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Today’s Halacha is In Memory Of
 Yitzhak ben Bahiye a"h

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his son Jeffrey A. Shalom

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Mukse-May a Jew Instruct a Non-Jew To Move A Lit Candle on Shabbat

The Halacha discusses whether it is permitted to instruct a non-Jew to carry a lit candle, such as Shabbat candles or a Hanukah Menorah after the first half hour, into another room for illumination. To be clear, it would be prohibited to tell the non-Jew to light the lights. In this case, he is merely being asked to carry the Mukse candle. The Rema (276:3) permits doing so. The Mishna Berura (Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin, 1839-1933) explains this leniency is because the Jew could also find a permitted way to move the candle himself, e.g. in an indirect fashion. The Mishna Berura does require the non-Jew to exercise caution that moving the candle won’t cause the oil to extinguish the flame. However, according to the accepted ruling that there is no problem to instruct a non-Jew to perform a “Pesik Reshe”-an automatic prohibited outcome, this is not necessary.


After the candles burn out, the candlesticks are still Mukse, as a “Basees L’davar Ha’asur”- a base for a Mukse item. Even though the flame is already extinguished, the candlesticks remain Mukse, since they were already Mukse at Ben HaShmashot-with the advent of Shabbat. Nevertheless, Maran in 279:4 rules that if one makes a “Tenai”-that is, he stipulates at the time of candle lighting that after the flame goes out he intends to move it, the status of Basees would be neutralized, leaving the candlestick a “Keli Shemlachto L’isur”, which may be moved for its place or for a permitted use. Moreover, Rabbi Akiva Eger (1761-1837), in his notes to the Shulhan Aruch cites the opinion of the Tashbes that if the “Tenai” was made, the candlestick become a “Keli Shemalchto L’Heter”-i.e. it is considered designated for permitted use, and may even be moved “MeHama L’sel”-for its own protection. Hacham BenSion (Ner Lesion p. 527) rules that one may rely on this leniency. The Ashkenzaim do not rely on this “Tenai.”


One may instruct a non-Jew to carry a lit candle to illuminate a dark room.

If one made a “Tenai” when lighting candle before Shabbat that he intends to move it after it is extinguished, he may move the candlestick even for its own protection.


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