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Hadlakas Neiros 2 – Importance of the Mitzvah (Klal 5 Siman 8) Erev Shabbos – S0129

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D'var Halacha
Hadlakas Neiros 2 - Importance of the Mitzvah (Klal 5 Siman 8) Erev Shabbos - S0129
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We are beginning siman 8, which begins the Chayei Adam’s discussion of hadlakas neiros. We learned that the halacha is one must beg for money if they cannot afford neiros. The Chayei Adam continues, and writes that it is more important to spend money on neiros over wine for kiddush, because they can make kiddush on challah.  Between basic seudas Shabbos, i.e., challah, and neiros, purchasing challah takes precedence. After that, purchasing neiros will take precedence over everything else. The Biur halacha (siman 363) points out that the amount of bread which takes precedence over neiros is not just a kezayis, but rather enough for a person to be satiated and fulfill their chiyuv of seudas Shabbos both at night and by day, plus a kebeiah for shalosh seudos. Once a person has this amount of bread, the rest of the money should be used for neiros rather than more food.   It is a chiddush that the halacha requires a person to beg for money for neiros. Generally, when we have a chiyuv, if we have the money (or other means) for a mitzvah, we are chayav, and if not, we are patur. The source for this is in Pesachim regarding the arba kosos. Over there, the Gemara says that if a person does not have money for arba kosos, they must beg in order to fulfill the mitzvah. The Gemara applies this idea to neiros Chanukah as well, since both are for pirsumei nisa. In Shabbos, the Gemara says that if one only has the option for neiros Shabbos or neiros Chanukah, neiros Shabbos take precedence. If so, if one is obligated to beg to fulfill the mitzvah of neiros Chanukah, it applies to neiros Shabbos as well, since it is more chamur.   It is interesting that when the Rambam brings the halacha about begging for neiros Shabbos, he writes that the reason one must beg is because of oneg Shabbos. When the Gemara discusses this halacha, it says the reason is shalom bayis. The Shulchan Aruch follows the reason of the Rambam, that the reason is oneg Shabbos. One explanation is that the Rambam does not disagree with the Gemara, but holds that successful shalom bayis will bring to oneg Shabbos. On the other hand, there is a Midrash Tanchuma which supports the Rambam. Either way, neiros Shabbos take precedence over neiros Chanukah, which tells us that the mitzvah of shalom bayis or oneg Shabbos is more important than the pirsumei nisa of neiros Chanukah. The Chasam Sofer writes that the mitzvah of pirsumei nisa is deoraysa, yet shalom bayis and oneg Shabbos is more important than pirusumei nisa.    Summary
  • Neiros Shabbos are lit to provide illumination:
  1. To avoid discomfort and protect shalom bayis 
  2. To enhance our oneg Shabbos.
  • The mitzvah applies equally to men and women
  • If one is impoverished, they must beg for money to light candles. However, if they already have electric illumination, they do not need to beg for money in order to buy candles.
    • Purchasing enough challah to be satiated for the first two seudos, plus a kebeiah for shalosh seudos, takes precedence over neiros Shabbos. However, neiros Shabbos takes precedence over anything else, including more food for the seudah and kiddush.
    • Neiros Shabbos take precedence over neiros Chanukah
 

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