The question of the order of lighting the Hanukkah candles was not raised before the thirteenth century when it was reported that when R. Meir ben Barukh of Rothenburg (Maharam) was lighting the Hanukkah candles, he began on the left side and then turned to the right, following the Talmudic aphorism “all the rotations that you do, should be to the right.” Maharam thus always began the lighting of the candles by the same left candle, the lighting of which he considered as the basic fulfillment of the mitzvah.

From that time onward the order of lighting the Hanukkah candles became a recurrent theme among scholars and each author adopted a definite position about this issue. Similarly, the question of whether the Hanukkah candles should still be placed at the left of the entrance when there is no mezuzah, or on the right, continued to be debated.

J. Jean Ajdler, “The Order of Lighting the Hanukkah Candles: The Evolution of a Custom and the Influence of the Publication of the Shulhan Arukh”, Hakirah 7 (Winter 2009), 209.

Advertisements