Sunday, December 09, 2012

hadlakas menorah as a kiyum of building the mikdash

According to most Rishonim the menorah in the mikdash was lit once a day towards evening and burned all night.  According to these views, the Mishna's din (Menachos 49) that chinuch of the menorah, the first lighting that inaugurates the use of the menorah, must be done in the evening makes perfect sense -- this is the proper time at which the mitzvah of lighting the menorah is fulfilled.  

The Rambam, however, writes (Temidim 3:10-12) 

דישון המנורה, והטבת נרותיה בבוקר ובין הערביים--מצות עשה

 מה הוא דישון המנורה: כל נר שכבה--מסיר הפתילה וכל השמן שבנר, ומקנחו, ונותן בו פתילה אחרת ושמן אחר במידה, שהוא חצי לוג; וזה שהסיר, משליכו במקום הדשן אצל המזבח, עם דישון המזבח הפנימי והחיצון; ומדליק נר שכבה. והדלקת הנרות, היא הטבתם. 

According to the Rambam the mitzvah done with the menorah is called hatavah, preparing for lighting, and it must be fulfilled twice a day, both in the morning and in the evening, not just once.   "Hadlakas hemenorah hi hatavasm," lighting the menorah is not an independent mitzvah, but is part and parcel of this mitzvah of hatavah.  

Since according to the Rambam the mitzvah of hatavah (of which hadlakah is just one detail) must be performed in the morning as well as the evening, why can chinuch of the menorah not be done in the morning as well?

As we discussed once before, the Rambam does not count the construction of the klei hamikdash as separate mitzvos because he assumes they are all details of the larger mitzvah of building a mikdash.  Making a menorah is a kiyum of the mitzvah of making a mikdash.  How do you make a menorah?  The Kozhiglover suggests that a menorah that does not provide light is not a functional menorah.  It's only a lit menorah which fulfills this mitzvah of making a mikdash.  Hadlakas menorah thus accomplishes a dual purpose: 1) it is a kiyum of the mitzvah of hatavah; 2) it is a kiyum of the mitzvah of binyan mikdash.  

The Rambam agrees with the majority view of the Rishonim that lighting the menorah qua the mitzvah of hatavah can be fulfilled only toward evening.  Therefore the chinuch of the menorah can only be done at the this time.  The reason the Rambam writes that the menorah must be lit in the morning is to fulfill the miztvah of lighting qua binyan mikdash, because a menorah that does not illuminate is a lack in the mitzvah of binyan mikdash.


  1. Anonymous11:04 PM

    ...even when the glorious edifice stands firm,
    a congregation that fails to light on any given morning the marvelous menorah, is as if they that day destroyed the beis ha'mikdash!!

  2. great unknown10:47 AM

    So there is a binyan beis hamikdash on Shabbos?

  3. Anonymous3:58 PM

    but maybe we can't pin down the forbidden melacha?
    when accusing the lamp-lighter (a.k.a. The Artful Dodger)
    of binyan mikdash, he can say "no, it was only the kli
    itself, by makeh v'patish, on which I worked"; when
    accusing him of makeh v'patish as to the kli, he can say
    "what on earth do you mean? I was building the overall
    mikdash!" (like 2 individuals who collude to move
    an item from a private domain to a public , one to lift, one to
    set down, only here it's 2 melachot who co-conspire)...

  4. Anonymous3:59 PM

    >>> "Hadlakas hemenorah hi hatavasm," [italicized]

    ha'menorah, or "ha'neiros"?

  5. I saw R' Wahrman in his sefer quotes the Shu"T Binyan Shlomo siman 53 that hadlakas hamenorah in the morning is not doche Shabbos.
    The Binyan Shlomo has his own mehalaich to explain why, but based on the Kozhiglover it makes perfect sense.

    1. great unknown10:53 AM

      Wonderful. Thank you. [Of course, that's missing from the Rambam, and it does say בבקר בבקר ,but יש לפלפל]

  6. Anonymous5:39 PM

    can it be said--since the flame is short-lived--that
    the kindling is only temporary building (or a temporary finish or fix), permitted on Shabbos de'oreita (that the mikdash is comprised of both permanent & impermanent parts, & that the mitzvah to build includes both)?