Friday, December 15, 2006

Candles on Motzei Shabbos - Chanukah #2

While the generally accepted halacha on Erev Shabbos is that we light Chanukah candles before Shabbos candles, the halacha is less clear regarding Motzei Shabbos, when we have to both say Havdalah and light candles.

The Terumas haDeshen holds that Chanukah candles should be lit before Havdalah is recited. He reasons that since Havdalah is practically the end of Shabbos, let's light Chanukah candles first, since that will be pushing off the end of Shabbos, something the Gemara in Brachos strongly recommends whenever possible. The Abudraham disagrees and says that Havdalah should precede Chanukah candles, presumably because of Tadir v'Sheaino Tadir, Tadir Kodem. The Taz says that this was, indeed, the minhag of the Maharal miPrague, who he held as the Gadol haDor.

But what do the Abudraham and the Taz do with the talmudic concept of pushing off the end of Shabbos? The Taz says nicely that we gain nothing by doing Chanukah candles first in order to try to push off the end of Shabbos, as the act of lighting candles is a melacha, which is in and of itself ending Shabbos for us. Nevertheless, the Gra and the Shulchan Aruch codify the first opinion, that candles should be lit first. As for me, I'll be saying Havdalah first.

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