Description: Halachos of Chanukah 11 - What to Use for Lighting
Good Morning. We’re learning the Halachos of Chanukah and talking about what to use for hadlakas neiros.
We mentioned yesterday that all shmanim are Kasher but shemen zayis is adif (mitzvah min hamuvchar). The Rema says that using a wax candle is the equivalent of shemen zayis because it produces such a pure, clean flame. Nevertheless, shemen zayis is adif like it was in the mikdash(M”B in the name of the Maharal).
18. The E”R points out that when one is lighting, he should light all the neiros using the same type of fuel - either all oil, or all wax. He shouldn’t have some that are fueled by oil and others that are fueled by wax. By doing so, one is not going to be mefarsem the neis. It is confusing to onlookers when there are different types of fuels. I don't think different types of oils is a problem. I think he means oil vs. wax which is a totally different type of lighting.
19. The oil that one uses, must be kosher oil. It may not be non-kosher oil. This doesn’t mean that it requires a hechsher. As long as its olive oil it is fine. In fact, even if there are some contaminants in the oil, it most likely will not be forbidden to eat. Therefore, even though we would not actually consume it, but for the purposes of lighting it is not necessary. It is certainly better to know that the fuel one is using is kasher.
20. A question that arises -along the lines of what we spoke about yesterday with regard to wax-coated wicks- is that of congealed oil. Todays manufacturer have a process where they congeal the olive oil so that it does not spill during the shipment and retail process. Eventually, after remaining lit it de-congeals and burns as olive oil. When it is first lit however, it burns like wax.
We know that in the mikdash, the fuel was oil in a liquid form. Rav Moshe Shternbuch Shlit”a holds that it does not have the status of shemen zayis and would therefore be appropriate to not take advantage of this type of oil, if he doesn’t need to.
21. With regard to what to use for wicks, the preferred material halachically is either cotton or flax. Most of the wicks made available on the market are cotton.
22. A long standing question that arises is the use of an electric powered menorah (plug in), with an incandescent bulb, for the purpose of hadlakas neiros. There are multiple potential issues with the electric powered neiros. Rav Shlomo Zalman maintains that they are not kasher as the fuel needs to be there, present. Even though we said yesterday, if the neiros go out, rekindling is not necessary - that is only said when they were lit with enough fuel to last the appropriate shiur of time.
Parenthetically, the halacha that one is yotzei if it goes out, only applies where it was lit in a place where it was possible to remain lit for the appropriate required duration. If one lit in a windy place such that the neiros would not remain lit, the initial lighting does not count as the mitzvah. Because he did not light in a way that the neir could last an appropriate amount of time he has not done the mitzvah.
If however, one lit with the right amount of fuel and it was not in a windy spot, and it went out for whatever reason, then that is the case we discussed where re-lighting is not necessary.
Over here, in the case of an electric menorah, the fuel is not present. Rather, the fuel is coming from an off-site location, generated at the power station which is not clearly not here. One would therefore not be yotzei under these circumstances.
He continues and says that in a case where one would be required to light with an electric lamp, that would only be relevant in a case where he uses a battery powered flashlight (or something of that sort). In the case of a flashlight, the fuel which will provide the electricity is here in the battery.
However, there are other concerns as well; is it truly called your ma’aseh hadlaka? Perhaps in some way it is not considered direct- the individual flipped a switch, electricity goes through and the question is whether that is considered your action or not.
Perhaps, says Rav Shlomo Zalman, an actual flame (shalheves) is required and even though we consider a filament that is burning as ohr and is considered the melacha of mav’eer, making a fire when it comes to dinei Shabbos - -but perhaps there is a requirement to have a shalheves and because he doesn’t have that here, he is not yotzei.
With that said, there are multiple concerns and it is advisable that if one must use one (such as in a hospital that forbids open flames, etc.) he may use an electric device but should not make a bracha. In addition, he should make sure to get a battery powered electric menorah with an incandescent bulb.
• All the Mitzvah neiros should be fueled by the same type of fuel (all liquid, or all wax, etc.). Different types of the same fuel is not a problem.
• The type of fuel used must be from a Kasher substance.
• Preferably, not should avoid using congealed olive oil as this is not considered shemen zayis.
• The halachically preferred materials for the wicks to be made from is either cotton or flax.
• If one has no other choice, they should light with a battery powered device with an incandescent bulb but be sure to not make a Bracha.