Torah Riddles Test #159

2.    Question: If the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 673:2) says that the lighting if the Chanukah lights is what does the mitzvah then why do you have to relight without a blessing if you blew it out on purpose though you don’t have to relight at all if you blew it out by accident and certainly if it went out itself?


A. The Mishna Berura (25) adds that if you lit it in a place which will automatically go out like in a windy area then you should relight it in a proper area (that can potentially allow it to stay lit for 30 minutes.)

B. The Mishna Berura (26) says that even on eve Shabbos if it blew out before sunset you technically still don’t have to relight because the rabbis enacted the mitzvah to be done with a blessing in a fashion that the mitzvah would start before sunset though on all other days it should be lit afterwards.

  Answer: The Avnei Nezer says that since he lit with proper intent then blowing it out by accident, without intent can’t nullify the lighting that was done with proper intent. But when blowing out on purpose and with intent then you are nullifying the act of lighting. Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that since you blew it out on purpose the one seeing that will say it was originally lit for his own personal need, why else would he blow it out. It’s the samething as lighting outside and the bringing the menorah inside where the Mishna Berura (675:1:5) says you don’t fulfill your mitzvah because people will say you lit for your own need, not for the sake if the mitzvah. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 673:3 note 40)

Torah Riddles Test #158

1.    Question: Why can’t the shamash on a menorah which is less than ten tefachim which is about 35 inches from the ground be lower than the rest of the lights?


A. The shamash is used to light the Chanukah lights and is the extra candle to benefit from because you can’t get benefit from the Chanukah lights which are set aside to remind us of the miracle.

B. The shamash can be higher, lower, set apart or in front or in back of the rest, anything to show that it’s not part of the mitzvah lights.

 Answer: Below ten tefachim is so low that it’s not really usable as light so it can’t be used as a shamash. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 673:1:20:25)

Chanukah – Lights of Joy

In honor of the upcoming shloshim of Rebbitzin Evelyn Yachnes, Chana Chaya bas Chaim A”H. Sponsored by some family members  who would like to sponsor the insightful divrei Torah of Rabbi Dovid Shmuel Milder. It is extremely appropriate that this venue should be a zechus for our mother whose ideals are closely connected to the lessons and mussar that Rabbi Milder expresses so well. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

“What is Chanukkah?  That [which] our Sages taught: On the 25th of Kislev – the days of Chanukah, they are eight, not to eulogize on them and not to fast on them, for when the Greeks entered the Temple, they polluted all the oils in the Temple, and when the Chashmonaim dynasty overcame and defeated them, they checked and they found but one cruse of oil that was set in place with the seal of the High Priest, but there was  only [enough] to light a single day. A miracle was done with it, and they lit from it for eight days. The following year [the Sages] fix those [days], making them holidays for praise and thanksgiving” (Gemara Shabbos 21b).

When the Greeks entered the Beis Hamikdash they seemed to have defiled everything inside, including all the utensils used to prepare and process the sacrifices, as well as the Shulchan, etc. Chazal even say the Greeks sacrificed a pig on the Holy Alter. Why then does the gemara emphasize the oil and menorah?

Chanukah literally means dedication. This holiday specifically celebrates the rededication of the Second Beis HaMikdash in the times of the Chashmonaim after they recaptured it from the Greeks.

There were actually seven dedications recorded in Jewish History. The medrish Pesiksa Rabasi DiRav Kahana states, “How many Chanukahs are there? There are 7 Chanukahs. They are:

  1. The dedication of the heaven and earth, as it says, ‘Thus the heaven and earth were finished’ (Breishis 2:1). What chanukah was then? ‘And G-D set them in the firmament of heaven to give light’ (Breishis 1:17).
  2. The dedication of the wall, as it says, ‘And at the dedication of the wall of Yerushalayim’ (Nechemiah 12:27).
  3. The dedication of the exiles [when they rebuilt the second Beis HaMikdash], as it says, ‘And they offered up for the dedication of this House of God’ (Ezra 6:17).
  4. The dedication of the kohanim where we light [the Chanukiah].
  5. The dedication in the World to Come as it says, ‘I will search Yerushalayim with candles’ (Tzephania 1:12).
  6. The dedication [of the Mishkan] by the princes [of each tribe], as it says, ‘This is the dedication of the alter’ (Bamidbar 6:84).
  7. The dedication of [the first] Beis HaMikdash, that which is referred to in Tehillim ‘A Psalm – a song for the dedication of the Temple – by Dovid’ (Tehillim 30:1), (Psiksa Rabasi DiRav Kahana, Piska DiChanukah, paragraph 2).”

