Several questions regarding the timing of woman’s tevila arise when she has to go to the mikvah during Chanukah: What what takes precedence; candle lighting or immersing in the mikvah? Does candle lighting affect when she prepares for the mikvah? And how can she juggle these obligations with the parties and other goings-on?
We will look briefly look at each of these issues:
Chanukah candles are ideally lit as soon as nightfall begins in order to fulfill the condition of parsumei nissa (publicizing the miracle) while people are still outside. This is explained by the Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim תרעב:א) as the end of sunset, or tzeit hakochavim, although many Rishonim rule that candles may be lit at the beginning of sunset (see Mishnah Berurah 1, and Be’ur Halacha). Whether at the beginning or end of sunset, it is clear that one should ideally light Chanukah candles early in the night — though lighting anytime in the night is valid bediavad (Shulchan Aruch 2). Hence you should light candles before going to the mikvah, even if your usual minhag (custom) is to immerse as soon as possible, so as to fulfill the mitzva of ner Chanukah in its most ideal form, while not diminishing from the tevila. [Read more…]