# Why can't we light Channukah Candles in the Day

We are commanded to light Channukah candles at night, to usher in each day of the holiday, and, if my memory serves me, we may light as long as there are people outside who can see the candles (ad shetichleh regel min hashuk). If one is lighting for others to see, one is performing a pirsumei nisa, publicizing the miracle.

The next day, though, is still that day of Channukah, and people will, no doubt, be around again after a good night's sleep. Why can't I light in the morning, when I can be sure people will see it?

I am not asking about the practice of lighting in shuls in the morning (as per this answer), but about doing it with a bracha to fulfill my personal requirement if, for example, I was not able to light at night.

Unlike Shabbat candles which I can't light in the day time, I am allowed to kindle the flame. So why can't I complete the requirement with the blessings during the day time?

The Tur (OC 672) says that lighting during the day doesn't work because (alluding to Chulin 60b) שרגא בטיהרא מאי אהני – "a candle in the daytime, what does it accomplish?" In other words, flames aren't noticeable in broad daylight that the miracle would be publicized.

I would say that since this commemorates the miracle of lighting the menorah in the Temple (as explained in many locations) we have to light in the same way that the menorah was lit in the temple. This was done at night and not during the day.

Additionally, the pirsumei nisa is mainly at night when the candles can be seen in the dark. They would not really be seen during the day. Also, people are at work during the day and not at home.

UPDATE

שולחן ערוך תרעב סעיף א the מחבר says that one cannot light before פלג המנחה and there must be enough oil to last a half hour after צאת הכוכבים. If one has not lit, one can light כל הלילה (all night). This means that the original takkanah to light the candles was so that there would be a היכר that the candles are lit (which cannot be done when it is not dark). The Mishnah Berurah states that the takkanah uses the explicit zman. As a result, one cannot light during the day.

• Ad shetichle regel min hashuk indicates that the candles would be visible in a market place. More people would be in the market place in the day light. Also, the linked answer indicates that lighting was also done in the day if the lights went out, so having the lights lit in day time was clearly important. – rosends Dec 14 '15 at 14:54
• @Danno The implication is that the ikar mitzvah is at night but the relighting at shacharis is only because it was extinguished during the night. However, if it went out during the day it was not relit. Thus the chanukiyah is only at night for the specific time. As a result, it would not be relit once that time is over. – sabbahillel Dec 14 '15 at 15:16
• but the menorah in the mishkan was lit in the day chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/2681/jewish/… , " The Temple menorah was lit during the day (no later than 1-1/4 hours before sunset) and burned through the night. " – rosends Dec 14 '15 at 16:39
• @Danno As we do the chanukiyah to be lit during the night. – sabbahillel Dec 14 '15 at 16:41
• I don't understand -- if we light to commemorate, why light at the wrong time, and then all the more so, why make lighting at the right time unacceptable. – rosends Dec 14 '15 at 16:47