Minhagim (of Rabbi Tirna pg 144) say to light right after sunset. However, Rabbenu Tam (Sefer HaYashar 221), Tosfot (Menachot 20b D”H Nifsal) in name of R”T, Sefer HaManhig, Hagot Mordechai (Shabbat 455), Ritva 21b, Sh”t Trumat HaDeshen 102 in name of Mordechai, Sedah LeDerech 4:7(2), Bach 672 in name of Rosh 2:3, Tur and S”A 672:1 say to light at the end of the sun setting, for most rishonim that means Tzet HaChochavim, but for R”T it means before Ben HaShimashot. [Seemingly, Bet Yosef who quotes Rambam and then says that the Tur used the word “the end of the sunset” because the beginning of the sunset is still mostly day, holds that the Rambam and Tur don’t argue. However Yad Aharon 672 and Mishna Brurah (Biur Halacha 672:1) explain Rambam as meaning sunset. ] Most achronim hold like S”A to light at Tzet HaChochavim including Bach 672, Shaarei Knesset HaGedolah 672:1, Magan Avraham 672:1, Eliyah Raba 672:1, Maamer Mordechai 672:1, Chaye Adam 154:18, Derech HaChaim 672:2, Ben Ish Chai Vayeshev 7, Sehulchan lechem Hapanim 672, Kaf Hachaim 672:2. Thus, one should light at tzet hachochavim which is 13.5 minutes after sunset. [13.5 minutes is the opinion of the Geonim and is Minhag Eretz Yisrael and not like the tzet hachochavim of R”T 72 minutes after sunset because Chanuka is only derabanan and one can rely on the Minhag Eretz Yisrael for derabanan mitzvoth (Sh”t Yabea Omer 2:21). Additionally keeping the time of R”T will lead one to light after the latest time for which one doesn’t fulfill the mitzvah according to many posikim(Sefer Chanuka of Rav Kanievsky pg 13 note 8).] However Pri Chadash 672, Buir HaGra O”C 261 Y”D 266:17, Maseh Rav 235, Mishna Brurah 672:1, and Sh”t Az Nidabru 7:70 say to light after sunset. Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe O”C 4:101 and Rav Chaim Kanifsky in Yemeh Hallel VeHodah 12:8, say to light 10 minutes after sunset and have it last for a half hour before tzet hachovim and a half hour after tzet hachoavim. Torat HaMoadim 4:1 rules to light 15 minutes after shekiah [15 minutes is based on the geonim’s tzet hachochavim (3/4 mil) with the Rav Amram Goan’s lengh of a mil being 18 minutes, the fact that in the winter the shaot Zmaniot are shorter, and we add on a few minutes to be strict for Rabbi Yose’s opinion of Ben Hashemashot which only happens after Rabbi Yehuda’s finishes.]
  2. Torat HaMoadim 4:2 rules because many rishonim and achronim (brought below) hold that one doesn’t fulfill the mitzvah even after the fact if lit during the day, one should only light it if one thinks he’s going to miss the mitzvah entirely. Behag (Chanuka pg 25d), and Rambam (Chanuka 4:5) hold if one lights earlier one doesn’t fulfill the mitzvah. However on Shabbat 21b, Rashba, Ran, Ritva, Orchot Chaim (Chanuka 15) hold lighting too early fulfills the mitzvah after the fact. S”A 672:1 writes one can’t light earlier than Tzet and there’s an opinion that if one’s preoccupied he can light from plag hamincha. Seemingly this is a case of Stam-anonymous opinion and then Yesh Omrim- individual opinion for which we would hold like the anonymous opinion. So holds Kiseh Rachamim 63a, Siddur Bet Ovad 159b, Moed Kol Chai 27:26, Tefilah Ledavid, Pri Megadim M”Z 673:9. However some achronim hold still in Shat HaDachak one can light after Plag because the two opinions in S”A aren’t arguing but discuss the general case and then the case of someone preoccupied. So holds Levush, Bach, Sefer Yeraim 274, Shaarei Kneset HaGedolah 672:1, Pri Chadash, Chaye Adam 154:18, Pri Megadim A”A 672:1 and Mishna Brurah 672:3. Because of the dispute one certainly can not make a bracha on the early lighting.
  3. Torat HaMoadim 4:3. Since some hold it doesn’t work to light after Plag HaMincha (Rambam and Bahag) one should light again. However one should relight without a bracha in deference to the opinions (Rashba, Ran, Ritva, Orchot Chaim) that one fulfills his mitzvah then. However if one lit before Plag Hamincha one should relight with a bracha because no one holds that one fulfill the mitzvah at that time.
  4. Sefer Chanuka of Rav Kenievsky 13:16, Sh”t Teshuvot Vehanhagot 2:337 against Rav Vosner in Kovetz Mebet Levi kislev 5757 says not to light until Tzet. Mikrei Kodesh (Chanuka 11:3) leaves it as a question.
