The Music of Halacha: Lighting the Chanukah Candles Part Two

Dec 1st, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Music of Halacha
The first mention I can find of the order for lighting the Chanukah candles is in Sefer Tashbetz (Rabbi Shimshon bar Tzadok) where he describes how his Rebbi, the Maharahm (Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg 13th Century) lit his Menorah: The Maharam first lit the far left (His left) candle – the fulfillment of the basic Mitzvah  and then turned to the (his) right as the Talmud (Yoma 15b, Sotah 15b, & Zevachim 62b) teaches, “All turns should be to the right.” (This rule applies each Friday night when we turn around for “Bo’i B’Shalom;” we should always turn right.)

The Tashbetz is describing his Rebbi as lighting the Chanukah candles based on a Talmudic concept about the Avodah in the Beit Hamikdash, in other words, the Maharam lit the Menorah “as if” he were lighting the Menorah in the Beit Hamikdash He is also teaching us how we must light our candles: We do not simply light Chanukah candles, but we are to see ourselves as if we are performing part of the Service in the Beit Hamikdash.

See “The Music of Halacha: Lighting The Chanukah Candles Part One“)

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