Thursday, December 15, 2016

Using the Menorah's Light for Personal Benefit

Using the Menorah's Light for Personal Benefit

Day: Thursday
Date: December 15, 2016
Parshat: Vayishlah
Yalkut Yosef: O"H: 673

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It is forbidden to take advantage of the menorah's light for any personal use unless that use is for a mitzvah. Even for a mitzvah one may only use the light for a quick, momentary use but not for more. For example, one may not count coins with the menorah's light or use it to learn Torah, but he may use the light to find a match with which to light the rest of the candles or to look up a halacha. Therefore, the accepted practice is to light an extra candle, called a shamash, so that if one does use the light it'll be from that candle and not from the others. The shamash is lit after all the others and should be placed a little higher or lower than the others to differentiate it. If one cannot put it at a different height he should at least separate it a bit so it's obvious that it's not part of the candles being used for the mitzvah. The candles need to stay lit for a half hour. (See DSH from Dec 13, 2016). After a half hour has passed one may use the light for any reason. If there is a blackout one does not need to close his eyes so as not to benefit from the menorah's light, even if it is within the first half hour.

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