THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) COUNTING MONEY BY THE LIGHT OF THE CHANUKAH CANDLES
QUESTION: Rav Asi states that it is forbidden to count money by the light
of the Chanukah candles. Earlier (21a-b) the Gemara cited an argument
whether or not it is permitted to use the light of the Chanukah candles.
Why does the Gemara here only mention counting money?
(a) The ROSH and TOSFOS (21a, DH u'Mutar) explain that Rav Asi is teaching
that *even* counting money, which is a momentary activity and does not
require much light, is forbidden to do by the lights of Chanukah. We might
have thought that only using the lights for ongoing and involved activities
is forbidden, but counting money is permitted. Rav Asi teaches, therefore,
that there is a concept of *Bizuy Mitzvah* ("disgracing the Mitzvah") which
prohibits doing any mundane activity by the light of the Chanukah candles.
Rav Asi is more stringent than the earlier opinion that said it is
forbidden to use the light of the Chanukah candles (for drawn out
(b) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR explains that Rav Asi is actually more lenient than
the earlier opinion. The earlier opinion that said it is forbidden to use
the light meant that it may not be used for *anything*, even for a holy
purpose, such as to perform another Mitzvah. Rav Asi maintains that it is
forbidden only to be used for mundane activities, but it may be used for
holy purposes, because then there is no Bizuy Mitzvah.
The reason why the earlier opinion forbids the light to be used even for a
holy purpose is because the Chanukah lights were instituted as a
commemoration of the lights of the Menorah in the Beis ha'Mikdash. Those
lights were forbidden to be used for any other purpose, including uses of
holiness. Therefore, the Rabanan instituted that the lights of Chanukah
have a similar level of Kedushah, and they may not be used for any purpose.
(RASHI (21b, DH v'Asur) explains that the reason it is forbidden to use the
lights is because there must be an indication that these lights were
kindled for the sake of a Mitzvah, and by not using them one shows that
they were kindled only for the sake of a Mitzvah. Rashi may be learning
like the Ba'al ha'Me'or, that this opinion prohibits using the lights of
Chanukah for *any* purpose. Rav Asi, on the other hand, does not require
such an indication; he prohibits using the lights only because of Bizuy
Mitzvah, and therefore using them for a holy purpose is permitted.)
2) HALACHAH: IS THE "KINDLING" THE MITZVAH, OR IS THE "PLACING" THE MITZVAH
QUESTION: The Gemara says that if a person lights his Chanukah Menorah
inside his home and then he brings it outside, he does not fulfill the
Mitzvah. The reason is either because the kindling is the Mitzvah
("Hadlakah Oseh Mitzvah"), and since he kindled it in a place that is not
fit for the Mitzvah of lighting (i.e inside), he does not fulfill the
Mitzvah, or because the placing of the Chanukah Menorah is the Mitzvah
("Hanachah Oseh Mitzvah"), but someone who sees him bring the Menorah
outside will think that he lit it inside for his own personal use and not
for the sake of a Mitzvah.
The RIF, ROSH (2:7) and Tur (OC #675) rule that the *kindling* is the
Mitzvah. They also rule that if one lights it inside and brings it outside,
he does not fulfill the Mitzvah "because someone who sees him will think
that he lit it for his own personal use."
Why do they give this reason of "someone who sees?" If they rule that the
kindling is the Mitzvah, it is not necessary to give this reasoning, for we
rule that the kindling is the Mitzvah. If so, the kindling itself must be
done in a place that is fit for the performance of the Mitzvah (as is clear
from our Sugya)!
ANSWER: The BACH answers that even though the reason of "someone who sees"
is not really necessary, the Rif, Rosh, and Tur mentioned it because
sometimes the first reason that he does not fulfill his obligation (that
the kindling must be done in a place that is fit for the Mitzvah) does not
apply. For example, nowadays, lighting inside is the accepted practice, and
one fulfills the Mitzvah by lighting inside. If so, when one lights inside
and brings it outside, he *has* lit in a place that is fit for the Mitzvah,
so he should indeed fulfill his obligation even though he takes it outside.
Therefore, they recorded the second reason mentioned in the Gemara, that
someone who sees might think that he lit the candles for his own personal
The authorities rule in accordance with the answer of the Bach (see MISHNAH
BERURAH 675:5). The MISHNAH BERURAH (ibid., apparently based on the words
of the Vilna Gaon ad loc.) adds that this Halachah will also apply if a
person lights the Chanukah Menorah *outside* and then brings it *in*; the
concern of "someone who sees" still applies (even though people do not
usually kindle lights for personal use outside), and one does not fulfill