The eight-day CHANUKAH holiday begins on the 25th of Kislev (670:1). Candles are lit (671:1), and eulogies and fasts are forbidden (see 670:1,3), but work is permitted; however, women are accustomed not to work while the candles are burning (670:1). It is appropriate to eat festive meals, and it is customary to eat cheese (670:2).
One candle is lit on the first night, two on the second, and so on (671:2); every night, the new candle is lit first (676:5). Each person’s candles should be in a different place (671:2), and the candles should be separated from one another (671:3-4). If possible, the candles should be placed at an outer door (on the left; 671:7) or window (671:5,7,8), and they should be distinguishable from the lights that are used at other times (see 671:7). On putting them on or near a door on Friday evening see 680:1-2. They should be more than three handsbreadths, but less than 20 cubits (preferably, less than ten handsbreadths) above the ground (671:6). It is customary to light them on the south wall of the synagogue between the afternoon and evening services, but they should also be lit at home (671:7), preferably when it becomes dark (672:1), but later at night if necessary (see 672:2).
The candles must burn with a clear light; it is preferable to use olive oil (673:1). It is forbidden to make use of the light (though some permit its use for religious purposes); another light is therefore needed for illumination (671:5;673:1), and it is also customary to use another candle to light the candles (see 674:1-2). There is no need to relight a candle if it goes out (see 673:2), but if it was lit in the wrong place, it must be relit in the proper place (675:1). The wicks and candles may be reused if they are fit for use (see 673:3-4); on adding oil to a candle see 675:2; on the leftover oil see 677:4.
On the first night, the blessings “…Who commanded us to light a CHANUKAH candle”, “…Who performed miracles for our fathers…”, and “…Who kept us alive…” are recited before lighting; only the first two blessings are recited on the other nights (676:1-2). A person who is unable to light, and for whom no one is lighting, who sees CHANUKAH candles recites “…Who performed miracles…”, and on the first night, “…Who kept us alive…” (676:3). After lighting, “These candles…” is recited (676:4).
It is customary for a person who is away from home to light candles even if someone is lighting for him at home; see 677:1,3. On lighting by women and children see 675:3 and 677:2. On Friday evening CHANUKAH candles are lit before Sabbath candles (see 679:1); on whether they are lit before the HAVDALAH candle on Saturday night see 681:2, but in any case they must not be used for HAVDALAH purposes (681:1). On the priorities among Sabbath candles, CHANUKAH candles, and wine for KIDDUSH or HAVDALAH see 678:1.
“On the miracles…” is added to the second blessing of grace and the next to last blessing of every AMIDAH; see 682:1-3. HALLEL is recited in the morning service, and TACHANUN and Psalm 20 are not recited (683:1). On the Torah reading see 684:1; on the readings from the Torah and Prophets on the Sabbath(s) of CHANUKAH see 684:2; on the readings on the New Moon of Teves (on a weekday or the Sabbath) see 684:3.
Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project Genesis, Inc.