Chanukah Candles: When and For How Long?

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1 ל ל כ ז ז ב" Texts compiled and Translated by Rabbi Noah Gradofsky Chanukah 5766 [ ] indicate words that are assumed in the ebrew text. ( ) indicates commentary necessary to understand the text.- ל ד ב ב ל ס כ ב ד כ ע ד - כ ע ד ב Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 21a-b כ ב ט ע ד ר ב נ - ס ב ר : כ ב ז ל... ר ב ח ס ד ר :... ס ב ר : ר ר ב נ :... ר ר ב : ר ר ב ר : ר ל ר ר ב ר ר ר ב... ר ר ב ר ר ר ב נ, ) כ :) ז ל... כ ב ז ל... ט ע ד ר ב - ס ב ר : Rabbi unah said:... Raba said: What is the reason for Rabbi unah? e felt that if the [Chanukah candle] extinguished, s/he is responsible for it (i.e. to rekindle it). Rav Chisdah said... e (Rav Chisda) thought that if extinguished, s/he is not responsible for it. Rabbi Zeira said in the name of Rav Matnah, but some say it was Rabbi Zera in the name of Rav... Rabbi Jeremiah said: what is Rav's reasoning? e felt that if extinguished, s/he is not responsible for it. The Talmud introduces a text that challenges those opinions that say that one is not required to rekindle the Chanukah candles if they go out. ד ל ד ל ד כ ב ד ר ד ל ל! - ל, ל, צ ע ח ע ד כ ל ר ג ל. ר נ : נ ע ר. ד ל. : - And we will pit a text against it: "Its mitzvah is from sunset until legs (i.e. people) are gone from the market." Does this not mean that if it is extinguished s/he must light it again?! No, it means that if s/he did not light it - s/he lights it (until people are gone from the street). Alternatively, [it may be stated to indicate] the volume. ר " ס כ ב ד כ ע ד ב Rashi Shabbat 21b, $ כ ב - ז ל. ב ע ר ז, ע ר - The volume - That there should be oil of this volume (i.e. there should be enough oil for the candle to light until people are gone from the market). ר ב " + ל כ ג ל ח נ כ פ ר ד ל כ Maimonides Mishneh Torah Laws of Chanukah 4:5 ד ל נ ר ח נ כ ד $ ע ח ל ע $ ע ל ח ר ל ד כ ח ז ד ל ד ל ע $, ע ב ר ז ז נ ד ל, כ ז ז כ ח צ ע ר, ע ח ד ל ל, ע ד כ ל ר ג ל, ד ל כ ב נ ז ל ד ל פ ע $ צ ר, ל ב נ ר כ ד ד ל ל כ ע ד כ ל ר ג ל, נ ר ד ל ח ר כ ל ר ג ל $ ר צ ל כ ב ל ס ל ע. ח ר, We do not light Chanukah candles before the sun sets, rather, with the sunset - we do not make it later or earlier. If s/he forgot or acted purposefully and did not light with sunset, s/he lights until people are gone from the market. And how long is this? Around a half hour or more. If this time passed, s/he does not light. Further, it is necessary to place sufficient oil in the candle so that it burns until people are gone from the market. If s/he lit and it extinguished, s/he is not required to kindle it another time. If oil remans after people are gone from the market, if s/he wants to extinguish or move it (the candle), s/he does so.

