Friday, December 15, 2006

shabbos candles and chanukah candles

I am going to piggy back on R’ Chaim Markowitz’s posting again. He raises the question (link) of whether the time for lighting candles on Erev Shabbos was fixed to be before shkiya, or the time still theoretically stands as after shkiya, but since we have no way to fulfill that option, we light beforehand.

The Rashba writes that Chanukah candles can always be lit early, not just on Erev Shabbos, as long as they burn from after shkiya until the time of “tichleh regel min hashuk”. Rambam disagrees and holds the early lighting on Friday is a choice made for lack of a better option. What is striking is the Rashba’s proof: Shabbos candles must burn into Shabbos, ideally for the Shabbos meal, but the halacha allows them to be lit well before shkiya or the start of Shabbos. So too, claims the Rashba, although Chanukah candles should burn from after shkiya into the night, there should be no reason why they cannot be lit earlier.

According to the Rambam, what is the difference between the mitzvah of lighting Shabbos candles and lighting Chanukah lights?

I’m not going to finish an answer today… something to think about over Shabbos.


  1. Anonymous11:53 AM

    The simple answer is that Ner Shabbos is a din in the totza'ah-I must have light for Shabbos. therefoere, I don't necessarily have to light after a certain time.
    Ner Chanuka is a mitzvah in the hadlakah. I must light by the z'man chiyuv.

    This could laso get into the issue whether the mitzvah of chanuka is the hadlakah or to show persumei nissa (or both).

  2. >>>Ner Shabbos is a din in the totza'ah-I must have light for Shabbos

    This depends on the sugya on daf 25 in Shabbos. If it is just the totza'ah that matters, why do you need a hadlakah at all? Lets say you had a candle already burning on Friday - according to some rishonim, you need to extinguish and relight it l'kavod shabbos. You need a ma'aseh hadlakah - it's not enough to say you are only concerned if there is light.

  3. There is a famous Brisker Rav where he explains that the mitzva of lighting Shabbos candles is davka a mitzva of erev shabbos (I believe he is mechalek between kibud (which is erev shabbos) and oneg which is on shabbos). It is supposed to be done on Friday afternoon as preparation for Shabbos and therefore the Rashba's whole proof is out the window.

    There is a fundamental machlokes the Rashba and the RAmbam what is the nature of the mitzva of Chanuka candles, is it a mitzva of night or night (see What is the nature of the mitzvah of lighting candles on Chanukka? for a longer explanation). This yesod comes into play here as well.

  4. Bluke, didn't realize you had covered this already - I was planning to discuss that Rashba and Rambam, but you beat me to it. Just for the record, I was also planning a post earlier this past week on the Ohr haChaim's take on hashgacha pratis (some time ago I discussed the Chinuch vs. Besh"t on this issue), but you beat me to that as well!
    I have a little bit bl"n to add to what you already said (I assume you saw R' Turtzin's piece, but did you see the shiur written up in Moadei haRav?), but in any event, it is nice to see other jbloggers like yourself writing about these same type issues in halacha and machshava even if it means I have to work a little harder to come up with something new to say : )