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17 votes

Is "Festival of Lights" our traditional term or borrowed from other cultures?

It seems to have been referred to this way at least as early as the time of Flavius Josephus. See his Antiquities of the Jews, Book 12, Chapter 7: Now Judas celebrated the festival of the ...
Joel K's user avatar
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14 votes
Accepted

Can a Chanukah menorah share a single oil source?

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch brings a case when one has a bowl filled with oil and places wicks around the perimeter to make a menorah. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:9) הַנֵּרוֹת, יִהְיוּ בְּשׁוּרָה אַחַת ...
ezra's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

Can one light a "camp fire" for Chanukah lighting?

The halacha is that someone must light with a ner (individual wick) and not a medurah (torch or multiple wicks). Siman תרעא in the Shulchan Aruch explains that the wicks must be separated to show ...
sabbahillel's user avatar
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11 votes

Why is Joseph's pit mentioned amid all the Chanukah stuff in tractate Shabas?

This immediately follows another statement of R. Kahana's, which also quoted an exegesis of R. Nasan b. Minyome's in the name of R. Tanchum. Quoting another statement from the same people is pretty ...
msh210's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

When and by whom were the Piyutim of Channukah written?

The author of the yotzer "odecha ki anafta" was R. Yosef b. Shelomo of Carcasonne (11th century CE). His signature (יוסף בן שלמה) can be seen in the final line: יחידך וידידך סלה פקדוך, בל ...
Joel K's user avatar
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10 votes
Accepted

Why does Chabad use a diagonal branched menorah?

It follows the sketch that was attributed to the Rambam for the shape of the menorah like is seen in this link and at this link to the Temple Institute. This was the result of instruction of the ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
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10 votes

Lighting Hanukkah Candles Alone

The Shulchan Aruch in O.C. 677:3 writes: יש אומרים שאע"ג שמדליקין עליו בתוך ביתו, אם הוא במקום שאין בו ישראל מדליק בברכות Some say that even though they are lighting for a person at his home, if ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
10 votes

Minhag of eating jelly doughnuts on chanukah

Wikipedia brings the following quote from Rabbi Maimon, father of the Rambam: "אין להקל בשום מנהג ואפילו מנהג קל. ויתחייב כל נכון לו עשות משתה ושמחה ומאכל, לפרסם הנס שעשה השם יתברך עמנו באותם ...
Harel13's user avatar
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9 votes

What's the source that Yavan/Greece is keneged choshech?

The source is Bereishit Rabbah 2. וְחשֶׁךְ, זֶה גָּלוּת יָוָן, שֶׁהֶחֱשִׁיכָה עֵינֵיהֶם שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּגְזֵרוֹתֵיהֶן ”And darkness”: This refers to the exile imposed by Greece, who darkened the ...
Joel K's user avatar
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8 votes

Pronunciation of חשמונאי

Josephus transliterates the name as Ἀσαμωναίος. The transliterated form ω corresponds to long o (see Brønno, "Some nominal types in the Septuagint" in Classica et Mediaevalia 3 and Studien über ...
Argon's user avatar
  • 3,847
8 votes

Can a Chanukah menorah share a single oil source?

Yes you can learn this from Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 671, 3: נר שיש לו שתי פיות, עולה לו בשביל שנים.‏ an oil lamp which has two "mouthpieces" is considered as two lamps. Despite that ...
kouty's user avatar
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8 votes

Who are the seven shepherds at the end of Maoz Tzur?

The reference is to Michah 5:4. The Talmud (Sukkah 52b) identifies them as King David in the middle, Adam, Seth, and Methuselah on his right, and Abraham, Jacob and Moses on his left.
Double AA's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why didn't the Greeks spoil Red heifer ashes?

Most of it wasn't kept in the Beis Hamikdash and the part that was in the Bais Hamikdash was kept in hidden places. The Rambam in Hilchas Para Aduma Perek Gimmel says אֵין מַכְנִיסִין כְּלוּם ...
Schmerel's user avatar
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8 votes
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Doing the mehadrin level differently -- does it invalidate the mitzvah?

Excellent question! In fact, this question should arise from the reading of that section of the Gemara in Shabbat 21b, which states that an elder in the city of Sidon in fact followed the view of Beit ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
7 votes

Is the greeting "Happy Hanukka" kosher?