2 כ ע ל כ ד פ פ ד נ צ ב" ל נ Question: Per Maimonides, one must light Chanukah candles before people are gone from the market, and one must have enough oil to light until after people are gone from the market. Maimonides indicates that this time is 30 minutes after sunset. This standard is common amongst the medieval. What about us? Our malls are open until 9 on the average night. Does this mean that in Maimonides opinion one could light up to this time? Does it also mean that our candles should be big enough to burn from sunset until this time? Some, (famed 20th century Rabbi Joseph Soloveichik amongst them) required candles to burn for longer than a half hour in modern times. Others prefer to view the 30 minute time limit as having achieved some form of canonical status of its own, thus divorced from the original logic that the candle needed to burn until people were gone from the market. There are still some other considerations as to whether the rule is different today. These arguments are discussed below. ט ר ר ח ח + ס ר ע ב Tur Orach Chayim 672 $ ב ח צ ס ע ח ע ד ח צ ע ל ל ז ע $ ע ב ר ב ר ב ב $ כ ר ס ס ל כ, כ ל ל כ ב ל ח ר ע ב ר ז ז כ כ ל ל ל ר ל ח ר צ ר, ל ב כ ז ע ר $ נ ב ר ל ד ד ס פ כ ב ד ל ד " ע ד ז נ כ ל ל ל ד ל כ ר ב " $ ז " ל... ז ז ע ב ר ר צ " ע ר ל נ נ ל ל $ ד ל ב ח ל ח ר ז ז ע ב ר ב ב ל נ ב ז נ נ ח ז " נ כ ל ד ל ב ע ד ב נ ב ד ל ב ב ר ל ל ב נ ב ל פ ד ע ל ז כ ב ב ס " " ד ל ב פ נ $ כ ד ל ב פ ח ב פ ח נ ע ר נ ר ל ד צ ר, ל ד ד ב ע ר ע " ר ל ע ב ר $ ב $ : Its mitzvah is from the end sunset until one half hour of night, for then people pass by and see their house, and there is publication of the miracle (of Chanukah). Therefore, one needs to put this volume of oil, and if one put more, one may extinguish after this amount of time passes, and similarly one may use its light after this time, since the essence of the mitzvah has passed. Nonetheless, its time is really all night, unlike Maimonides of blessed memory.... and the Tosafot wrote that for us, we do not need to light in the time prescribed by the sages of blessed memory, for they only prescribed for those who light outside and since after that time there are no passers-by. But we, who light in our houses, and there is only recognition for those in the house, there is no reason to be particular with this time. And it is written in Sefer aterumah, "nonetheless, it is correct to light when people of the house are still are awake, and it seems that for us one must me careful with the volume, for even though we light inside, since we light at the door of the house, and it is opened, there is some recognition for the passers-by." Question: There is indication that in general, people were lighting their Chanukah candles inside the house. Why might this be? Perhaps a hint comes from the following source: ג ל ע נ ) ל כ ט נ ט ( ס כ ל ד " / ע ר + ח ב כ ס ל Megillat Ta'anit, Scholion צ ח ע ל פ ח ב ד ר ב ע ל ב ח ל ח נ ס, ל ר ר ב $.... ג $ נ ח ע ל פ ח ב ב פ נ $ ב ע ס כ נ נ ח ע ל ל ח נ ד. ר $... And the commandment is (alternative translation: it is a mitzvah) to place it outside the door. And if s/he lives in a loft, s/he places it in the window near the public domain. And if s/he fears from the non-jews, s/he places it inside the door. And in times of danger s/he places it on the table, and that is enough.

3 פ נ ב" Perhaps due to danger, the practice became to light the candles indoors, and the "publication of the miracle" was the fact that those in the house saw the candles lit, rather than the fact that outsiders saw the candles. This leads to the following important philosophical question: The argument in the middle ages seems to be that since the candles were lit for those inside the house, the candles did not need to burn for as long, and also could be lit later in the day, as long as people in the house were awake. Nowadays, since it is possible for us to light candles near the door or a window, must we return to the original laws? ח ר ד ר ל ח ר ד ל ד ל ל ד ב ס ר ח ח + ס ר ע ב ) ), ב ד " צ ס 672 Beth Yosef Orach Chayim ר ל ד ל כ ב ר " ) $ ( נ ר ח נ כ ב ח ל ל ל כ ב ל ל, ע ב ר ז ע ל ל כ, ר ר Regarding that which we say (in the Talmud), "if s/he did not light it - s/he lights it (until people are gone from the street)," the Rosh wrote "but from then on the time has passed, therefore, even though the Talmud provides another answer,* it is fitting to be strict and light the Chanukah candle at the beginning of the night." * The Talmud give us two possible reasons for the mention of the time period "until people are gone from the street." It could teach us until when we can light the candles, and/or how long the candles must light. Rosh argues that we should give some credence to the first explanation, and thus should try to light the Menorah as early as possible ד ל ע ד ב ר ד נ ל כ ח ל ב ל $ ע ב ר ל ד ל ל ד ב ר פ ר ל ל ל ר ב ס פ כ נ ד ל ר ד ב $ ר " ) ד ל ל ס פ : כ ב ס פ ) $ ד " נ ל כ ב ד ל כ ר ב " $... And it seems from his words, that this is only ab initio (i.e. in the best of circumstances), however, if this time has passed and s/he did not light, s/he should light based on a doubt (as to whether or not the mitzvah could be fulfilled. And thus the Tosafot also wrote in the name of R"i Porat. And our teacher (i.e. Tur) did not need to write [that this opinion is] "unlike Maimonides of blessed memory,"... for even the one who says "light," one only lights by way of doubt. Question: If lighting Chanukah candles is considered a Rabbinic law, and the rule is that we resolve doubts of rabbinic law towards leniency, why not say if the time has passed by, you do not need to light the candles? This is not to say lighting candles would be a bad thing (but see below as to whether to say a blessing), but it seems to me it that doing so should be left as permissive, and not expected.