  5. In Shabbat 21b the gemara’s first explanation of ‘Tichleh Regel Min HaShuk’(once people leave the market) is ‘if one didn’t light one can still light’. Rambam (Chanuka 4:5) understands this as one who didn’t light at Tzet, can still light until ‘Tichleh Regel’; Rashba (Shabbat 21b) understands this as one who didn’t light by ‘Tichleh Regel’ can still light all night. Magid Mishna, Bahag(Chanuka pg 25d), Sh”t HaGoanim Sharei Teshuva 233, Riaz, Rid, Shiltei Giborim, Smak 280, Mordechai (Shabbat 2:265), Ran, Sefer HaTrumah 228, Tosfot (Shabbat 21b D”H Deiy Lo Adlik, Rosh (Shabbat 2:3), Tur 672, Pri Chadash, Maamer Mordechai 672:4, Sh”t Sadeh Aretz O”C 35 D”H VaAni, hold like the Rambam that after ‘Tichle Regel there’s no mitzvah. Meiri, Ritva, and Orchot Chaim(Chanuka 15) say to light after then without a bracha. However Ravyah 3:843, Hagot Maimon (Chanuka 4:2), Machsor Vitri (236 pg 199), Rabbenu Yerucham 9:1, Siddur Rashi 316 pg 151, Teshuvat Rashi 52, Pardes HaGadol 199, Sh”t Maseh HaGoanim 52 pg 43, Tosfot (Shabbat 21b D”H Deiy Lo Adlik) in name of the Ri, Sefer Trumah 228 in name of Ri, Shibolei HaLeket 185 in name of Sefer Hatrumah, Ohel Moed (Chanuka 4), Teshuvat Ravyah 972, Rosh 2:3, Smak, Rabbene Yerucham 9:1,Meiri, Smag, Orchot Chaim in name of some Geonim and Sefer Hatrumah, and Ran bring the opinion of the Ri and Rashba. Rabben Peretz (on Smak 280) says to light while household members are awake. Ritva says nowadays when we light inside we can light after ‘Tichle Regel’ against the Tur who says this time applies even nowadays. [Darkei Moshe and Bach write that the Tur also agrees to the Tosfot but just was writing according to the Minhag of his place.] Rama 672:2 rules nowadays one doesn’t need light by Tichleh Regel but one should be careful to light by then. S”A 672:2 rules one should light by Tichleh Regel but if one wasn’t able to light should light until Olot HaShachar. Magan Avraham says that S”A seems to say one can make a bracha but says from Bet Yosef (who asks on the Tur why he says that Rambam would hold not to light after Tichle Regel since one could just light out of Safek even according to Rambam) implies that there’s a clear Safek whether to make a bracha and one doesn’t make a bracha in Safek. Thus Magan Avraham rules that one should only make a bracha if there’s someone else up in the house. So holds Eliyah Raba, 672:3, Chaye Adam 154:19, Derech Hachaim 672:2, Ben Ish Chai Vayeshev 7, Aruch HaShulchan 672:7, Mishna Brurah 672:11, and Kaf Hachaim 672:26. Magan Avraham also quotes Maharshal who says to make a bracha only up to Chatzot. The Gra (Maaseh Rav 236) agrees with the Maharshal. Some hold that one can make the bracha all night like the simple reading of S”A (based on a Sefak Sefeka or other explanations) including Erech Hashulchan 672:4, Chemed Moshe 672:3, Moed Kol Chai 27:27, and Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe O”C 4:105. Mishna Brurah (Shaare Tzion 672:17), Rav Ovadyah in Kol Sinai 5725, and Torat HaMoadim 4:4, rule that one shouldn’t make a bracha but shouldn’t stop someone who wants to make the bracha as he has what to rely on. Yet Rav Ovadyah in Chazon Ovadyah pg 67 (Chanuka pg 64; published 5767) writes it in this language: if one comes home late and everyone is sleeping if one can wake up one or two house members, ‘Mah Tov’(that’s correct), if one can’t wake anyone up then one can still make a bracha. It seems that Rav Ovadyah Yosef retracted from his ruling in 5725. [The same language that it’s Tov to have people up for the lighting is found in Beyomin DeChanuka 242 and Shalmei Moed pg 218 in name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach]
  6. Sh”t Shevet Halevi 8:156 writes that one can light with a bracha even if there’s not 30 minutes for the candles to burn before Olot Hashachar. He proves this from the simple language of S”A, Magan Avraham and Mishna Brurah (and all other poskim) that one can light all night until Olot HaShachar. So writes Sh”t Rivovot Efraim 5:582 in name of Sh”t Shem MeShimon 3 pg 120. Chazon Ovadiah (Chanuka pg 67) seems to agree because he quotes the Shevet HaLevi and no one who argues. Yalkut Yosef Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 672:2. However, Rav Elyashiv in Sefer Chanuka 13:13 and Torat HaYoledet 54:7 say not to light with a bracha unless there’s 30 minutes before Olot HaShachar.