The Pesiksa DiRav Kahana repeats this list but in a different order, at the end of the chapter in paragraph seven. The order is chronological, ending with the dedication in The World to Come which will come at the end of days. The Maharz”u says that the medrish repeats the list in order to end off the chapter with words of blessing, as it says, “And the dedication of the World to Come which it will also have candles as it is written, ‘And the light of the moon shall be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold’ (Yeshayahu 30:26).”

The Rada”l, Rav Dovid Luria zt”l, has his explanation of the repetition of the list. He says that at first the purpose of the list was to show the 7 times the word chanukah, dedication, was used. It is just that by the creation of the world, and what will happen in the World to Come, the word chanukah is not used, but since there were and will be candles, that is enough because they are normally lit for the joy of light of the dedication. Then the list is repeated to emphasize that each dedication had lights and candles, including the dedication of creation which had the celestial lights – the sun, moon, and stars. There was also a special light throughout the seven days of creation shining for the joy of dedication. The dedication of the Mishkan by Moshe Rabbeinu and the dedication of the first Beis HaMikdash by King Shlomo (as well as the second Beis HaMikdash) had the lighting of the menorah. By the dedication of the wall around Yerushalayim it states, “To perform the dedication with joy” (Nechemiah 12:27), referring to candles for joy as it says, “It was light and joy.” The paragraph concludes with the Chanukah of the Chashmonaim which was with candles and the dedication in the World to Come which will be with candles. (Click here and here for Hebrew sources.)
We see from here that, by definition, a proper dedication must be done with candles or a controlled light substance like the sun, moon and stars. Hence, Chanukah, the rededication of the Beis HaMikdash after it was defiled by the Greeks, is commemorated with lights, for that is what is most important in a dedication. For this reason, it would seem, it was worthwhile for Hashem to make a miracle to ensure the dedication takes place properly and with the utmost joy.

Why are lights so important for a dedication? It would seem from here that light has the inherent value of bringing joy. It is known that the ability to see clearly with proper lighting makes people feel more comfortable and happier. In places where it is cloudy and gloomy, or the sun does not come up for parts of the year, it is known that people there are more prone to depression and sadness. In fact, the Shulchan Aruch says that one who cannot afford to buy both Chanukah and Shabbos candles should buy Shabbos candles for the sake of peace the house. The Mishna Berura adds that nowadays, when we light our candles inside the house, it is better to buy a candle for Chanukah, because you won’t be sitting in the dark, and even though you are not supposed to benefit from the Chanukah light, it is considered a time of danger nowadays and the  candle can be lit for Chanukah on the table inside, though one will inevitably gain benefit from it. However, most poskim hold one should not differentiate between the times of the gemara and today so even nowadays if one can only afford one candle it should be for Shabbos(Mishna Berura 678:1:2).

Light sheds piece of mind and happiness to all within its arc. It is most appropriate to have a beginning or even a reopening with lights in order to start with a sense of joy. Thus, Chanukah had to commemorate the miracle of lights because there is no inauguration without lights. Chanukah celebrates that feeling of joy, magnified by Hashem’s miracle, which was radiating from the lights.

May we feel a sense of renewed happiness in our lives this Chanukah!

Torah Riddles Test #157

2.    Question: Why can you open and close the door on Shabbos even if the Chanukah menorah is mounted on it but if you lit your menorah on the table, the table is muktzah and cannot be moved the entire Shabbos?


A. The Mishna Berura (277:1:7) says the reason why the door isn’t muktzah is because it’s of great value since it is used for the house and is nullified to the house and not to the candles.