4 כ נ ר ר > ג E > E E ר ל ב" ל ח ע ר ר ח ח + ס ר ע ב ס ע ב Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 672:2 Note: The italics represents the comments of Rabbi Moshe Iserless, the Ashkenazi voice of the Shulchan Aruch. כ ח צ ע ז ע $ ד ל ל, ע ד כ ל ר ג ל, כ ח ז ד ל ד ל ע $ ע ח, כ ל ל כ ב ל ח ר $ נ ב ר ל כ, צ ר, ל ב כ ז ע ר, ע ב ר $ ב $ כ פ ר ס ס ; ל ז ל ד ל ב ז ז ד ל ב פ נ " צ ל ח ר ז ז. ג : " ע ב ר ז ז, כ כ ל ל ל ר ט ב ל ז ב ז ז ; " ל כ ח ל, ב ל " ע ב ר ט ב ס פ ), " ג ל ) ד " ע ד כ ל ר ז ז ל ד ל, ד ל ל ( כ ל ל ל ; " ע ב ר כ ל ל ל... If one erred or acted purposefully and did not light with sunset, s/he lights until people are gone from the market, which is approximately one half hour, for then people pass by and there is publication of the miracle. Therefore, one needs to put sufficient oil for this amount of time, and if s/he put more, he may extinguish it after this time, and s/he can use its light after this time. Note: Some say that in these days that we light indoors, there is no reason to be careful to light before people are gone from the market. Nonetheless, it is best to be careful with this time. But these words apply ab initio, but if this time has passed and s/he didn't like, s/he may light all night.... ג 2 ב ר 5 ר ח ח 5 ס 2 ר ע ב ס" Magen Avraham Orach Chayim 672:6 ב ד ס פ ד ד נ ע ל ב ר ב ל ד ס כ E ל ל ל - ב ב " כ כ ב ד ע ד ח צ " כ ל ל ר ב ל נ נ " ח ר ח צ ל ב ר ל ב ר ע ל :E > ב ג " כ ב כ ב נ ל ז ע ע ד ע ב ר ר " > E ב " ע ד ע ד ח ר ע ל כ" כ ב נ ע ר פ ' All night - In Beth Yosef it is written that this is a doubt in the law. If so, it implies that one should not bless (as we generally do not say a blessing in cases where we are not sure if we are fulfilling the mitzvah). But, since he is silent [on the issue], it implies that his feeling is to bless. And Rabbi Shelomo Luria wrote that this is specifically up to midnight, but afterwards one cannot bless. And the writer of agahot Maimoniot [wrote that one may bless] "any time that the people of the house are awake, even up to the morning star" end of quote. And thus it seems to me to rule, but if they are sleeping, one may not bless on them. Note: I agree with Magen Avraham's read of the Shulchan Aruch. There are many times that the Shulchan Aruch tells us not to say a blessing, if the need for the blessing is in doubt. is silence here seems to indicate that he feels lighting for those in the house is sufficient for the blessing. If he says this because of the way candles were lit in his day (i.e. indoors), then I might agree with him. If he is saying that since the Talmud said that the time limitation might have been provided apropos of how much oil to use, and therefore it may be that we should light after the appropriate time, and that that lighting should be with a blessing, I would respectfully dissent.

