Fifth Night

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lkjThe great thing about Hanukkah’s fourth night, said J-school professor Ari Goldman as he lit the lanterns of Chabad‘s traveling menorah this evening, is that the people who believe the candles should be lit in descending order and those who believe one should be added every night can at least agree that, on that night, four are correct.

On Low Plaza, the fifth night was pretty chill as well, as a happy group gathered to drink oversweet cider and sing Hanukkah blessings (some sounding like they have yet to celebrate bar mitzvahs). They’ve been there every evening at 6:00 PM since last Friday, and Goldman is but one of the illustrious figures who has graced the ceremony–last week Zvi Galil lit candles in front of a goodly crowd, J-school professor Sam Freedman’s on the docket for tomorrow, and welterweight champion boxer Dmitriy Salita (fresh off an appearance at the first-annual White House menorah lighting) is scheduled for the final night.

And if you haven’t gotten your menorah yet, there’s still time! Just ask Rabbi Yonah Blum, who aims to promote “holiday awareness.” As if we weren’t already painfully aware.



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  1. Wouldn't

    descending people light 5 candles on the fourth night? 8,7,6,5? This is bothering me.

  2. Oh,

    but not in Israel. Is that the answer? Oh well, nevermind.

  3. Wait,

    they light 8 candles in Israel too. I am so stupid and confused all at the same time.

  4. clarity?

    The rule with the chanuka menora is to light just one candle each night of Chanuka. However, it has already become the established custom of all jews to not just light one candel but to increase one every night thereby beautifying the observance with extra zeal etc.
    There are two talmudic opinions about how one should "beautify" this observance:

    The school of Hillel(commonly accepted opinion): that we start with one light and increase one everynight, in order to constantly increase in holiness and not the opposite.

    The the school of Shammai: we start with 8 and decrease one every night in order to signify the potential of the holiday (e.g. we have 8 days left or we have 7 days left etc.)

    There are many other talmudic arguments between hillel and shammai that follow this same logic (i.e. focusing on the actual vs. the potential)

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