> The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom
The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom





All answers are taken from asktherabbi.org.

Is it okay to light a mixed coloured set of small red, green, blue, and yellow Chanukah candles? Does it matter as to the order that they are placed in the candle holder and the order in which they're lit?

There's no tradition regarding the colour of the candles; so any colour is okay, including plaid and infra-red! And the colour order is up to you.

Although there are other customs, the most common one for placing the candles in the menorah is as follows: On the first day place one candle on the right side of the menorah. On the second day put a candle there and another one to the left of it. On the third day add the third candle to the left of those. And so on. Each night another candle goes on the left side of the last one.

But when lighting, you start with the new one, the one furthest on the left. You then move towards the right, lighting each one in order, the last candle being the one on the far right.

Note that the small coloured Chanukah candles aren't long enough to use on Friday night, because the candles must be lit before sunset and should remain alight for a half hour after dark. The candles don't have to be placed in a special holder, but should be in a straight line.

Is it customary to give presents on Chanukah?

There is a widespread custom to give children presents of money on Chanukah. This is called "Chanukah gelt". This custom has its roots in the Talmud.
The Talmud states that even a very poor person must light Chanukah candles even if he can't afford it. A person with no money is required to go "knocking on doors" until he collects enough to buy at least one candle for each night of Chanukah. The Torah concept of charity requires us to help the recipient in the most dignified manner possible. Therefore, the custom arose to give gifts of money so that someone who needs money for Chanukah candles can receive it in the form of "Chanukah gelt."

There is another idea that the origin of "Chanukah gelt" dates back to the triumphant coinage of silver minted by the Maccabees. The Maccabees were so overjoyed at their victory that they minted their own coins and gave them out on Chanukah. Since Talmudic times the custom to give money has blossomed to become one to give presents as well. My family custom is to give presents to the younger children and "Chanukah gelt" to the older ones. It seems to work very well!

Nowadays there is a custom to give chocolate "money" to the younger children, as a means to giving them a gift that they can savour immediately and yet retain the spirit of the custom of "Chanukah gelt"


Ne've Shalom
Great Gutter Lane
HU10 6DP



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