Which comes first--Havdalah or menorah?

Some Rishonim hold that the menorah should be lit before Havdalah. They explain that it is best to hold on to Shabbos for as long as possible. Although Havdalah was already said in Shemoneh Esreh and melacha is being done, some sanctity of Shabbos remains until Havdalah is completed. Shulchon Aruch and Rema rule according to this view. It is reported that some Gedolei Yisroel would have members of their household prepare the menorah right by the doorway on Motzoei Shabbos. When they would return home from shul after Ma’ariv, they would come across the menorah and light it immediately, so as not to violate the rule of passing over mitzvos.

[שו"ע תרפא, ב, משנ"ב ב-ג, וביה"ל ד"ה מדליקין; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 3 ,5 ו־9]

Should a bar mitzvah boy light menorah before Havdalah?

Other Rishonim maintain that Havdalah should be done before lighting the menorah. Based on the rule that the more frequent mitzvah should be performed first, Havdalah takes precedence. Furthermore, it would be inappropriate to recite the brocha of borei me’orei haeish after lighting the menorah and basking in its glow. Many Achronim follow this view. Mishnah Berurah writes that a person in his own home may choose to follow either view. In shul, however, the view of the Shulchan Aruch should be upheld and the menorah should be lit first. Some Achronim write that if a child will become bar mitzvah on Motzoei Shabbos, he should light the menorah first. Since his obligation of Havdalah is only that of a child (as he was a child on Shabbos) and his obligation of lighting the menorah is that of an adult, menorah lighting should be done first in this case.

[משנ"ב תרפא, ג, וביה"ל א, ד"ה מדליקין; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 9-8]

Is running out of shul permitted on Motzoei Shabbos Chanukah?

One must wait for tzeis hakochavim before lighting the menorah. The poskim recommend davening at the earliest time possible so as not to delay lighting the menorah when the time comes to do so. A person is even permitted to run out of shul in his hurry to light, since people realize that he is running for the purpose of a mitzvah. There are various views as to when Shabbos concludes, and one should follow his usual custom even on Motzei Shabbos Chanukah. If, however, a person only follows his custom as a stringency, he should not adhere to the stringency on this Motzei Shabbos so as not to unnecessarily delay lighting the menorah.

[ביאורים ומוספים דרשו תרפא, 2]
  • On Erev Shabbos, the menorah is lit before the Shabbos candles. If a woman was planning to light the menorah but she mistakenly lit the Shabbos candles first (and accepted Shabbos), she must appoint a shaliach to light on her behalf.

  • On Erev Shabbos, the menorah must be lit before sunset. The poskim question whether one should attempt to light the menorah as close as possible to sunset. Some Achronim say that doing so is unnecessary, since even if it is lit at the last minute, the menorah will be lit earlier than on the other nights of Chanukah.

  • The Gemara states that if a person has only enough money to purchase candles or oil for either neiros Shabbos or Chanukah, he should use the money for Shabbos candles.

  • What should be done if Al Hanisim is omitted?

  • Why is the whole Hallel recited on Chanukah?

  • Why does the kriyah of Chanukah begin with Birchas Kohanim?
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
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