B. By Shabbos candles the Mishna Berura there (si’if katan 18) say that if Twilight (bein hashmashos) there is challahs or other things needed for shabbos on the table and the shabbos candles are also there the table is a base for permitted and forbidden things and can be carried with the candles to a different place if the table is needed elsewhere assuming you can’t push off the muktzah stuff, i.e. the candles.

 C. Rav Elyashiv poskined that even if there is something more valuable which is permissible on the table when the Chanukah candles were lit there going into Shabbos still the table cannot be moved even after the candles go out.

 D. On any night candles cannot be moved until after the mitzvah is done and on shabbos they can’t be moved until after shabbos.

 Answer: The difference between a door and a table is that the door is considered part of the house which is part of the ground which can’t become muktzah but a table is an object which can become muktzah if it was set aside before shabbos to be used for something forbidden so since the table is being used for chanukah candles from before shabbos and is forbidden to be moved because of the Chanukah light then that supersedes even any important permissible thing from permitting the table to be moved on shabbos since the state of muktzah started from before shabbos whereas normally it starts as shabbos comes in.

Torah Riddles Test #156

1.    Question: Why do we differentiate blessings between one vessel and more vessels when dipping them in the mikvah but when lighting Chanukah candles we say the same blessing whether for one candle or more?


A. The Pri Megadim says we say “lihadlik ner” in singular form for all nights of Chanukah so that we don’t differentiate between the first day and other days of Chanukah.

B. The Mishna Berura (263:22) quotes the Pri Megadim to say that for Shabbos candles we say “lihadlik ner shel Shabbos” no matter how many candles you light because the main obligation is one candle. Technically you only have to light one candle a night on Chanukah too.

C. For dipping vessels into the mikvah you say “al tevilas kli” for one and “al tevilas keilim” for more than one. (Dirshu Mishna Berura 676:1:1:1)

 Answer: By tevilas keilim each vessel is a separate obligation so one should say it in plural for to bless Hashem for each mitzvah you do but by Chanukah each added candle is only beautifying the mitzvah, though that becomes part of the mitzvah but since technically only one candle is needed per night then we stick to singular form for the blessing.

Torah Riddles Test #155

2.       Question: Why on Chanukah is it beautifying the mitzvah by using bigger wax candles but it’s not beautifying the mitzvah when adding more oil into the cup to burn for more than the half hour allotted time for the mitzvah?


A.      The Mishna Berura (675:2:6) says there is no mitzvah to put in enough oil to last more than a half an hour but with wax candles their is a beautification of the mitzvah when having longer candles but they shouldn’t be too big.

 Answer: The Magen Avraham (there si’if katan 3) says there is an intrinsic beauty to longer candles that makes the mitzvah look nicer but oil is oil no matter how much was put in and once the half an hour is gone one can technically use that oil because it’s not being used for a mitzvah anymore so there is no intrinsic value to more oil. [/exapnd]

Torah Riddles Test #84

2.      Question: Why are you allowed to add permissible wood to muktzah wood into an oven on Yom Tov as a permissible means of burning the wood and cooking with its heat but there is an opinion in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 677:4) that if oil already used for the Chanukah menorah got mixed up less than 60 times its amount in regular oil you cannot add more oil to nullify it?


A. The Shulchan Aruch In Orach Chaim 507:2 says that one may add wood on top of muktza wood on Yom Tov to burn them in an oven because it is permissible to purposefully nullify a rabbinic prohibition which can be fixed as long as one does not get direct benefit from it when it is burning up.

B. The Chanukah oil is also rabbinic and some do permit purposefully adding more oil in order to nullify it and use it for whatever purpose you want like a light source.  (See Mishna Berura 677:4:20.) 

Answer: The Mishna Berura (507:2:8) says the reason why the other opinions don’t permit nullifying the oil is because in this circumstance you will be getting benefit from the light of the fire in the candle while the oil or wax is still in existence but by the wood the benefit of heating up the oven isn’t coming from the heat of the wood until after the fire burns it up.

Torah Riddles Test #83

Question: Why aren’t we strict by Shabbos candles to not light from one candle to another just as we are stringent to not light Chanukah candles from one candle to another?


