I have heard that there is a custom to eat oily foods on Chanukah.
What is the source for this?
Is there any source that the oily foods eaten on Hanukah need to be specifically oily from olive oil?

  • 4
    No source, but I've always heard it's connected to the miracle of the Menorah, which was that olive oil burned for 8 days straight.
    – DonielF
    Dec 29, 2016 at 17:19
  • I have not seen the olive oil - food connection mentioned anywhere at all. IMO, frying latkes in olive oil gives it a "heavy" taste, which obscures the potatoes, onions and other spices, anyway. Also, I think olive oil takes much longer to heat than canola or veg. oil does. Impractical when you're frying a lot in a hurry.
    – DanF
    Dec 29, 2016 at 17:44
  • 2
    @DanF who said anything about hurrying? You're preparing to engage in a mitzvah, why would you be rushing? :) Dec 30, 2016 at 13:10
  • 1
    @IsaacKotlicky Oh my.... You never heard of the principle, zerizim makdimim lemitzvot? That's enough of a reason to hurry.
    – DanF
    Dec 30, 2016 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


It doesn't seem like the contemporary commentators provide sources for the custom as Rav Mordechai Becher writes "Food fried in oil is also eaten to commemorate the miracle of the Menorah" and is echoed by Rav Y. Dov Krakowski at the OU saying,

There is a minhag to eat fried foods to commemorate the Miracle of the Oil. Such foods are likewise being used as a tool to commemorate the miracles of Chanukah thus integrating them into the Mitzvah of praising Hashem.

Although the custom to fry in oil doesn't appear to be particularly only olive oil, Rav Yehuda Prero has an insightful article describing the reason for commemorating the miracle with olive oil. Aside from the longer version you can see there, he quotes the

Aruch HaShulchan (O.C. 673:1) it is preferable to use olive oil when lighting the Menorah because it is easily drawn into the wick, its light burns clearly, and the miracle of Chanukah happened with olive oil.

Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky offered a novel answer as to why we eat foods fried in oil on Chanuka: We counter the Greek culture which focused on deifying the human body by eating fried foods that shows our lack of focus on beautifying the body.

  • 1
    Your argument from silence is very uncompelling...
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 7, 2017 at 16:04

You must log in to answer this question.

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