web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Can A Non-Kohen Light The Menorah?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

This week’s parshah, Parshas Tetzaveh, briefly begins with the mitzvah of lighting the menorah. It is written in the pasuk that Aharon and his sons should ya’aroch (arrange) the menorah and its light.

By mentioning Aharon and his sons it is implied in the pasuk that the menorah must be lit by a kohen. Additionally, in Parshas Beha’aloscha, it is stated in a pasuk that Hashem specifically commanded Aharon and his sons to light the menorah.

Yet, interestingly, the Rambam writes in Hilchos Beis HaMikdash (9:7) that the menorah may be lit by anyone – including non-kohanim. Therefore, if a kohen prepares the wicks and brings the menorah outside the Kodesh, a non-kohen may light the menorah.

The Rishonim (see the Raavad there, who contends that this is only allowed b’dieved, and Kesef Mishnah there, who cites a Ritva and the Tosafos Yeshanim in Yuma 24b) were bothered by this ruling. They questioned the Rambam from the abovementioned pesukim, which indicate that this could only be performed by a kohen.

Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, zt”l, explains that according to the Rambam the lighting of the menorah was not part of the mitzvah. The mitzvah is that the lights should constantly remain lit. A kohen had to prepare the wicks and the oil, as that was an avodah, but lighting the fire was not an avodah. The pesukim that indicate that a kohen must be ya’aroch the menorah were referring only to the preparation of the candles, not the actual lighting of them. Since the lighting of the candles was not part of the actual avodah, a non-kohen was permitted to light the candles.

Regarding the mitzvah of the menorah, the Chinuch also says that the mitzvah is to have the lights remain lit.

It is written in the sefer, Mikraei Kodesh, by Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank, zt”l, that the Imrei Emes (the Gerer Rebbe) asked Rav Chaim the following question: Since a midrash says that the ner ma’aravi was never extinguished, how did they fulfill the mitzvah of lighting the menorah? They should have extinguished it in order to fulfill the mitzvah by relighting it.

The Imrei Emes suggested that it is written in Maseches Shabbos that adding oil to a lamp is a violation of the melachah of mavir (lighting a fire). The midrash does not say that a miracle similar to that of Chanukah occurred in which the ner ma’aravi replenished its oil supply. So perhaps they added oil to the ner ma’aravi, constituting a havarah. This is not a simple answer, for one could argue that although it is considered a havarah, it is nevertheless not a hadlakah (lighting).

Based on the above explanation, Rav Chaim answered that there is no mitzvah to light the menorah per se. The mitzvah is that the light should remain burning, which it did.

The sefer, Hararei Kedem, asks the following question pertaining to the Rambam’s view: When the Rambam wished to give an example of how a non-kohen could light the menorah, why did he have to say that a kohen took the menorah outside of the Kodesh? Why could the Rambam have not said that a non-kohen happened to be fixing something inside the Kodesh?

It is stated in Hararei Kedem that the Rambam understood that the mitzvah of the menorah in the Beis HaMikdash was not to light the menorah but rather to place down a lit menorah; in other words, hanachah oseh mitzvah. But one need not actually put down the menorah, for merely lighting it in its place served as actually placing the menorah. Thus, if a kohen was to bring the menorah outside of the Kodesh and a non-kohen would light it there, the kohen is performing the hanachah when the kohen brings the menorah back inside the Kodesh.

This hanachah must be performed specifically by a kohen, as that is the mitzvah that the pesukim refer to when they indicate that the mitzvah must be performed by a kohen. However, if a non-kohen were to light the menorah in the Kodesh, that would be the hanachah. Since the hanachah must be performed by a kohen, a non-kohen would not be allowed to light the menorah inside the Kodesh. Hence the Rambam had to describe a scenario whereby the menorah was removed outside of the Kodesh so that a non-kohen could light it.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Can A Non-Kohen Light The Menorah?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Chaye Zisel Braun
Funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun Underway [photos]
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

Rabbi Sacks

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Bible1

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Others suggest that one cannot separate Shabbos from Yom Kippur by accepting Shabbos early.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

They ask, how can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid marrying more than one wife, when the Torah explicitly permits it in this parshah?

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/can-a-non-kohen-light-the-menorah/2014/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: