Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rogatchover Chanukah chakira:one 8 day holiday or 8 one day holidays?

The gemara (Shabbos 23) presents a case of someone who lit a very long-burning candle on Erev Shabbos e.g. a yahrzeit type candle, that was still burning Motzei Shabbos. Since hadlakah oseh mitzvah, to fulfill the mitzvah of ner chanukah the candle must be extinguished and relit. Rashi and Tosfos have slightly different readings of the case, but those slight differences may have major significance. Rashi explains the case being addressed is a long-lasting Chanukah candle lit on Friday afternoon – if that same Chanukah candle is still burning Motzei Shabbos, it must be extinguished and relit. Tosfos explains the case being addressed is long-lasting Shabbos candles lit on Friday – if the Shabbos candles are still burning on Motzei Shabbos, they must be extinguished and relit for the sake of Chanukah.

The Rogatchover infers from Tosfos that the need to extinguish and relight the candles is only where the candle was originally not lit for Chanukah, e.g. Shabbos candles. But if one lit a Chanukah candle and it remained burning through the next night, it would not have to be relit, contrary to Rashi's view.

The Rogatchover poses the following chakira: is Chanukah 8 one-day holidays, or 1 holiday lasting eight days? If it is 8 individual holidays, then each night needs its own lighting, as Rashi holds. However, if Chanukah is a single 8 day unit, then theoretically a candle lit for Chanukah which burned for all 8 days would suffice, as Tosfos holds.

This machlokes between Rashi and Tos. May have other ramifications. If a child becomes bar mitzvah or a ger converts in the middle of Chanukah, according to Tosfos there may be no chiyuv to light menorah – if one is patur at the start of the eight day holiday, then one is patur for its duration. Only if one considers each night a separate Yom Tov, like Rashi, would a new chiuv take effect.


  1. Tal Benschar9:12 AM

    I once heard a similar chakira re the difference between the seven days of Pesach and the seven days of Sukkos. The gemara says the reason we complete Hallel each day of the latter but not the former is that the latter is "chalukin be korbanoseihem." R. Moshe Soloveichik once explained that that means that for Pesach there is one seven-day long kedusha, whereas for Sukkos each day has its own kedushas ha yom and hence its own Hallel. (He also paskened that if for some reason a person did not say Hallel on day 1 of Pesach, he could still say it any of the 7 days of Pesach. IOW, Hallel is not an obligation of the first day of Pesach, but rather a single obligation of the whole of Pesach. We generally want to discharge our obligation as soon as we can, so we do it on the first day, but if for some reason the person could not do so, he can still recite full Hallel any of the seven days of Pesach.)

    Since on Hanukkah we say full Hallel each and every day, that implies that each day is a separate yom tov (or separate kiyum in pirsumei nissa), not one eight-day long kiyum.

  2. Anonymous8:43 PM

    the previous comment is inaccurate for a number of reasons: one, on pesach you are chayav to say full hallel on the first day; it is not just because "We generally want to discharge our obligation as soon as we can". two, the reason you are chayyav to say full hallel on the first day of pesach is because of the mussaf of that day, which is the same as the subsequent days. this therefore has nothing to do with hallel on chanukah which is hallel al ha'nes, and therefore is recited in full all eight days.

  3. Tal Benschar9:01 PM


    WADR, I must disagree with your understanding of the sugya. Mussaf is not a mechayev of hallel. If it was, we would say (full) Hallel on Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh. The gemara makes clear that you need moed, issur melacha AND chalukin be korbenoseihem.

    For that matter, a korban mussaf IS brought every day of Pesach, just that it is not different from every other day of Pesach, contrast with Sukkos when it is. Acc. to you, why is mussaf on day one of Pesach mechayev hallel, but mussaf on day 2 is not?

    R. Moshe Soloveichik's hesber fits the gemara quite well. Chalukin be korbanoseihem is not a reason for separate hallel; rather it is an indication that each day of Sukkos has a separate kedushas ha Yom (or perhaps a separate simcha), which the seven days of Pesach lack.

    Thus Hallel is not a chiyyuv of the first day of Pesach, it is a chiyuv of all seven days of Pesach. True, we generally say it on the first day, but if someone for some reason missed it, he can say it any other of the seven days. Do you disagree with this psak?

    Now as for Chanukkah, it is true that the Hallel is a bit different, it is al Ha Nes, not on a Yom Tov, per se. But that begs the question, how many times do we need to say Hallel? Why not just once? So while RMS's chakirah is not dependent on the Rogatochover's or vice-versa, one does suggest the solution to the other.