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Thought for the Day: Bracha for Shechting Ben Paku'ah But Not for Extra Chanukiah

Right.  Having now established precisely (more or less) what a ben paku'ah is, we are now ready to understand why a bracha is required for the sh'chita of a ben paku'ah, but not bracha is required (nay! even permitted) when lighting a chanukiah in a second window that faces a different direction.  The source of our consternation is that in both cases it is Chazal who required the additional action and that action is required for the same reason; namely, to prevent onlookers from drawing a false conclusion based on our suspicious activity.  R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach gives four differences in the situations that help us to understand the difference in decrees of our Sages.

First there is a timing issue.  The second chanukiyah is usually going to be lit at the same time (or within minutes) of the first one.  The ben paku'ah, on the other hand, could very well be shechted even years later.  It is perfectly reasonable, therefore, to consider the lighting of the second chanukiyah as covered by the first bracha, which is not the case for our walking happy meal.

Second, the nature of sh'chita is that it serves a two-fold purpose: the fulfillment of a g'zeira and also permitting something that was here-to-fore forbidden; turning the animal into meat, in this case.  The lighting of the chanukiyah, on the other hand, is simply the fulfillment of a g'zeira; that action serves to remove suspicion, but not to permit anything that was forbidden before.  We do not find that Chazal established brachos for those activities.

Third, the g'zeira requiring sh'chita of a ben paku'ah is a real, live, full fledged g'zeira; even if there are no onlookers and even no possibility of onlookers, that ben paku'ah requires sh'chita.  The g'zeira requiring the second chanukiah is only operative as long as there is a possibility of suspicion from onlookers.  Now a days that we light inside with no concern that passers by should see our chanukiah at all, there is also no necessity to light a second chanukiah either (Mishna Brura 671, sk 54).

Finally, even if an onlooker would suspect a non-second-chanukiah-in-a-second-window-facing-a-different-direction-lighter of not lighting chanukah licht at all, he is certainly not going to conclude that no one in this town lights chanukah licht or that he doesn't need to light.  His suspicion is narrowly focussed on that one ba'al ha'bayis in that one house, because he is surrounded by lots of chanukios in lots of houses.  Shechting a ben paku'ah, on the other hand, could certainly be the only sh'chita going on right now; certainly that was the usual case before refrigeration.

There you have it.  I am sorry if I caused you a lot of distress over Shabbos trying to figure out what the differences might be.  Actually... no; I'm not sorry at all.  In fact, feel free to look into it more yourself, Halichos Shlomo, Mo'ed, chapters 13 - 17.  Don't skip the footnotes.


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