Chanuka is definitely a time for happiness and rejoicing. The Rambam (Chanuka Perek 3) writes: ומפני זה התקינו חכמים שבאותו הדור שיהיו שמונת ימים האלו שתחלתן כ"ה בכסלו ימי שמחה והלל As a result, ...
chortkov2's user avatar
  • 9,651
7 votes

Which of the *Zugos* were in charge during the Chanukah story?

Adding to what @Schmerel wrote, the Chanukah story probably took place during the time of Yose ben Yoezer & Yose ben Yochanan and possibly also during the time of their students, Yehoshua ben ...
Harel13's user avatar
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7 votes
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Yaavetz regarding the story with Yehudis not happening on Chanuka

I tried searching for sources that directly answer this, but haven't managed to find any, which is why the following is a guess. The Yaavetz, as @JoelK commented, likely based his knowledge on Sefer ...
Harel13's user avatar
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6 votes

Place the Menorah above 10 tefachim?

The Shevet Hakehasi 5:115:4 brings that the Chida (Machzik Bracha) was bothered by this postion of the Seder Hayom. The Shevet Hakehasi explains that this postion of the Seder Hayom can be reconciled ...
sam's user avatar
  • 42.2k
6 votes

Maoz Tzur and Chanukah

It isn't known who wrote Maoz Tsur, although some scholars think that it was a 13th century German-speaking Jew named Mordekhai (sorry - only a Wikipedia reference for that one). It makes reference to ...
Shimon bM's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

Source for the words Nes Gadol Haya Sham

According to this article, the earliest mention of the significance of dreidel is in the late 18th century, and the first mention of it having been done in the time of Chanukah is from 1890. So, ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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6 votes
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Source for detail in the Chanukah story

At the minimum, the Rishonim mention this in their commentaries to Shabbat (23a), regarding the statement that women were included in the Hannukah miracle. The earliest of these Rishonim, is Rashi ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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6 votes
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Is there a salutation/greeting recognizing the last day of Channukah for my Jewish friends?

Welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for your efforts to show respect for your Jewish friends. I'm not aware of any special greeting for the last day of Chanuka, in particular. "Happy Chanuka" is the ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
  • 48.2k
6 votes

Does lighting an extra menorah need a Brachah?

A menorah that is lit for decoration does not get any blessing, as you are not performing any mitzvah. An analogy (somewhat) is that in many shuls, a menorah is lit during the day, but, as there is no ...
DanF's user avatar
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6 votes
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Is there any interest in eating a baked donut on Chanuka?

R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach has a novel interpretation of the custom to eat doughnuts (mentioned here). According to him, the point is to eat something which will entail reciting the beracha me'ein ...
Joel K's user avatar
  • 43.8k
5 votes
Accepted

Chanuka Kaddish error after Hallel

Based on Rav Eliezer Melamed (Peninei Halacha Tefillah 23:2 fn3) where one said Kaddish Shalem after Tachanun, he quotes Ishei Yisrael 26:5 who says to skip the "Tiskabel line" when Kaddish Shalem ...
רבות מחשבות's user avatar
5 votes

Do Karaite Jews Celebrate Chanuka?

Traditionally Karaites have not celebrated Hanukkah. (sources). In modern times, assimilation being what it is, there are undoubtedly some who do, but it's not on the Karaite calendar. The Karaites ...
Popular Isn't Right's user avatar
5 votes

Kiddush written on the sukkah

See Mishnah Brurah s.k. 4 that only uses that nullify its kedushah are prohibited. (In addition, I think that the rule of mitzvos lav lehanos nitnu - pleasure of a mitzvah is not considered pleasure -...
Jay's user avatar
  • 6,507
5 votes

Do you need to use the same chanukia for all eight nights of Chanukah?

See Shulchan Aruch 673:3 who is very clear that you can use different Menorahs each night (he says that if you are lighting with earthenware you have to use new ones each night).
Eliyahu's user avatar
  • 5,465
5 votes

What time should Chanuka candles be lit in the Southern Hemisphere?

A blog in The Times of Israel makes it clear that the normal time of lighting (“as soon as possible after nightfall”) is observed in Melbourne Australia: For starters, it only gets dark well after ...
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar

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