When we light the Menora we say Haneiros Halolu. Who composed these words?

  • 1
    I take it then that you aren't Teimani.
    – Double AA
    May 20, 2012 at 7:01

2 Answers 2


The custom to recite Haneirois Halalu is kept by all but a few Yemenite communities and those following the custom of the Italian Jews (Siddur Rema). The first Source for its recitation is Maseches Sofrim (see article about its own author) Ch.20 Pr.36 in the Hager Edition. (This is apparently the version that was available to the earlier Poskim.) I quote the Maseches Sofrim,

“On the 25th of Kislev, we light the Chanuka candles…. What Bracha do we recite? On the first day, the one who lights recites three Brachos: ‘Blessed are you … who commanded us to light the Chanukah candle’. He (the lighter) pauses and then stipulates: ‘These candles we light for the salvations for the miracles and for the wonders that you performed for our forefathers through your holy Kohanim, and for all eight days of Chanuka, these candsles are sacred. We are not permitted to use them, only to see them in order to give thanks to your name for your wonders, for your miracles, and for your salvations’. He then recites: ‘Blessed are you … who has kept us alive… [shehechiyanu ]’and ‘Blessed are you … who performs miracles [sheasah nissim] ’. ”

Although this source appears so early, the first Rishon to bring it down is Maharam of Rottenburg (Teshuvos, Prague edition vol.4, sec.66). It is also mentioned by Rabbeinu Yeruchem (Toldois Adam Vachavah, Path 9, vol. 1, p.60a, col 2) and is codified by the Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 676:4). It is interesting to note that one of the greatest early achronim, Rav Shaul ben Rav Dovid, a contemporary of the Maharsha composed an entire sefer on the topic of Haneiros Halolu, and on the halachos that can be derived from it. (Other references where this passage is quoted are TashBetz Katon sec.576), Abudraham (Chanukah) and the Sefer Hagahos HaMinhagim (Chanukah, par.22, authored in the days of the Rishonim).

A massive controversy exists based on the text of the Maseches Sofrim. The passage implies that straight after the first Brachah one recites this recital, and only then continues to the other Brachas. This causes the poskim a great deal of difficulty resolving the problem how this is not considered ti be a Hefsek.

The first source to ask this point outright is the Maharil (Teshuvos sec.145). The Maharil answers that the reason we do not hold like the Masches Sofrim is because we hold like the Bavli that says a Bracha must be done straight before a mitzvah. However the Sofrim holds like the Yerushalmi that doesn’t require blessings to be recited immediately before and therefore permits it. (This goes extremely wel with the Ramban’s statement that the Sofrim is really a part of the Yerushalmi (brought down in this afore mentioned article). A novel answer by the Leket Yosher(vol 1, Orach Chaim p.152 inyan 1) is that this ending of the Brachos at the end of the paragraph of the Sofrim, is actually just part of the recital of the Haneiros Halalu and not really the brochos. This is supported by the fact that it brings the Shehechiyanu Brachah first when it should really be last. The practice followed nowadays to start its recital after lighting the first candle I brought down in Shu’t Mahashal (sec.85), and is supported by all major achronim (see Magen Avrohom ibid sec.676 subpar.3).

A last Mesorah brought down, is by the Maharshal (Shu’t Maharshal sec.85) is that one should not add nor subtract words from the text because the number of words in the passage is 36 which allude to the number of candles lit altogether on Chanukah without the Shamash!

I hope I have helped, and if you need more references on this topic, feel free to check the latest Kulmos in the Mishpacha which is where I got a lot of this info or you can just ask me!

  • 3
    Can you summarize the relevant points of the aritcle?
    – avi
    Jan 2, 2012 at 13:22
  • will do later tonight
    – Yehuda
    Jan 2, 2012 at 14:08
  • But who wrote it? Jan 2, 2012 at 16:47
  • 1
    That would be based on when and who wrote Masches Sofrim. It would presumably be written by the author and that would explain why they felt the need to quote it. Because they only quoted things that were recently implemented. Otherwise I dont think there is a known author
    – Yehuda
    Jan 2, 2012 at 17:08
  • @Yehuda What is the name of the sefer written by the Maharsha wrote about Haneiros Halollu? Apr 28, 2016 at 13:16

I'm not sure this completly answers your question but it is mentioned in Talmud, Soferim 20:6.


  • Thanks. However it does not tell us who composed it. Dec 22, 2011 at 19:35
  • @GershonGold, but it does give us a good idea of what further research might be fruitful.
    – msh210
    Dec 22, 2011 at 20:22
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    And that is why I upvoted it. Dec 22, 2011 at 20:29
  • 1
    Interesting, though, that the Rambam omits it.
    – Double AA
    Jan 1, 2012 at 5:01

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