If I told you that on the first night of Hanukkah, I light eight candles, and seven on the second night, and so on until the final night, when I light one candle, what would you say to me? If you were to say to me that I’m doing it wrong, you would be correct. You would also be incorrect.
We have grown up knowing how the candles are lit, starting with one and adding another each night, until the final night concludes with a visual crescendo of light (pardon the mixed metaphor). But it’s not the only opinion that appears in early rabbinic literature. The pattern I suggested above may even make more sense! But at some point, the practice of lighting Hanukkah candles was standardized. Why do we do it as we do it, if there were other legitimate opinions as to how we should do it?
After Shabbat morning services, Rabbi Kessler and I will both teach briefly at a Lunch and Learn; he will address the Torah portion, Miketz, and I will explore the Hanukkah question.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, Hodesh Tov, and Hag Urim Sameah,