A. The Rema in Orach Chaim 674:1 says we have a custom to be strict by Chanukah candles to not light them from one candle to another since the main mitzvah is with one candle and the rest aren’t totally for the mitzvah (rather only to glorify the mitzvah.)

B. Halachically one only needs one candle for Shabbos candles we light at least two as a reminder of Shamor vizachor, keeping and remembering the Shabbos which refers to the negative and positive mitzvos associated with Shabbos.

C. Shabbos candles were enacted for Shalom Bayis so it would be easy to see in the house and make Shabbos more enjoyable.

D. One can light from one candle to another if there is an equal level of mitzvah for example two roommates on the first night of Chanukah can each light from each other’s candle. 

Answer: Each Shabbos candle makes it brighter in the room and is more directly adding to the mitzvah of delighting in Shabbos so they each have equal Mitzvah status and can light one from the other even though it is enough with one. But by Chanukah there is nothing integrally being enhanced to the mitzvah by each extra candle it is just a way to beautify the mitzvah more by lighting an additional candle each day therefore one shouldn’t light from one candle to the other (See Dirshu footnote 7.)

Torah Riddles Test #82

Question: Why was it considered accepting Shabbos by mistake in a case of a congregation that didn’t get a shofar until a few minutes before sunset and they had davened maariv early and they can blow the minimal amount of shofar blasts but once one lit Shabbos candles before lighting Chanukah candles by accident it is not considered a mistake and he cannot light candles anymore by himself?


A. The scenario of the shofar could be if Rosh HaShana was Thursday/Friday and the shul did not have a shofar. They sent someone to retrieve a shofar from a few towns over and he got delayed and was not showing up. Late Friday afternoon they essentially gave up and davened Kabbalah Shabbos and maariv early sometime between plag hamincha and sunset. Then the guy came with the shofar. The Mishna Berura (600:7) says that if there is no expert shofar blower who has not taken on Shabbos to blow then one who already accepted Shabbos can blow the minimal amount without a blessing. The Taz there says this is because they accepted Shabbos by mistake.

 B. Accepting Shabbos early is essentially making a vow.

Answer: The answer is found in the Responsa Beis Shearim 3:93 in the name of his Rebbe, Rav Pearls who said that the difference is that the obligation for the mitzvah by shofar already existed when they brought in Shabbos and therefore accepting Shabbos was like a vow said by mistake which does not need to be disavowed. But there is no obligation of Chanukah candles until the night time so when she lit Shabbos candles she was not obligated in Chanukah candles yet, if so then even accepting Shabbos was like making a vow by mistake nevertheless it was a mistake that just materialized after the vow was made so it needs a special annulment with an excuse and regret in front of 3 or a sage therefore Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach adds that at that point it is better just to ask someone else to light for you. (See Dirshu footnote 5 here.)

Torah Riddles Test #81

  1. Question: Why can a woman ask someone to light Chanukah candles for her if she forgot and lit Shabbos candles first but she can’t ask someone to make an eruv tavshilin for her if she forgot and already lit Yom Tov candles?


A. The Mishna Berura (679:1:1) says, if a woman is lighting Chanukah candles, since the custom is that we assume she accepts Shabbos as soon as she lights Shabbos candles, then she won’t be able to light Chanukah candles herself, rather she should ask someone else to light for her and he will say the first blessing for her but she can say the second blessing herself.

B. One can’t light fires on Shabbos.

C. There was a decree made that one makes an eruv tavshilin as a means to start cooking for the needs of Shabbos before Yom Tov  which permits one to prepare food on Yom Tov for the next day of Shabbos as if preparations is being done for everything and you would not transgress the prohibition of preparing on Yom Tov for the next day. 


Answer: Once she accepts upon herself Yom Tov by lighting candles then the whole concept of an eruv tavshilin doesn’t apply to her anymore because it only is applicable before Yom Tov starts but by lighting Chanukah candles the only issue is doing a melacha on Shabbos, transgressing Shabbos so someone who has not accepted Shabbos yet can light candles for her. (See Dirshu footnote 4 here.) [/edit]