Chanukah & Children

Tuesday, 28 November, 2017 - 1:00 pm

Chanukah & Children

Rabbi Mordechai Z. Hecht –

"It is a positive Rabbinic commandment to kindle a light each night of Chanukah."

(Maimonides Laws of Chanukah Ch.3,3)

The mitzvah is customarily enhanced by kindling one light the first night and adding one additional light each successive night until we reach a total of 8 candles

(Code of Jewish Law: 671,2)

The widely followed custom is that the head of the household kindles the lights and thereby exempts his wife from lighting, as well as other females of the household who should be present at the lighting.(ibid. Mishna Brurah,9. See Chasam Sofer, T. Shabbos 22b)

It has also become widespread custom that anyone who wishes to light may do so. One should always consult their own personal competent Rabbi.

Parents are obligated to educate their children, from the age of 5 or 6, or younger depending on the intelligence of the child, in the performance of this mitzvah.

It is customary for boys of this age to kindle their own lights. (S"A, Rema,675,3)

It is interesting to note that this mitzvah is the "lighting itself" and with a "blessing" and even though classically the mitzvah of "educating a child" begins at 9, we begin to train children in many practices as this one even at 5 or 6 six years of age. Even though it is only 'customary' to add an additional light each night, and we are not obligated to educate children in that which is customary, never the less it has become custom that a child lights Chanukah candles in the same manner adults do.(See Rema end sec.675, Mishna Brurah ibid 14)



Children have such an acceptable and respectable place in this mitzvah some codifiers even make the argument that a child of the age of education may even bless and light and fulfill the obligation on behalf of an adult. Which goes to show how important a child's mitzvah may be. (Code of Jewish law sec.671,3. See M"B ibid 6. see Orach Yisroel 27)

CHILD lighting for a SHUL

It is customary to light Chanukah candles in Shul and a child may do so. Customs may vary.

(Minchas Yitzchok,6,64)

We as a community always try to involve the household in all our holidays and practices. There is no more beautiful way to celebrate this holiday then by getting kids involved and making them feel special and important.

Let us not forget that it was the children who played dreidel when the Hellenist Greeks tried to stop us from learning Torah- historically the children have a major part of this holiday, let's empower 

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