I have heard that there is a custom to use beeswax candles on Hannukah (at least for the shamash). Does this custom have a source? Why beeswax as opposed to other types of wax? Chabad.org notes

The most ideal way to fulfill the mitzvah is with cotton wicks in olive oil, or beeswax candles;

but I was unable to find a proper source. Can anyone shed light on this custom?

  • 1
    It is from the Arizal - to use something kosher.
    – Yishai
    Dec 14, 2014 at 3:36
  • @Yishai - Do you have a written source? Dec 14, 2014 at 13:33
  • @Yishai Is paraffin not kosher?
    – Double AA
    Dec 14, 2014 at 18:45
  • @DoubleAA, yes it is, but it is a relatively new product. Prior to petrochemical production, tallow based candles were very common (per Wikipedia tallow or beeswax were the two predominant choices until 1850, the Arizal being about 300 years before that).
    – Yishai
    Dec 15, 2014 at 3:41
  • Oren, See here.
    – Yishai
    Dec 15, 2014 at 4:15

2 Answers 2


The Sefer Nitei Gavriel Perek 20:5:note 12 writes that many people use wax for the shamash. The sources include the Hagaos Maharil,Minhagei Chabad pg 275 since the name wax in Hebrew has connotations to the Holy Names, and besides for the reason it produces a nice light there are kabbalistic reasons as well ,see Magen Avraham siman 288:3 also mentions the Kavanos HaArizal and many Admorim use it.

  • "Why beeswax as opposed to other types of wax?"
    – Double AA
    Dec 15, 2014 at 3:16
  • 3
    דונג which is beeswax = 63 which is one of the Gematrias of Hashem's name - Aruch HaShulachan OC 298:5 Dec 15, 2014 at 14:45
  • @C.BenYosef - I think your comment warrants a seperate answer since it's the best one yet. Dec 15, 2014 at 15:08

Orach Chaim 673:1 permits all types of wax. I think the reason some use beeswax as opposed to paraffin is due to the nicer light, less dripping, longer lasting, better quality of beeswax candles.



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