When Chanuka begins on Shabbos and one lit the Menora prior to Davening Mincha should he say Al HaNisim at Mincha for Erev Shabbos? (Sources)

  • 1
    If he lights shabbat candles before davening Mincha, does he say retzei?
    – Double AA
    Nov 15, 2013 at 2:39
  • 1
    @DoubleAA: By Shabbos candles it is usually the wife that lights and often the husband was not Mekabel Shabbos yet. However by Chanuka candles it is often the husband that lights. Nov 15, 2013 at 2:42
  • Who cares about often? Sometimes men light shabbat candles, especially if they are bachelors or widowers.
    – Double AA
    Nov 15, 2013 at 2:44
  • 2
    @DoubleAA r'tze??
    – msh210
    Nov 15, 2013 at 6:53

2 Answers 2


This very question is dealt with in chapter 43 of the second volume of אלה הם מועדי by Rabbi Eliyahu Schlesinger of Gilo, Jerusalem.

He cites Shlomo Zalman Auerbach who holds that one does recite Al HaNisim in Mincha after lighting the Menorah. (See הליכות שלמה- מועדים,יז:ז) He explains that despite that it's still the 24th of Kislev; it's considered already Chanuka for one who lit. In other words, it's not that it becomes nighttime for him- after all he still is able to light Shabbos candles after the menorah- rather it become the time of הודאה (=acknowledging God for the miracles/victory/salvation of Chanuka) for him and he thus must recite Al HaNisim.

Rabbi Schlesinger then cites שלמי תודה on the similar question as to whether one recites Al HaNisim in Birchat HaMazon if he lights menorah and eats while it's still daytime. The author of that volume reports that he asked Rabbi Aryeh Leib Shteinman and Rabbi Nissim Karelitz and they didn't provide a conclusive answer. (ונשארו בצ"ע)

Rabbi Schlesinger cites another source (חוברת מבקשי תורה-חנוכה ג, עמוד עו) that quotes Rabbi Eliashiv who writes that one should not recite Al HaNisim during such a Mincha. The reason is:

שההדלקה וימי החנוכה הם שני דברים נפרדים, יש דין וזמן של הדלקת נר חנוכה, ויש דין מתי מתחילים ימי החנוכה לגבי החיוב של להודות ולהלל

"Lighting the menorah and the days of chanuka are separate concepts. There's a law and time regarding lighting the menorah, and there's a law when the day of Chanuka begins in regards to acknowledging and praise."

In other words, the obligation to recite Al HaNisim and Halel is separate from the obligation of lighting the menorah. One who is unable for whatever reason to light the menorah would still be obligated to recite Al HaNisim and Halel. There is no concept of adding to the day of Chanuka- as there is for Shabbat. (i.e. one can accept Shabbat early- in the late afternoon after one and a quarter hours before sundown- and it will be Shabbat for him. However, one can't accept Chanuka early.)

Rabbi Schlesinger concludes that he finds Rabbi Eliashiv's reasoning more convincing and thus one does not have to recite Al HaNisim in such a situation. He adds that he also asked Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky who also agrees to this position.

Note: I have left out the overwhelming majority of the detail and logic of Rabbi Schlesinger's responsum. Please study his volume to get the full picture.

  • Congratulations on an impressive answer! Nov 16, 2013 at 18:38
  • Moreover, if it really becomes Yemei Hallel already, then you should have to recite Hallel too with Mincha, as it is still daytime.
    – Double AA
    Nov 16, 2013 at 23:01
  • What if you accept Shabbat and Daven Maariv from Plag after lighting (think Australia)? No Al HaNissim in Maariv?
    – Double AA
    Dec 9, 2015 at 20:51

It is difficult to prove a negative, but I cannot find evidence that the lighting of the menora “brings in” Chanukah. It does not. (This could be seen to be supported by the need for the lights of the menora to last until 30 minutes after the stars come out on Friday night. (O Ch 679 (1) MB[2])). Therefore, there would seem to be no reason to say Al HaNisim at Mincha for Erev Shabbos.

I think your question arises from the custom that for women, the lighting of the Shabbos candles does normally bring in Shabbos, (O Ch 263 (10) MB[42]) whereas for men there is no such custom (although it is better for a man to light with the condition in mind that he is not accepting the Shabbos at that time). FYI, MB[43] points out that a woman should daven mincha before lighting and if she has not done that she cannot daven mincha afterwards. Instead she should daven maariv twice, using the second maariv to make up for the missed mincha.

Added later: I just found in Weekly Halacha by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt, the following (references to footnotes in italics):

If possible, one should daven Minchah on Friday before lighting Chanukah candles.(1) There are two reasons for davening Minchah first: 1) The afternoon Tamid sacrifice, which corresponds to our Minchah service, was always brought before the lighting of the Menorah in the Beis ha-Mikdash(2) 2) Davening Minchah after lighting Chanukah candles appears contradictory, since Minchah "belongs" to Friday, while the Chanukah candles "belong" to Shabbos.(3). But if no early minyan is available, then it is better to light first and daven with a minyan afterwards.(4) The oil or candles should be able to burn for at least one hour and forty-five minutes.(5) If the oil and candles cannot possibly burn that long, one does not fulfill the mitzvah even b'diavad, according to some opinions.


1 Mishnah Berurah 679:2. Many working people, though, are not particular about this practice, since it is difficult to arrange for a minyan on such a short day.

2 Sha'arei Teshuvah 679:1, quoting Birkei Yosef.

3 Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 679:7, quoting Pri Megadim.

4 Birkei Yosef 679:2; Yechaveh Da'as 1:74.

5 See Beiur Halachah 672:1. The breakdown [in this case] is as follows: 20 minutes before sunset, 50 minutes till the stars are out, and an additional half hour for the candles to burn at night. Those who wait 72 minutes between sunset and tzeis ha-kochavim should put in oil to last for an additional 22 minutes at least.

Rabbi Neustadt does not mention saying Al HaNisim in mincha. The contradiction he mentions is that "Minchah "belongs" to Friday, while the Chanukah candles "belong" to Shabbos" and not to do with Al HaNisim.

  • Note that the MB here writes that according to the later authorities (=אחרונים) one should (לכתחלה) daven Mincha before lighting the menorah. (One can still daven mincha after lighting the menorah.) Interestingly, I'm not aware of communities that insist on this stringency. Could it be that the MB holds that there's a תרתי דסתרי (=self-contradiction) issue here if one davens mincha without Al-HaNisim while his menorah is lit? Still, the insistence on davening early seems to include when Shabbat is not the 1st day of Hanukah. So maybe תרתידסתרי is not the issue. This topic needs further study.
    – Ephraim
    Nov 15, 2013 at 12:12
  • @Ephraim Yes. See additions to my answer and especially ref (3) although he does not mention davenning mincha without Al-HaNisim as the contradiction. Nov 15, 2013 at 13:36
  • @Ephraim, what you describe (davening Mincha before lighting every night of Chanuka לכתחלה) is the practice in Chabad communities.
    – Yishai
    Nov 17, 2013 at 2:38

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