Friday, November 30, 2007

Lighting on the Table

The Gemora in Shabbos (21b) states that it is a mitzvah to place the menorah for Chanukah at the entrance to one’s house. During the dangerous times, they would light the menorah on the table inside and that would be sufficient.

What would be the halacha nowadays? Can one light the menorah on his table and with that, fulfill his mitzvah? Do we say that since it is not dangerous now, the halacha reverts back to the original ruling that the menorah must be lit facing outside?

The Dvar Yehoshua offers proof from the beginning of Meseches Kesuvos (3b). There it says that during the dangerous times and onward, they would marry on a Tuesday, and the Rabbis did not protest. The Shitah Mekubetzes writes that even after the danger was over, they still married on a Tuesday. This was because there was a concern that it may return to the dangerous times.

Our Gemora states: Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says: From the time of danger (when the idolaters decreed that mitzvos may not be performed) and onwards, a woman may collect her kesuvah without a get, and a creditor may collect without a pruzbul.

The Rambam in Hilchos shemitah (9:24) rules: If a lender claims that he had a pruzbul and he lost it, he is believed, for from the time of danger and onwards, a creditor may collect without a pruzbul.

The Kesef Mishna explains: Although presently, there is no danger, we do not differentiate between two different times. Accordingly, you might be able to apply the same logic regarding lighting the menorah on a table inside the house even when there is no danger.

The Reshash offers the following comment according to the Kesef Mishna: It is for this reason that the Mishna uses the precise terminology of, “and from the time of danger and onwards.” This teaches us that the halacha is applicable even after the danger is no longer here.

Reb Yitzchak Zilberstein writes that accordingly, there would be no proof from this halacha to the lighting of the menorah. There, the Gemora states that during the dangerous times, they would light the menorah on the table inside and that would be sufficient. It does not say, “and from the time of danger and onwards.” Therefore, it can be said that one would not fulfill his mitzvah of lighting the menorah if he lights it on the table.

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