I am going to piggy back on R’ Chaim Markowitz’s posting again. He raises the question (link) of whether the time for lighting candles on Erev Shabbos was fixed to be before shkiya, or the time still theoretically stands as after shkiya, but since we have no way to fulfill that option, we light beforehand.
The Rashba writes that Chanukah candles can always be lit early, not just on Erev Shabbos, as long as they burn from after shkiya until the time of “tichleh regel min hashuk”. Rambam disagrees and holds the early lighting on Friday is a choice made for lack of a better option. What is striking is the Rashba’s proof: Shabbos candles must burn into Shabbos, ideally for the Shabbos meal, but the halacha allows them to be lit well before shkiya or the start of Shabbos. So too, claims the Rashba, although Chanukah candles should burn from after shkiya into the night, there should be no reason why they cannot be lit earlier.
According to the Rambam, what is the difference between the mitzvah of lighting Shabbos candles and lighting Chanukah lights?
I’m not going to finish an answer today… something to think about over Shabbos.