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Chanukah- A Dignified Menorah

Maran in Shulchan Aruch, siman 673, Halacha 3, says that one shouldn’t use a previously used vessel for the lighting of the Menorah. Specifically, Maran is referring to the actual cup or receptacle that house the oil and wick. Maran’s meaning here is that we shouldn’t reuse the cup over again as is, for the cup is now soiled with soot and grime. The cup is oily and probably blackened at the rim. So Maran is telling us that we must not use such a vessel as it would be disrespectful and inappropriate for the fulfillment of a Mitzvah

Now, most people who light with oil use glass receptacles. And most people who use glass receptacles, buy the ready made set of oil filled glass cups. That is nice, respectful, and fresh. There are others though who like to toil in the fulfillment of the Mitzvah, as they spend the time each day to prepare the cup, oil, and wicks. For them this Halacha teaches that although the glass receptacle may be used from one night to the next, the vessel however must be cleaned and made presentable and dignified for the next night. Certainly one would not serve a soiled glass on his table. Likewise, one should not utilize a soiled receptacle when fulfilling a Mitzvah. Therefore, for those who use the same glass cups each night be sure to clean them out and present them in a dignified manner at the time of lighting.

The question was asked in this regard about reusing wicks. Is it permissible to recycle wicks from one night to the next? Maran discusses this question in the same siman in Halacha 4, and says there is no problem if one wants to recycle wicks. In a previous Daily Halacha entitled “Can We Reuse The Candle Wick Or Do We Need To Use New Wicks Each Night”, we learnt that some argue it is even better to reuse the same wicks from night to night. Others, however, like the opinion of the Ba’al HaTanya (a major treatise of Kabalah and Chassidic philosophy of the early 19th century), say that one should try to use new wicks every night, and not use the same wicks over and over again. One reason cited is Zecher L’Menorah of the Bet HaMikdash. In the Bet HaMikdash, they used new wicks every night, and therefore it is suggested to use new wicks to commemorate the Bet HaMikdash. So there are differing opinions when it comes to recycling wicks. Both sides have what to rely on, and either way is acceptable.

Our point today is to make sure that the Menorah is presentable, clean, nice, and dignified when fulfilling the Mitzvah.

I want to point out that the Kaf Hachayim (Rav Yaakov Chaim Sofer 1870-1939) does say that some have the custom to use golden oil receptacles. He says a person should try his utmost to perform this Mitzvah in the most distinguished manner, meaning one should acquire the most beautiful Menorah according to his means. It is brought down [listen to the audio clip for the exact quote] that one should even use a Menorah of Kesef (silver.) There are many extravagances that are less important that we in today’s society splurge on. When it comes to Mitzvot, certainly one should not have a lower standard. Everyone should try to fulfill the Mitzvot in the most beautiful way possible.

 


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