How Do You Light Hanukkah Candles?

November 30, 2010

(Hanukkah blessings and songs, text and audio)

How do you light a Hanukkah menorah, or Hanukkiah?  Jews have disagreed on this throughout the ages.  The controversy surrounding the Hanukkah menorah lighting goes back about 2000 years.  Talmudic rabbis coming from different schools of thought debated ritual practices and two schools that commonly debate one another were that of Hillel and Shammai. The school of Shammai taught that eight candles should be kindled on the first night of Hanukkah and each night, we should decrease a candle.  Makes sense, right?  Decreasing candles would symbolize the fact that remaining oil decreased each night.  Yet, common practice sides with the school of Hillel, which taught us to increase a candle each night. The Maccabees didn’t increase the number of lights the kindled; why should we? Read the rest of this entry »