Halacha for Sunday 20 Kislev 5781 December 6 2020

Lighting Chanukah Candles With Electric Bulbs

The Poskim in the last few generations have discussed whether or not one may fulfill the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles using electric light bulbs. This question is especially pertinent to those staying at a hotel during Chanukah and are the management does not permitted lighting a fire in one’s hotel room. May one simply fulfill this Mitzvah using a few electric light bulbs?

Let us preface this discussion by quoting the words of the Rashba in his commentary on Masechet Shabbat (21a) where he writes that the reason why it is forbidden to derive benefit from the Chanukah candles (during the first half-hour since it was lit) is because the Chanukah candles commemorate the miracle that occurred with the Menorah in the Bet Hamikdash. Just as benefitting from the lights of the Menorah in the Bet Hamikdash was forbidden, it is likewise forbidden to benefit from the Chanukah candles.

Based on this, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes (Chazon Ovadia- Chanukah, age 93) that it seems that one would not fulfill one’s obligation of this Mitzvah with electric light bulbs since it does not contain oil or a wick and is not reminiscent of the Menorah lighting in the Bet Hamikdash whatsoever. Many other great Acharonim concur. Furthermore, the Rashba’s position is echoed by several Rishonim.

Thus, halachically speaking, although electric light bulbs may be used to fulfill the Mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles, nevertheless, regarding Chanukah candles, one must use candles made out of either oil or wax and a wick.

Thus, Maran zt”l adds that in places such as halls or synagogues where electric Menorahs are lit on Chanukah, no blessing should be recited. Reciting a blessing before turning on these bulbs is a possible blessing in vain. The same applies to the electric Menorahs lit by followers of Chabad on top of cars and in front of synagogues in that although it is a nice way to publicize the miracle of Chanukah, nevertheless, the blessing should not be recited.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Megillah Reading- Coronavirus

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Hearing Parashat Zachor- Coronavirus

“Remember What Amalek Has Done to You” On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Vayikra this year, 577......

Read Halacha

Caution Regarding Chametz Issues

Our Sages (Tosefta Pesachim, Chapter 3) taught: “We inquire about and expound the laws of Pesach from thirty days before Pesach.” Based on this, great rabbis throughout the generations have taken the opportunity to teach the laws of Pesach to the public between Purim and Pesach since eve......

Read Halacha

Silver Vessels

Question: May one continue to use silver vessels or utensils, such as a Kiddush goblet, on Pesach after they have been used throughout the rest of the year? Answer: All vessels used all year round with cold foods or beverages may be used on Pesach after having been thoroughly washed beforehand, f......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach

One may not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since vessels which have been used to cook in or have had hot Chametz placed in them have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Thus, just as we separate between meat and dairy utensils all year long, we must likewise separate between the utensils we use all year......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Blessing of the Trees

The Proper Time for the Blessing of the Trees Our Sages, who have established the Blessing of the Tress, write that the proper time for this blessing is during the month of Nissan, for it is then that trees begin to blossom and buds come forth. It would seem from the words of our Sages though that ......

Read Halacha

Matanot La’Evyonim- Coronavirus

In the previous Halacha we briefly discussed the Mitzvah of “Matanot La’Evyonim” on Purim day which is the distribution of two monetary gifts, one to each pauper. What Must One Give? In order to fulfill this Mitzvah, one need not give actual gifts; rather, it is permissible to ......

Read Halacha

The Blessing of the Trees

One who goes out during the month of Nissan and sees trees starting to blossom recites the blessing: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Shelo Chiser Be’Olamo Kelum U’Vara Vo Beriyot Tovot Ve’Ilanot Tovot Le’hanot Bahem Beneh Adam”. This year (5781......

Read Halacha