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Siman 673 - Oils and Wicks that are Valid for Chanukah

 

"Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman

English Translation of the entire siman [besides ours (above)]: at ShulchanArach.com, at en.wikisource.org

Mishnah Berurah for the entire siman: at www.mishnaberura.com

 

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Siman 673, se'if 1

 

(a) Are the "inferior" types of wick and the "inferior" types of oil (i.e. those which may not be used for Shabbos "candles" [see O.C. 264]) valid for the Chanukah "candle" [at least on a weeknight]? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): Yes.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 21a-b.]

 

(b) What type of oil [or other fuel] should one choose [i.e. initially] for the Chanukah "candle"?

          The Rema writes (put simply): Olive oil is the choicest [form] of the Mitzvah; and if there's no olive oil [available] - the ["next choicest"] Mitzvah is [then to light] with oils whose light is pure and clear, and the minhag in these areas is to light with a wax candle - for their light is as clear as [that of] oil.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 23a.]

 

(c) May the "inferior" types of wick and the "inferior" types of oil [mentioned above in question (a)] be used for the Chanukah "candle" that is lit on Shabbos itself?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): Yes.

          The Rema writes: [However, it is only muttar] if he does not put into the "candle" [any more than] just enough [oil or other fuel] to be the [minimum] amount for its Mitzvah..

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 21a-b.]

 

(d) What form of "making use" of a Chanukah candle is muttar?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: It is assur to make use of the Chanukah "candle", whether on Shabbos or on a weekday, and even to examine coins or to count them by its light is assur. Even a "holy" use - such as to study [Torah] by its light - is assur, and [on the other hand] there is someone who holds that it is muttar [to engage in] a "holy" use.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 22a (and the Gemara from the previous question).]

 

(e) What minhag is there for lighting an extra Chanukah candle [i.e. some kind of "shamash"]?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: The minhag [as opposed to a possible obligation - discussed above in question 671:5(b)] is to light an additional "candle", so that if one were to make use of the light - [then] it would be the added light (which is the one that was lit last) [that he would be using]; and he should position it a bit of a distance away from the other Mitzvah "candles".

          The Rema writes: [On the other hand,] in these areas the minhag is not to "add"; rather, one leaves the "shamash" (which he lights the candles with) next to them - and this is better; and one should make it longer than the other candles, so if he comes to "make use" [of the light] - it will be this candle that he uses.

 

(f) What can be done with a mixture of one solid Chanukah candle together with a number of regular ones? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Rema writes: [The "assur" candle] does not become "batel" (even [if its proportion of the mixture is only] "one within a thousand"), for it is "something counted" [see Y.D. 110:1]. Rather, one should light enough [candles] from the mixture so that a "muttar" candle is definitely burning with the "assur" candle [i.e. even if assur ones are present as well] - and then it is muttar to perform activities [that need light] by [their light].

          [Note: Compare with 677:4(b) below, which concerns a similar liquid fuel mixture.]

 

 

Siman 673, se'if 2

 

(a) What is the basic Halacha regarding an obligation to relight one's Chanukah candle if it became extinguished? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: The lighting makes the Mitzvah; therefore, if it went out, [even] before its time [period] passed, he is not responsible for it.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 21a-b.]

 

(b) Are there special cases where there could be an obligation to relight one's Chanukah candle that became extinguished?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: Even if it went out on Friday before the acceptance of Shabbos - which is still during the day - he is not responsible for it. [Furthermore,] if after he lit it he was going to fix it and he accidentally put it out - he likewise is not responsible for it.

 

(c) Is it a Mitzvah to relight one's Chanukah candle if it became extinguished, in any case?

          The Rema writes: If one wants to be stringent with himself [i.e. even in the above-mentioned "special" case] and light it again - he may not say a bracha over that.

          The Mishnah Berurah writes (put simply): [Nevertheless,] in all these cases, it is in fact appropriate to be stringent and re-light.

 

 

Siman 673, se'if 3

 

May one light his Chanukah "candle" in an "old lamp"? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: [In the case of] an earthenware "candle" [i.e. lamp] with which one [already] lit [on] one night, it becomes "old" and one may not light with it [on] another night; and if all he has is "old" [ones] - he [should] "fire" [these] each night in a fire; and a metal "candle" [i.e. lamp] does not have [to be] new; and [as for] one of glass or of covered earthenware - its Halacha is like [that of] metal.

          [Classic sources: "Tractate Sofrim" 20:3.]

 

 

Siman 673, se'if 4

 

Must one change the wicks he uses for his Chanukah "candle" (i.e. using a new wick in each "lamp" each night)? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): No.

          [Classic sources: "Tractate Sofrim" 20:4.]