Shabbat Candles & Havdalah on Chanukah
During the Shabbat of Chanukah, which is lit first - the Menorah or the Shabbat candles?
And then on Saturday night, which do we do first - the Menorah or the Havdalah service?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
On Friday afternoon during Chanukah, we first light the Chanukah candles. The reason is because if we would light Shabbat candles first, this would signify the onset of Shabbat - and we are not allowed to light Chanukah candles on Shabbat. (Code of Jewish Law O.C. 679:1)
But following Shabbat on Saturday night, there are different opinions as to which should be done first. On one hand, it makes sense to say Havdallah first, because that signifies the end of Shabbat and now gives permissibility to lighting Chanukah candles. Also, there is the Talmudic principle of "Tadir U'sheino Tadir, Tadir Kodem" - the activity that is performed more often should be performed first (Zevachim 89a).
Furthermore, it would seem a contradiction to be lighting the Chanukah candles - an activity which is forbidden on Shabbat - when we still have yet to officially usher out the Shabbat!
On the other hand, there is another rule which states "Afukei Yoma Me'acharinan" - we seek to prolong our observance of Shabbat (Rashbam - Pesachim 102b). Another reason offered for prioritizing Chanukah is due to its role in publicizing the miracle.
This is a situation of competing halachic principles. Since both approaches are valid, everyone may do according to his custom.
(sources: Meiri - Shabbat 23; Taz - O.C. 681:1; Mishnah Berurah 681:3)