  7. Emet LeYacov 677 in the footnote, Kovetz MeBet Levi kislev 5757.
  8. S”A 672:2. Siddur Rashi 116 pg 151 (quoting Teshuvat Rabbenu Yitzchak Bar Yehuda) says if one didn’t light during the night one can’t light during the day. So quotes Sh”t Maaseh Goenim 55 pg 43, Teshuvat Rashi 52, Machsor Vitri 237 pg 201, Sh”t Maharam MeRotenberg 634, Pardes HaGadol 199, Tur 672, Shibolei HaLeket 185, and Roke’ach 226. Ravyah 3:843 in name of Rabbenu Tam says one can light in the day if one didn’t light at night. Sh”t Hitorerut Teshuva 1:119 writes that since we light nowadays indoors one should light as long as the candle gives off light (before Netz, when the sun’s light overwhelms the candles light). However, Rav Ovadyah in Kol Sinai (kislev 5725) and Torat HaMoadim 4:5 argue that even though one should light to satisfy all opinions one isn’t allowed to make a bracha.
  9. Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 210)
  10. Chazon Ovadyah (Chanuka pg 71) and Mishna Brurah (explained in Biur Halacha) 672:1 brings two proofs :1)Tosfot (Shabbat 23b D”H Hadar) says Tadir VeShEno Tadir, Tadir Kodem (the more common mitzvah comes first) overrides the mitzvah of Pirsume Nisa (publicizing the miracle. So holds Meiri (Shabbat 23b) in name of Gedolei Dorot, Ran (Shabbat 23b), Ramban (Shabbat 22b), Rosh (Shabbat 2:13), Rashba (Shabbat 22b), Teshuvat Rashba 1:1070, Rabbenu Yerucham pg 61d.). 2)Kriyat Shema is Deoritta and lighting candles is Derabanan and Peni Yehoshua Brachot 51b, Nodeh BeYehuda Kama O”C 39,41e, and Sh”t Rama MePano 14 hold Deorittas precede a Derabanan. Even though the Shagat Aryeh argues that Deorittas don’t have any precedence over Derabanan’s, most of the achronim agree with the Peni Yehoshua including: Sh”t Imrei Esh O”C 53, Mispeh Eitan (Brachot 51b), Chatom Sofer (Pesachim 102b), and Sh”t Shev Yacov O”C 22. However Magan Avraham 672:5 rules one should light before praying Mariv. Because of Tadir and Shema is Deoritta, Sh”t Shevut Yacov 2:40, Sh”t Shev Yacov 22 quoted by Sh”t Orach LeChaim O”C 1, implied from Sh”t Lechem Seirim 21, Shoel UMeishiv (Riviah 2:219) and Chaim VeChesed Mosefia pg 90d:11 in name of Mahari MeTaril disagree with the Magan Avraham. Chidushei Maharsa 8b says that everyone agrees that if it’s close to Chatzot one should pray before lighting because preferably one should pray before Chatzot. [Bear Hetev 672:2 quotes Magan Avraham and then says so holds Knesset Hagedolah. However Shaarei Teshuva 672:1 says that the Bear Hetev made a mistake about the Knesset Hagedolah as appears from Sh”t Shevut Yacov. Sh”t Shevut Yacov quotes the Shaarei Knesset Hagedolah (Hagot Hatur 672:1) who writes that he retracted from his opinion that one should light before praying. ]
  11. Torat HaMoadim 4:8 and Kaf Hachaim 672:5 say that because of Tadir we pray and then light. Chida in Machzik Bracha 672:3, Sh”t Mahari Halevi 1:182, says if there’s a concern of missing ‘Tichle Regel’ one could light first. One should set it up beforehand as per Mishna Brurah 672:1 and Kaf Hachaim 672:6.
  12. Mishna Brurah 672:1 in name of Mor Ukesiah and the Minhag of the Gra to light before they prayed at Tzet, if one didn’t light until Tzet one prays first because of Tadir and that Shema is Deoritta. He also records the practice of some who would always light after Mariv. So writes Torat HaMoadim 4:8. One should set it up beforehand as per Mishna Brurah 672:1 and Kaf Hachaim 672:6.
  13. Yeshuot Yacov 681:1, Sh”t Az Nidabru 9:47, Sh”t Teshuvot VeHanhagot 2:338, Mitzvah Ner Ish Ubeto 6 footnote 4, and Rav Elyashiv quoted in Halichot Yosef ph 239 say that the reason of Tadir (and that Shema is Deoritta) only applies if the two mitzvoth (mariv and candles) are both available at the same time, but if one’s mariv minyan isn’t until later, one can light earlier at the appropriate time.