Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Lighting Chanuka Lights as a Guest and in a Tank

I am looking forward to taking my grandchildren to a county fair.  I have very fond memories of visits to the Orange County Fair in my youth.  I am not sure why, as I don't particularly like pigs or quilts; none the less my memory of those visits all have a nice feel to them.  We didn't go on the rides (too dangerous), nor eat the food (too expensive), nor even play the games (all rigged);  I guess it was just fun to go as a family and see an eclectic bunch of stuff.  One thing I remember vividly was a real tank that we could go in and explore.  I use the word "explore" loosely; once you got in there really wasn't much wiggle room.

What brought this up was the cold weather; which reminded me that Chanuka is approaching.  Halichos Shlomo on hilchos Chanuka starts with various interesting cases regarding the obligation of light.  The basic obligation to light is one menorah per household.  A household, of course, needs a house.  Apparently the Israeli tank forces spend several days at a time in their tanks.  Even though they eat outside (during calm periods, presumably), Halichos Shlomo says that the tank constitutes a household vis-à-vis chanuka licht.  The licht must be lit inside, not on top of, the tank.  You can't just turn on a light, either, because that is not recognizable as "ner mitzvah".  In a difficult situation (not hard to imagine if you are living in a tank), one may use a flash light.

Somewhat more mundane, but also more relevant to most of use, is the case of being a guest in someone's house.  As is well known, it is standard for guests and/or boarders to contribute some token amount of money to own a share of the oil/candles.  The Halichos Shlomo notes that there is no requirement (nor even particular benefit) to owning the oil.  This is not like lulav where there is a drash of "lachem" that requires you to own the lulav (at least on the first day).  This is also not a matter of shlichus/appointing an agent.  As we see from the formulation of the bracha as "l'hadlik neir shel chanuka", not "al hadlaskas neir shel chanuka"; shlichus doesn't work.  Rather, you are becoming part of the household; buying your way in, as it were.  Note also that a boarder has to pay the ba'al habayis, not another boarder; it's not like subletting.

Just thought it would be nice to precede the cold weather with some warm thoughts of latkes, dreidels, and the gentle elegance of the chanuka licht.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…