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Bais HaVaad on the Parsha, Parshas Vayeishev

First Light

Excerpted and adapted from a shiur by Rav Avraham Yeshaya Cohen

December 15, 2022



The Gemara (Shabbos 21b) says to light Chanukah candles mishetishka hachamah.[1] If one did not do so, he may light ad shetichleh regel min hashuk (until there are no more passersby outside).

Tosafos cites the view of the Ri Poras that one should ideally light immediately at the start of the zman, but if he delayed, he may still light ad shetichleh. Tosafos then cites the Ri, who argues that today, when lighting is done inside and only the household sees the candles, one need not light by that time.

The Rama (672:2) rules like the Ri that one may light inside even after ad shetichleh. But he concludes that it is best to be careful to light within the zman even today. Some explain that we should not change Chazal’s time, even if their reason no longer applies. Others suggest that if one waits, his household members may disperse or they may wish to eat a meal, which is forbidden before lighting. The Gra (Ma’asei Rav) takes the extreme position that if one lights after the zman, he may not even make a bracha. Presumably, such a chiddush can only be made if one assumes that the reason for lighting on time is due to the takanas Chazal and is unrelated to the passersby.

Should yeshiva bachurim light at the zman, or should they complete their learning seder? The Me’iri writes that yeshiva students in France, because they lit indoors, finished their learning first. Presumably, the reasons given to light early even inside are overridden by the consideration of talmud Torah. On the other hand, if one holds like the Gra, he may not fulfill the mitzvah properly when lighting after the zman, so he should interrupt his learning to light.

[1] Some maintain that this is shkiah (sunset), others that it is tzeis hakochavim (nightfall).

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