5 ב" CONCLUSION: It seems to me that the rules as to the timing of the lighting of Chanukah candles is determined by ones judicial philosophy and what role history plays in alacha. For my two cents, I feel that those in the past who could only light candles for people in their home probably did the right thing based on the pressing situation. Nowadays, where we can light in such a way that the public can see the candles, we should feel once again bound by the time limitations promulgated by the rabbis. Thus, we should (1) try to light the candles as soon after sundown as possible; (2) Only light the candles while there is still significant activity in our streets. I would say this would be around 9:30PM, but that is a judgment call and will depend on local activity. After that, if one cares to light the menorah, one should do so without a blessing; (3) The candles lit should be sufficient to light up until there is a no activity on the streets. If this is difficult, we should light at least one candle that will stay lit that long, as the basic mitzvah is to light one candle each day. Those with a more liberal judicial philosophy may argue that lighting for people in the home is still sufficient to stretch the time period of permissible lighting. Some others may take the 1/2 hour rule as having supplanted the rule of "until people are gone from the market," in which case candles should only be lit with a blessing within a half hour of sunset, and need only be large enough to burn for 1/2 hour. Biography Of Sources Much of the information in this biography comes from the Bar Ilan Responsa CD-ROM and from Encyclopedia Judaica. Bet Yosef: See Karo, Joseph. agahot Maimoniot: Late 13th/early 14th century commentary on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah giving rulings of German and French scholars. Written by Meir a-kohen, a student of Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg. Isserless, Joseph: 16th Century Polish scholar. Authored a commentary on Tur and glosses on the Shulchan Aruch with many Ashkenazi opinions on the matters discussed therein. Karo, Joseph: B. 1488, Spain or possibly Portugal. Grew up largely in Turkey, and left to Safed, Israel in 1536 where he died in Karo's halachic magnum opus was the Bet Yosef, a commentary on Tur (see XXX) which provides Talmudic sources and references to later rabbinic discussions on each halachic issue addressed by Tur, as well as certain other issues. Karo also wrote a brief compendium of his halachic opinions (based on his Bet Yoseph), which is known as the Shulchan Aruch. Karo also wrote a commentary on Maimonides Mishneh Torah (known as the Kesef Mishnah), as well as responsa. Luria: Solomon ben. Yechiel Lura. AKA RaSha"L or MaaRSha"L 16th Century Poland. Magen Avraham: R. Avraham a-levi Gombiner was born ca in Gombin, Poland, and

6 ב" died in Kalisch in Magen Avraham is a commentary on Shulchan Aruch. Maimonides: Rabbi Moses (AKA Moses ben Maimon, or by his acronym RaMBa"m) ( ). Rabbi and philosopher. Authored a commentary on the Mishnah (a compilation of rabbinic teachings from the late 2nd century), a code of Jewish law known as the Mishneh Torah, and famed philosophical work, "The Guide to the Perplexed." Megillah Scroll: An ancient list of 36 days where there were positive historical events, for which the rabbis forbade fasting (and in some cases eulogizing) on those days. After the Talmud, as scholium was appended, with various oral traditions, many unknown from any other source. Copyists and editors over time also added notes and explanations, largely coming from the Babylonian Talmud. Mishneh Torah: See Maimonides. Rash"i: Rashi, Rabbi Solomon Yitzchaki (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac) b. Troyes, France 1040, d. Worms in Author of commentary on Bible and Talmud. R"i Porat: Joseph ben Moses of Troyes, 12 th Century France. Often mentioned in Tosafot. Rosh: Rabbi Asher ben Jechiel was born ca in Germany, and died in 1327 in Toledo, Spain.Wrote an halachic code following the order of the Babylonian Talmud. Father of Tur. Sefer aterumah: Baruch ben Isaac of Worms, late 12th/early 13th century. Shulchan Aruch: See Karo, Joseph and Isserless, Joseph. Tosafot: Composite commentary on the Talmud by scholars in 12th-14th century Germany and France. Started by the students of Rashi, though they often disagree with his understandings. Tur: alachic work of Rabbi Jacob ben Asher (ca ) (see Tur above). Tur is a code of law, broken into four sections, Orach Chayim (daily ritual law), Yoreh De'ah (ritual laws such as kashruth, family purity and mourning), Even a'ezer (marraige and divorce), and Choshen Mishpat (civil and criminal law). This codification system eventually is adopted by Rabbi Joseph Karo in the Shulchan Aruch.

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