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Chanukah candle lighting times

Due to popular demand, we’ve added support for Chanukah candle-lighting times.

If you specify a city for Shabbat and Yom Tov candle lighting times, you’ll see Chanukah candle lighting show up as a timed event. If you don’t enable candle-lighting times (and instead choose the generic Diaspora or Israel locations) you’ll see Chanukah events show up as all-day (untimed) events reminding you to light candles that evening.

Candle-lighting times should show up on all iCalendar feeds (Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, iPhone, etc) when the application refreshes Hebcal events. This could take up to a week for the refresh, depending on the app.

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How can I look up candle-lighting times for any city in the world?

Hebcal offers a way to specify candle-lighting times location by latitude and longitude for remote or less-populated areas.

Hebcal supports already over 45,000 world cities. Just search for the name of any world city with population 5,000+. However, if you can’t find what you’re looking for in our location database, here’s how you could find candle-lighting times for a specific location.

Example: Ixiamas, Bolivia.

  1. Go to the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names at http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/tgn/
  2. Type “Ixiamas” in the Find box and click “Search” button
  3. Click on the link that says “Ixiamas… inhabited place”
  4. Note the latitude/longitude represented in “degrees minutes direction” (in the example of Ixiamas, La Paz, Bolivia it is Lat: 13 45 S and Long: 068 10 W) and write this information down on a sheet of paper
  5. Visit the Hebcal Custom Calendar latitude/longitude page at https://www.hebcal.com/hebcal/?c=on;geo=pos
  6. Type the latitude and longitude into the form (13 degrees, 45 minutes South Latitude, 68 degrees 10 minutes West Longitude)
  7. Select the Time zone option specific to your location (see Wikipedia’s List of tz database time zones)
  8. Click “Get Calendar” button at the bottom of the form

Errata: candle-lighting time corrections

We’ve made changes to candle-lighting times for Shabbat and holidays that corrects an error we introduced a few months ago. Please accept our sincere apologies for this error.

Candle-lighting times have been adjusted 1-2 minutes earlier and now correctly reflect the correct time to light candles (40 minutes before sundown in Jerusalem, 18 minutes before sundown anywhere else).

Users who subscribe to Hebcal.com calendars via iPhone/iPad, Google Calendar, or Outlook.com should get the corrected candle-lighting times automatically when these applications perform their next refresh. The typical refresh cycle is approximately once a week.

If you downloaded or printed a calendar in the past, you may wish to return to the Hebcal.com website to download and/or print an updated calendar.

The error was caused when Hebcal.com moved to a new sunset calculation engine in the summer of 2013. The new sunset engine allows support for thousands of global cities and fixed long-standing issues with our handling of Daylight Saving Time outside of the USA. Sunset times are estimated from latitude and longitude, and generally have an accuracy of +/- 2 minutes except at extreme north or south latitudes.

Unfortunately, an arithmetic error in determining sunset for a given latitude/longitude was inadvertently introduced, which added an additional 1-2 minutes of error. This error was recently discovered and corrected.

When does Shabbat begin?

Shabbat begins 18 minutes before sundown on Friday night. In Jerusalem, Shabbat begins 40 minutes before sundown.

According to the United States Naval Observatory,

Sunrise or sunset is defined to occur when the geometric zenith distance of center of the Sun is 90.8333 degrees. That is, the center of the Sun is geometrically 50 arcminutes below a horizontal plane. For an observer at sea level with a level, unobstructed horizon, under average atmospheric conditions, the upper limb of the Sun will then appear to be tangent to the horizon. The 50-arcminute geometric depression of the Sun’s center used for the computations is obtained by adding the average apparent radius of the Sun (16 arcminutes) to the average amount of atmospheric refraction at the horizon (34 arcminutes). [USNO]

What is Havdalah (or, When does Shabbat end)?

Shabbat ends after sundown on Saturday night when there are three stars visible. Depending on latitude and longitude, this is usually between 42 and 72 minutes after sundown.

According to Wikipedia,

There are three widely observed practices, all of which have support in the halachic literature:

  • Appearance of three medium-sized stars in the sky (sun 7°5′ below the horizon, or 42 minutes after sundown), as in the Talmud. This is normative practice in Conservative Judaism. In Orthodox Judaism, this position is used widely for the end of rabbinical fasts, but less frequently for the end of Shabbat or biblical festivals.
  • Appearance of three small stars widely spaced in the sky (sun 8.5°-8.75° below the horizon): common practice in much of Orthodox Judaism [10]
    • “50 minutes after sundown” is actually a variant of this position. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ruled this way because most people cannot easily calculate when “8.5° after sundown” will occur, and 8.5° takes 50 minutes at its longest, near the summer solstice, at the latitude of much of the United States.[2]
  • 72 minutes after sundown (“opinion of Rabbeinu Tam“): equivalent to other definitions of nightfall, and safe according to all opinions. Common practice in Chasidic and other Charedi communities