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Chapter 139:18

18. On Saturday night, Havdallah is recited first (after praying "Maariv"), and then the Chanukah lights are kindled (1). In the synagogue, [the Chanukah lights] should be kindled before reciting the passage "V'yiten Lecho."


(1) Many authorities rule to the contrary, that is, on Motzei Shabbos, the Chanukah lights are kindled first and then Havdallah is recited. They provide two reasons for this ruling:

a) Doing so will delay the act of parting from Shabbos, which Havdallah signifies (It is important to note that even after the appearance of three stars after Shabbos, one may not perform an activity which is prohibited on Shabbos, until after one has recited the prayer "Ata Chonantanu" in the Maariv Sh'mone Esrei, or until one has said the words "Baruch HaMavdil Bein Kodesh Le'Chol").

b) The act of publicizing the miracle of Chanukah ("pirsumei nisah") should come before the recitation of Havdallah.

Those who rule that Havdallah comes first hold that the mitzvah which is performed more frequently always takes precedence ("Todir Ve'eino Todir, Todir Kodem").

In Synagogue, the custom is to light the Chanukah candles before Havadallah. When at home, one should conduct oneself according to one's own minhag. If one doesn't have a minhag, one should perform Havdallah first and then kindle the Chanukah lights (Halachos of Chanukah by Rav Shimon Eider, pg 44, based on Aruch Hashulcan 681:2).


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