Highlighting Our Joy

Dena Weiss


When we light the Hanukkah candles in our homes, we do so according to the approach of Beit Hillel. On the first night of Hanukkah, we light just a single candle, adding a candle each day until we reach the full eight lights. This practice, however, is disputed by Beit Shammai. Instead of increasing the number of candles as the holiday progresses, Beit Shammai advocate for a countdown of sorts. According to them, on the first night of Hanukkah we light the full set of eight candles and, as each day passes, we subtract one light. But what is the dispute behind the dispute? Why does it matter in which order we light? What are we trying to experience? (5781)