Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lighting the menorah on Friday afternoon

Hi,

On Friday afternoon we light the menorah before we light Shabbat candles, since once we have lit Shabbat candles we have accepted Shabbat and we cannot light the menorah.

We make sure that the candles will last until at least thirty minutes into true night (after the stars have emerged) - so that we need candles that will last at least 93 minutes (18 minutes between candle lighting and sunset, 45 minutes between sunset and when the stars emerge, and then another 30 minutes). People tend to use thick Shabbat candles, which last longer than the usual Chanukah candles.

[This is a special concern in years when the last night of Chanukah is a Friday night, so that we light eight candles and need them to last for a long time. With that many candles so close together, the candles tend to melt down very quickly. If one can use oil, that helps. Alternatively, tea lights work well.]

(Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 679)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Adding a table leaf on Shabbat

Hi,

One may add a leaf to a table on Shabbat.

Although one may not create a roof over a space on Shabbat, this is acceptable 1) because one is adding to an existing "roof", 2) because the table is made for such expansion, and 3) because the primary problem is where there are both roof and walls, and our tables do not have walls.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:222:3)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Shacharit during Musaf

Hi,

One who comes to shul late, when the community is already reciting the musaf amidah, should still pray in the proper order, reciting the shacharit amidah, rather than recite musaf with the community. According to some opinions, doing this fulfills an element of praying "with the community", despite the fact that one is reciting a different amidah.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:220)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Monday, December 15, 2014

Musaf before Kriat haTorah?

Hi,

A synagogue may recite the musaf amidah before reading from the Torah [on Shabbat or Yom Tov], if there is a particular, significant need, such as where the person who will read from the Torah is not yet available, and they are concerned about straining the community by waiting for him to proceed. However, we try to keep to the normal order. Therefore, the community should not do this on an on-going basis; other remedies should be sought.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:219:2)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Sunday, December 14, 2014

An electric chanukiah?

Hi,

May one use an electric chanukiah?

The consensus of many authorities is that electric lights do not fulfill the mitzvah. The reasons include:

1. At the time we light, there must be enough fuel present for the flame to last for the entire period; electricity is continuously generated.

2. We require direct kindling, as takes place when one touches a flame to a wick; flipping a switch or pressing a button is an act of indirect lighting (grama).

3. The point is to commemorate the original menorah, which employed fuel and wick.

4. Each flame is supposed to be a single flame, not a medurah (lit. bonfire), since the original menorah had a single flame for each wick. A filament, which arcs horizontally, is a medurah.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef says that one who cannot light a standard chanukiah should use an electric chanukiah without a berachah. [Apparently, he is not concerned lest onlookers view this as acceptance of an electric chanukiah in general.]


(Har Tzvi Orach Chaim 143; Dvar Halachah (R' Kletzkin) 36; Meorei Eish 5:2; Tzitz Eliezer 1:20:12; Yabia Omer 3:Orach Chaim 35)

Have a great day,
Mordechai

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Late Lighting

Hi,

If my wife lights Chanukah candles in our home on time, and I will not come home until later that night, do I light when I arrive at home?

A man's wife may light on his behalf at home, exempting him from his obligation to light. However, the man may still be obligated to see Chanukah candles, personally. Therefore: if someone will be awake when he arrives home, the man should state that he is not relying upon the lighting taking place in his home. He should then light upon arriving home.

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 676:3, 677:3; Mishneh Berurah 677:14; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 676:7; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 5:43:1; Mishneh Halachos 15:207:1)

 Have a great day,
Mordechai


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lighting menorah at a Chanukah Party

Hi,

May I light the chanukiah at my family's Chanukah party, and count that as my mitzvah?

One may not light at a Chanukah party located in another person's house. One who will return home after traffic outside his house has ceased should light before going to the party, after plag haminchah (3:45 PM in Toronto at the start of Chanukah this year), and the chanukiah must remain lit until more than 30 minutes after the stars emerge.

Where the above solution is not possible, one should have someone light in his home at the proper time, or one should light after returning from the party, making sure that someone else is awake to see his chanukiah.


(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 677:1; Mishneh Berurah 677:12, 679:2; Rivivot Ephraim 4:163:12, 16, 32)

Have a great day,
Mordechai