Mehadrin Min Ha-mehadrin – How Many Candles Do We Light on Chanukah? (Shabbat 21b)
Jews worldwide light Chanukah candles for eight straight nights, starting on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev. Common practice is to light one candle on the first night of Chanukah, and to add an extra candle on each of the subsequent nights. In order to appreciate the depth of this mitzvah, we must explore its Talmudic roots.
In this Thinking Gemara shiur, we will examine the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles under a microscope, and look at a key passage in the Talmud that reveals the three levels of its performance. Through studying commentaries on the passage, we will uncover two major conceptual discussions that began in the twelfth century and continue to the present day.
Aside from analyzing the three levels on which the mitzvah of lighting candles can be performed, we will also focus on the variance in custom between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.