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What Is The Reason: The Blessing Over The Chanukah Candles Print E-mail

What Is The ReasonWhy do some people recite the blessing over the Chanukah candles as, “l’hadlik ner Chanukah,” instead of, “shel Chanukah,” as we do over the Shabbat candles: “L’hadlik ner shel Shabbat?” JS

The candle we light on Shabbat is no different from a candle that will be lit any other day. The only difference is that the Shabbat candle is elevated by being used as a Shabbat candle. The word, “Shel,” is to stress that its holiness comes from Shabbat. The candle itself has no essential holiness. It adds light to our home, and we benefit from it in practical ways. It is special only because of Shabbat.

The Chanukah candle is different. It is one thing and only one thing. We use it only for the Mitzvah. We may not derive any benefit from it. We cannot read by its light. We cannot count money by its light. We must have other lights in the room to prevent us from benefitting from it. It is holy. It has no practical purpose.

The Shabbat candle brings light to the world. The Chanukah candle is a distant light, one to which we look from a distance. It calls to us as a far away point. It is the candle of striving and reaching.
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