Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ner chanukah: mishtatef b'perutah and ma'os konos

Last week I threw out one Chanukah question.  Time for another:

The Rishonim try to come up with rules to explain when nusach of a bracha is “al…” (like “al biyir chameitz”) and when it is “l…” (like “l’haniach tefillin).  One suggested rule is that when a mitzvah can be done by another person on one’s behalf, the bracha is always is “al…”
The Ran in the first perek of Pesachim challenges this rule that from the case of ner Chanukah.  A ba’al habayis can light on behalf of everyone in his home, including guests.  Even though the guest does nothing – he is yotzei through the ba’al habayos -- the bracha is still “l’hadlik” and not “al hadlakas...”

Ran answers that the case of a guest (achsinai) is different because the guest has to give a perutah in payment to the ba’al habayis if he wants to participate. The guest is being yotzei through his own oil, not through the oil of the ba’al habayis.
It’s seems from the Ran that the mitzvah of ner chanukah is not in doing the ma’aseh hadlakah (how would contributing a perutah help in that regard?), but rather the mitzvah is in having a cheftza shel mitzvah that is lit.  By contributing payment, you have a share in the oil that is burning. 

Be that as it may, how does contributing a perutah help?  The halacha is that a kinyan requires a meshicha to be valid, not just payment.   What kind of kinyan is this?


  1. I do not know the source for this claim, but when I once asked someone this question they told me that since mideoraysa we paskin like r yochanan that מעות קונות, in the case of a mitzvah chazal were not gozer meshicha.

    1. Choshen Mishpat 199:3.

  2. Anonymous8:00 AM

    See Sheeris Yosef 5:37 where Rav Wahrman goes throught the issue kedarko bakodesh


    Also at the very end of the piece, he quotes in the name of the Rav that mishtatef bepruta doesn't buy you a chelek of the oil but makes you one of the bnei habayis. (According to this, the Rav held that a guest has to be mishtatef bipruta, lighting your own menorah in someone else's house doesn't work. Rav Schachter has noted that this was also the opinion of the Galya Masechta, in a letter printed in the collected writings of Rav Abale Pasveller, I think it's called Be'er Avraham.)


    1. The Rav's idea may answer the M.B.'s question on the Rama. The Mechabeir says an achnisanai should light himself only if he has his own pesach and Rama doesn't offer any comment. M.B. asks: acc to Rama the ikar pirsumei nisa is for the bnei bayis, so why do you need a pesach? Maybe the pshat is that the pesach makes it like your own bayis. W/o that, the chiyuv doesn't get off the ground.