22-28 Kislev 5778
10-16 December '17
Attributes of the month of KISLEV: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: VAV YOD KEH KEH, contained in the initial Hebrew letters of the words of the verse Vayar Yoshev Ha'aretz Hakena'ani, "and the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw ..." (Genesis 50:11). The month's corresponding letter is: SAMECH; Human attribute: SLEEP; Body Part: KIVAH-Stomach ; Tribe: BENJAMIN; Constellation: KESHET (Sagittarius, the Archer).
Sunday 10 December / 22 Kislev
Some have the custom of preparing the Chanukah candalabrum three days before the festival.
Tuesday 12 December / 24 Kislev
Eve of Chanukah
On the Eve of Chanukah it is good to make an early start to the day. One should see that the Chanukah lamp is ready in good time for candle-lighting. It is also good to have any special Chanukah foods etc. ready before candle-lighting so as to be free to enjoy the lights after they are lit, to sing Chanukah songs, tell about the miracle and celebrate with dear ones.
Today is the anniversary of the prophecy of Haggai (2:10ff) taunting the priests into learning the laws of the Temple and telling Zerubavel, leader of Judah, that the kingdoms of the earth will be overthrown for the sake of Melech Mashiach his descendant.
Tuesday evening 12 December / 25 Kislev
First Light of CHANUKAH
The preferred times to light the Chanukah candles on each evening of the festival (with the exception of Friday evening and Saturday night, see below) are either a few minutes after sunset as twilight descends, or after nightfall (after the first stars come out), directly after the evening prayers. Where this is not possible, the lights may be lit later in the evening, preferably at a time when the greatest number of people are likely to see them, since the lights come to publicize the enduring miracle of Chanukah. For laws and customs of the festival, click HERE.
Tuesday night-Wednesday 12-13 December / 25 Kislev
First day of Chanukah
The first day of Chanukah is the anniversary of the completion of the Sanctuary in the Wilderness (though
it was not inaugurated until the following Nissan) -- and when Moses saw that
the work was complete, he blessed the people "that the Shechinah should rest on the work of your hands... 'And let the pleasantness of HaShem our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us...'" (Psalms
In the Second Temple on this day the Altar was reconsecrated by the Hasmonean priests, who miraculously found one intact flask of undefiled oil for kindling the Temple Menorah (candelabrum), and although according to the laws of nature the quantity of oil was sufficient for only one day, the oil miraculously sufficed for eight days until new ritually-pure oil could be produced.
Chanukah is a festival of thanksgiving for HaShem's miracles. The special prayer of thanksgiving for the Chanukah miracles ('Al Hanissim) is added daily to each Amidah prayer and Birchat HaMazon (Grace after Meals). On each of the days of Chanukah, after the morning (shacharit) Amidah prayer, "full" Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited.
Special Chanukah Torah reading: On each of the days of Chanukah there is a special Torah reading selected from the account of the sacrifices offered by the Princes of the Twelve Tribes in celebration of the inauguration of the wilderness Sanctuary (Numbers 7:1-8:4).
The days of Chanukah are days of joy. It is forbidden to fast and it is customary to hold feasts and to eat some fried foods (such as doughnuts -- no need for excess!!!) in memory of the miracle of the oil, and a milk or cheese dish in memory of the heroism of Yehudit, who fed the Greek general Holfurnos until he was drowsy and then cut off his head.
Wednesday night-Thursday 13-14 December / 26 Kislev
Second light of Chanukah
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Avraham ben David of Posquieres, known as the Raavad (c. 1125-1198), author of the Hasagot (critical glosses) on Rambam's comprehensive Mishneh Torah law code as well as being a key link in the chain of the transmission of the Kabbalah. Today is also the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kahn, the Rebbe of Toldos Aharon (d. 1997).
Friday night-Saturday 15-16 December / 28 Kislev
Fourth light of Chanukah
Shabbat Chanukah, Shabbat Mevarchin TEVET
On Friday afternoon, the Chanukah lights must be lit before sunset, and they should be lit before the Shabbat candles. Where possible it is preferable to pray the afternoon Minchah service before kindling the Chanukah lights.
Many have the custom of singing Ma'oz Tzur and other Chanukah songs at the Friday night Shabbat table.
The Torah Reading is Mikeitz, Gen. 41:1-44:17 followed by the day's special Chanukah reading, Numbers 7:24-29. The special Haftara for Shabbat Chanukah is Zechariah 2:14-4:7.
Blessing the coming month of Tevet: Following the Torah reading we bless the coming month of Tevet. Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday 17-19 December. The Molad will be on Monday December 18 at 1:41 & one chelek p.m.
Saturday night-Sunday 20-21 December / 29 Kislev
5th light of Chanukah
On Saturday night the Chanukah lights may be kindled only following the departure of the Shabbat after nightfall (marked by the appearance of three medium-size stars). Some have the custom of lighting the Chanukah candles before reciting Havdalah, but the prevailing custom is to light the Chanukah candles after Havdalah.
Subscribe for free emails
To subscribe to AZAMRA's free weekly news and diary emails, click here.