One cannot light the Chanuka lights before p'lag hamincha (Shulchan Aruch 672:1), not even on Friday evening (Mishna B'rura 679:2). If he did so, his lighting is invalid (Shaar Hatziyun 672:4).

P'lag hamincha is defined (MB 672:3, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:10) as a point in time one and one-quarter season-based "hours" before tzes hakochavim (when stars come out). That is, divide the length of the day into twelve, choose one of those divisions as an "hour", and subtract one and a quarter such "hours" from tzes hakochavim: that's p'lag hamincha, the earliest time to light the Chanuka lights.

Now, the practice in the United States, at least, is this: No matter how late you consider the day to start and end for other purposes, you consider sunset as the start of ben hash'mashos with respect to doing m'lacha on Shabas. To put it more simply, no one lights a flame after sunset on Friday.

But some hold tzes hakochavim is quite late! For example, consider Seattle. During Chanuka this year, its day length (sunrise to sunset) is about 8 hours, 25 minutes. Even if we add 72 minutes to the start and end of that for twilight, we have a 10:49-long day; thus, even if we count "hours" including twilight, an "hour" is only 54 minutes and 5 seconds. People who hold of a tzes hakochavim that's more than 67.5 minutes after sunset have a p'lag hamincha that's after sunset.

When do they light on Friday of Chanuka, and on what basis?


2 Answers 2


Mekadesh Yisrael 252 discusses this and says that even though in such a situation one will light prior to Plag, there is no choice here and that is what must be done.

  • He doesn't seem to say whether to say a b'racha.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 17:12

All this applies equally to lighting regular Shabbos candles.

Common practice in America today is to calculate all z'manim based on a sunrise-to-sunset day, except for Sof zman krias sh'ma, so P'lag will always be before sunset. This is true even for those that will e.g. pray Mincha until 72 minutes after sunset.

Historically there were places in Europe where they would calculate everything based on a dawn-to-nightfall day, and they would indeed do Melacha even after sunset. It was therefore not problematic to have such a late P'lag.

  • Do you have a source for your second paragraph?
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 17:13
  • Equally, except not everyone holds candlelighting for shabbat must be after plag.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 20:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .