web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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
U.S. President Barack Obama
FAA Ban on Flights to Israel ‘Worse than BDS’
Latest Judaism Stories
The Yabok River

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

Lenny1

Will Your brothers go to war, while you sit (in peace) here? (Bamidbar 32:6)

PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

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

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

We need to understand why Moshe Rabbeinu decided to ask that his sons inherit his position after this new halacha was introduced.

If it is not prohibited when there is a purpose for inflicting the tza’ar, why was Bilam chastised for tza’ar ba’alei chaim?

How can we be certain that any animal can be counted toward ma’asar beheimah when perhaps it is a treifah?

This separation between Kohanim, Levi’im and Yisraelim obligates us to honor kohanim.

The pasuk says that since the halacha concerning a Mechallel Shabbos was uncertain, the mekoshesh was placed in custody until the halacha was clarified.

The question still remains on how to reconcile all of the different drashos that are derived from this pasuk.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: