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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Megillah vChanukah - Chapter Three, Megillah vChanukah - Chapter Four, Ishut - Chapter One

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Megillah vChanukah - Chapter Three

1

In [the era of] the Second Temple, the Greek kingdom issued decrees against the Jewish people, [attempting to] nullify their faith and refusing to allow them to observe the Torah and its commandments. They extended their hands against their property and their daughters; they entered the Sanctuary, wrought havoc within, and made the sacraments impure.

The Jews suffered great difficulties from them, for they oppressed them greatly until the God of our ancestors had mercy upon them, delivered them from their hand, and saved them. The sons of the Hasmoneans, the High Priests, overcame [them], slew them, and saved the Jews from their hand.

They appointed a king from the priests, and sovereignty returned to Israel for more than 200 years, until the destruction of the Second Temple.

א

בבית שני כשמלכי יון גזרו גזרות על ישראל ובטלו דתם ולא הניחו אותם לעסוק בתורה ובמצות. ופשטו ידם בממונם ובבנותיהם ונכנסו להיכל ופרצו בו פרצות וטמאו הטהרות. וצר להם לישראל מאד מפניהם ולחצום לחץ גדול עד שריחם עליהם אלהי אבותינו והושיעם מידם והצילם וגברו בני חשמונאי הכהנים הגדולים והרגום והושיעו ישראל מידם והעמידו מלך מן הכהנים וחזרה מלכות לישראל יתר על מאתים שנים עד החורבן השני:

In [the era of] the Second Temple - The Chanukah miracle took place in the year 3596 (165 BCE). The Greek persecutions began several years beforehand.

the Greek kingdom - More particularly, the Seleucid kingdom of Syria, whose ruling hierarchy was of Greek origin.

issued decrees against the Jewish people, [attempting to] nullify their faith - Bereshit Rabbah 2:4 relates that the Greeks would have the Jews "write on the horn of an ox that they have no portion in the God of Israel."

and refusing to allow them to observe the Torah and its commandments. - See Megillat Antiochus, which relates that the Greeks prevented the Jews from observing the Sabbath and performing circumcision.

They extended their hands against their property - In this era, the Greek rulers established gentile cities in Eretz Yisrael and deprived the Jewish population of its livelihood.

and their daughters - Rashi, Shabbat 23a, states that before a Jewish virgin was married, she was required to have relations with a Greek officer.

they entered the Sanctuary, wrought havoc within - See Middot 1:6, 2:3 and Shekalim 6:3, which speak of the Greeks breaking open portions of the Soreg, a divider on the Temple Mount, and destroying portions of the wall around the Temple Courtyard.

and made the sacraments impure. - As we find with regard to the oil for the Menorah, the Greeks did not destroy the oil; they made it impure.

Herein, there is a lesson regarding the nature of the conflict between the Greeks and the Jews. The Greeks were not anxious to stamp out Judaism entirely. They were prepared to accept Judaism as one of the cultures of the Mediterranean area, which they would incorporate into an all-encompassing collection of knowledge and values; i.e., the sacraments of Judaism would remain, but they would become impure, tainted by Greek culture.

The Jews suffered great difficulties from them, for they oppressed them greatly until the God of our ancestors had mercy upon them, delivered them from their hand, and saved them. - By calling attention to the Divine origin of the Jews' victory before mentioning the Hasmoneans, the Rambam emphasizes the miraculous and spiritual nature of the miracle.

The sons of the Hasmoneans, the High Priests, overcame [them], slew them, and saved the Jews from their hand. - The valiant struggle of the Hasmoneans who were able to defeat the most powerful armies of the world with guerilla forces is recounted in many sources.

They appointed a king from the priests, and sovereignty returned to Israel for more than 200 years, until the destruction of the Second Temple. - There is a significance to these statements beyond the laws of Chanukah. There are many Rabbinic authorities who are highly critical of the Hasmoneans for assuming the kingship of the Jewish people. (See the Ramban's commentary on the Torah, Parashat Vayichi.) Although in Hilchot Melachim 1:7-8, the Rambam writes that King David's descendants have an eternal right to the monarchy in Jerusalem, his description here of the Hasmoneans as kings does not have the slightest intimation of criticism; if anything, the contrary is true.

Several laws regarding the nature of kingship are derived from the Hasmonean kings and others, even from the kings of Herod's dynasty, who ruled after them.

2

When the Jews overcame their enemies and destroyed them, they entered the Sanctuary; this was on the twenty-fifth of Kislev.1 They could not find any pure oil in the Sanctuary, with the exception of a single cruse. It contained enough oil to burn for merely one day. They lit the arrangement of candles from it for eight days2 until they could crush olives and produce pure oil.3

ב

וכשגברו ישראל על אויביהם ואבדום בכ"ה בחדש כסליו היה ונכנסו להיכל ולא מצאו שמן טהור במקדש אלא פך אחד ולא היה בו להדליק אלא יום אחד בלבד והדליקו ממנו נרות המערכה שמונה ימים עד שכתשו זיתים והוציאו שמן טהור:

3

Accordingly, the Sages of that generation ordained that these eight days, which begin from the twenty-fifth of Kislev, should be commemorated to be days of happiness and praise [of God]. Candles should be lit in the evening at the entrance to the houses on each and every one of these eight nights to publicize and reveal the miracle.

These days are called Chanukah. It is forbidden to eulogize and fast on them, as on the days of Purim. Lighting the candles on these days is a Rabbinic mitzvah, like the reading of the Megillah.

ג

ומפני זה התקינו חכמים שבאותו הדור שיהיו שמונת ימים האלו שתחלתן כ"ה בכסליו ימי שמחה והלל ומדליקין בהן הנרות בערב על פתחי הבתים בכל לילה ולילה משמונת הלילות להראות ולגלות הנס. וימים אלו הן הנקראין חנוכה והן אסורין בהספד ותענית כימי הפורים. והדלקת הנרות בהן מצוה מדברי סופרים כקריאת המגילה:

Accordingly, the Sages of that generation - Shabbat 21b states that the celebration of the holiday was ordained in the year following the miracle.

ordained that these eight days, which begin from the twenty-fifth of Kislev, should be commemorated - There are many who question why the holiday is celebrated for eight days, since the miracle was only for seven (for there was enough oil for the Menorah to burn for a single day). The Rambam's words seem to allude to a resolution of this difficulty. The miraculous lighting of the Menorah began on the twenty-fifth of Kislev and continued for eight days.

[Note, however, the Pri Chadash (Orach Chayim 670:1), who explains that, according to the Rambam, the first day of the celebration was instituted in appreciation of the military victories, while the remaining seven came in recognition of the miracle of the Menorah.]

as days of happiness - an acknowledgement of God's miracles in a material context in appreciation of the military victories.

As the Rambam explains in Hilchot Purim, Chapter 2, "happiness" is associated with feasting. In this context, the Yam shel Shlomo, Bava Kama 7:37, explains that according to the Rambam - in contrast to the rulings of the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 670:2) - the festive meals customarily served on Chanukah can be considered to be feasts associated with a mitzvah.

and praise [of God]. - A spiritual acknowledgement of God in appreciation of the miracle of the Menorah. These two aspects of the celebration of the holiday reflect the different nature of the miracles mentioned in each of the first two halachot (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 10).

Candles should be lit in the evening at the entrance to the houses on each and every one of these eight nights to publicize and reveal the miracle. - Both factors, the kindling of the Chanukah candles at night - when their light could be seen - and their placement at the entrance to the house - where their light will be projected into the street - emphasize the principle of pirsumei nisa, publicizing the Chanukah miracle.

These days are called Chanukah. - According to the Rambam, the choice of this name is somewhat problematic: As mentioned above, there are authorities who associated the name with the expression, חנו כה, "they camped on the twenty-fifth." This certainly does not express the Rambam's view. Megillat Ta'anit associates Chanukah with chanukat hamizbe'ach, the rededication of the altar in the Temple, but there is no mention of this event by the Rambam here.

It is forbidden to eulogize and fast on them, as on the days of Purim. - As mentioned in the commentary on Chapter 2, Halachah 13, the prohibition to eulogize and fast applies only on the days of Chanukah themselves, and not on the preceding or succeeding days.

Significantly, unlike Purim, there is no prohibition against work on Chanukah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 670:1).

Lighting the candles on these days is a Rabbinic mitzvah, like the reading of the Megillah. - This emphasizes the Rambam's perspective that the allusion to the obligation to read the Megillah in the Megillah itself does not change the status of this mitzvah. (See also the commentary on Chapter 1, Halachah 1.)

4

Whoever is obligated to read the Megillah is also obligated to kindle the Chanukah lamp.4 On the first night, a person lighting [the lamp] recites three blessings. They are:

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us5 to light the Chanukah lamp.

"...who wrought miracles for our ancestors...."6

"...who has granted us life, sustained us...."7

When a person who did not recite a blessing [on his own Chanukah lamp] sees a lamp,8 he should recite the latter two blessings.9 On subsequent nights, a person who kindles the lamp should recite two blessings and one who sees a lamp should recite one, for the blessing Shehecheyanu is recited only on the first night.10

ד

כל שחייב בקריאת המגילה חייב בהדלקת נר חנוכה והמדליק אותה בלילה הראשון מברך שלש ברכות ואלו הן. בא"י אמ"ה אקב"ו להדליק נר של חנוכה ושעשה נסים לאבותינו וכו' ושהחיינו וקיימנו וכו'. וכל הרואה אותה ולא בירך מברך שתים. שעשה נסים לאבותינו ושהחיינו. ובשאר הלילות המדליק מברך שתים והרואה מברך אחת שאין מברכין שהחיינו אלא בלילה הראשון:

5

On each and every one of these eight days, the entire Hallel11 is recited.12 Before [its recitation], one should recite the blessing "...who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to complete the Hallel." This applies whether the recitation is individual or communal.13

Even though the reading of the Hallel is a mitzvah ordained by the Sages, one may recite the blessing [stating] "who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us," as one recites a blessing for the reading of the Megillah14 and for the erection of an eruv.15 A blessing should be recited for every definite obligation established by our Sages.16

In contrast, if an obligation was established by the Sages because of a doubt - e.g., tithing d'mai,17 - a blessing is not recited.18 [This principle invites a question:] Why is a blessing recited over the second day of a festival; its observance was ordained only because of doubt?19 [This was ordained] lest it be treated with disdain.20

ה

בכל יום ויום משמונת הימים אלו גומרין את ההלל ומברך לפניו אקב"ו לגמור את ההלל בין יחיד בין צבור. אע"פ שקריאת ההלל מצוה מדברי סופרים מברך עליו אק"ב וצונו כדרך שמברך על המגילה ועל העירוב. שכל ודאי של דבריהם מברכין עליו אבל דבר שהוא מדבריהם ועיקר עשייתן לו מפני הספק כגון מעשר דמאי אין מברכין עליו. ולמה מברכין על יו"ט שני והם לא תקנוהו אלא מפני הספק כדי שלא יזלזלו בו:

6

It is not the recitation of Hallel on Chanukah alone that is a Rabbinic ordinance, but rather, at all times - i.e., on all the days that the complete Hallel is recited, [the obligation to do so] is a Rabbinic ordinance.

There are eighteen days during the year when it is a mitzvah to recite the entire Hallel. They are: the eight days of Sukkot, the eight days of Chanukah, the first day of Pesach, and the holiday of Shavuot. Hallel is not recited on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, since they are days of repentance, awe, and fear, and are not days of extra celebration. The [Sages] did not ordain the recitation of Hallel on Purim, because the reading of the Megillah [serves the purpose of Hallel].

ו

ולא הלל של חנוכה בלבד הוא שמדברי סופרים אלא קריאת ההלל לעולם מדברי סופרים בכל הימים שגומרין בהן את ההלל. ושמנה עשר יום בשנה מצוה לגמור בהן את ההלל ואלו הן. שמנת ימי החג. ושמנת ימי חנוכה. וראשון של פסח ויום עצרת. אבל ראש השנה ויום הכפורים אין בהן הלל לפי שהן ימי תשובה ויראה ופחד לא ימי שמחה יתירה. ולא תקנו הלל בפורים שקריאת המגילה היא ההלל:

It is not the recitation of Hallel on Chanukah alone that is a Rabbinic ordinance - Since Chanukah is a Rabbinic holiday, one might think that the recitation of Hallel on those days is Rabbinic in origin, while the recitation of Hallel on the festivals has its source in the Torah itself. This is not the case.

but rather, at all times - i.e., on all the days that the complete Hallel is recited, [the obligation to do so] is a Rabbinic ordinance. - The Ra'avad notes that the Sages (see Pesachim 95b, Arachin 10b) consider Isaiah 30:29, "This song shall be to you as the night of the sanctification of the festivals" to be a reference to the recitation of Hallel. Because of this association with a Biblical verse, he considers the obligation to recite Hallel as different in status from other Rabbinic commandments. Indeed, the Halachot Gedolot considers this obligation to be one of the 613 mitzvot. This runs contrary to the position the Rambam mentions in Sefer HaMitzvot (General Principle 1), where he states that even those mitzvot ordained by the prophets are considered to be Rabbinic commandments.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the verse in Isaiah reflects a command to recite Hallel in appreciation whenever God redeems us from difficulties. (For this reason, it is customary in certain communities to recite Hallel on the anniversary of a miraculous deliverance.) The custom of reciting Hallel on festivals, however, was established afterwards.

There are eighteen days during the year when it is a mitzvah to recite the entire Hallel - in Eretz Yisrael. There are three more days in the diaspora, as mentioned in the following halachah.

They are: the eight days of Sukkot, the eight days of Chanukah, the first day of Pesach - In contrast to the holiday of Sukkot, when a different musaf sacrifice is offered each day, on Pesach the same musaf sacrifice is offered every day throughout the holiday. Therefore, the entire Hallel is recited on the first day alone (Arachin 10b).

(Note also Megillah 10b, which states in connection to the splitting of the Red Sea, the major miracle associate with the later days of Pesach, "My creations are drowning in the sea and you desire to say Hallel!")

and the holiday of Shavuot. Hallel is not recited on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, since they are days of repentence, awe, and fear, and are not days of extra - Rosh HaShanah is a day of happiness. Thus, Nechemiah 8:10, "Eat sumptuous foods and drink sweet beverages... for the happiness of God is your strength," is interpreted as a reference to Rosh HaShanah. Nevertheless, it is not a day of "extra celebration."

celebration. - Arachin 10b relates:

The ministering angels enquired before the Holy One, blessed be He: "Master of the world: Why do the Jews not recite songs [of praise] before You on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur?"

He told them: "Is it proper that the King should sit on the throne of judgment with the book of life and the book of death open before Him and the Jews should recite songs [of praise]?"

See also the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Rosh HaShanah 4:7).

The [Sages] did not ordain the recitation of Hallel on Purim, because the reading of the Megillah [serves the purpose of Hallel]. - On this basis, the Meiri states that a person who cannot hear the reading of the Megillah should recite Hallel on Purim.

7

In places where the festivals are celebrated for two days, Hallel is recited on 21 days: On the nine days of Sukkot, the eight days of Chanukah, the [first] two days of Pesach, and the two days of Shavuot.21

[In contrast,] the recitation of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is a custom and not a mitzvah.22 It is observed [only] communally. [To emphasize that it is a custom,] passages are skipped when it is read. A blessing should not be recited over [this reading], since a blessing is not recited over a custom.23

A person [praying] alone should not recite [the Hallel] at all [on Rosh Chodesh].24 If, however, he began its recitation, he should complete it, skipping the passages the community would skip as he reads it.

Similarly, on the other days of Pesach, [the Hallel] is read while skipping passages.25

ז

מקומות שעושין יום טוב שני ימים גומרין את ההלל כ"א יום. תשעה ימי החג. ושמנה ימי חנוכה. ושני ימים של פסח. ושני ימים של עצרת. אבל בראשי חדשים קריאת ההלל מנהג ואינו מצוה. ומנהג זה בצבור לפיכך קוראין בדילוג. ואין מברכין עליו שאין מברכין על המנהג ויחיד לא יקרא כלל. ואם התחיל ישלים ויקרא בדילוג כדרך שקוראין הצבור. וכן בשאר ימי הפסח קוראין בדילוג כראשי חדשים:

8

And how should one skip? One recites from the beginning of the Hallel until the phrase chalamish lema'y'no mayim. One then skips and [begins] reciting A-donai z'charanu y'varech, [continuing] until Halleluyah. One then skips and [begins] reciting Mah ashiv lA-donai, [continuing] until Halleluyah. Afterwards, one skips and [begins] reciting Min hametzar karati Yah, [continuing] until the conclusion of the Hallel.

This is the common custom. Others skip [passages] according to a different pattern.

ח

כיצד מדלגין. מתחילין מתחלת ההלל עד חלמיש למעינו מים ומדלג ואומר ה' זכרנו יברך כו' עד הללויה ומדלג ואומר מה אשיב לה' עד הללויה ומדלג ואומר מן המצר קראתי יה עד סוף ההלל. זה הוא המנהג הפשוט. ויש מדלגין דילוג אחר:

And how should one skip - when reciting Hallel on Rosh Chodesh and the latter days of Pesach?

One recites from the beginning of the Hallel - Psalm 113

until the phrase chalamish lema'y'no mayim. - The conclusion of Psalm 114.

One then skips and [begins] reciting A-donai z'charanu y'varech - Psalm 115:12

[continuing] until Halleluyah. - The conclusion of that psalm.

One then skips and [begins] reciting Mah ashiv lA-donai - Psalm 116:12

[continuing] until Halleluyah. - The conclusion of that psalm.

Afterwards, one skips and [begins] reciting Min hametzar karati Yah - Psalm 118:5.

[continuing] until the conclusion of the Hallel. - i.e., the conclusion of that psalm.

This is the common custom. - The Maggid Mishneh mentions that this is the custom which was followed in his community. Rav Kapach notes that there are some communities in Yemen that still follow this custom.

Others skip [passages] according to a different pattern. - Today, the popular custom in both Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities is to follow the pattern mentioned by Rashi, Ta'anit 28b. This resembles the pattern mentioned by the Rambam with one difference. Only the first two portions that the Rambam suggests skipping are skipped. From that point onward, the Hallel is recited until its conclusion. (See also Eliyahu Rabba 422.)

9

It is appropriate to recite Hallel throughout the entire day. A person who reads Hallel in improper sequence does not fulfill his obligation. If a person reads and pauses, reads and pauses, even if he pauses for a time long enough to complete the entire [Hallel], he fulfills his obligation.

On the days when the entire Hallel is recited, one may make an interruption between chapters. Within a [single] chapter, however, one may not make an interruption. On the days when Hallel is read while skipping portions, one may make an interruption even within a chapter.

ט

כל היום כשר לקריאת ההלל. והקורא את ההלל למפרע לא יצא. קרא ושהה וחזר וקרא אע"פ ששהה כדי לגמור את כולו יצא. ימים שגומרין בהן את ההלל יש לו להפסיק בין פרק לפרק אבל באמצע הפרק לא יפסיק. וימים שקוראין בהן בדילוג אפילו באמצע הפרק פוסק:

It is appropriate to recite Hallel throughout the entire day. - Although Hallel is recited directly after the morning service, it is not an integral part of the prayer service and may be recited at other times. See Megillah 20b, which derives an allusion to this concept from the exegesis of Psalms 118:24: "This is the day which God wrought; let us rejoice and exult in it." Our "rejoicing and exultation," the recitation of Hallel, may be carried out throughout the entire day.

A person who reads Hallel in improper sequence does not fulfill his obligation. - Megillah 17a,b equates the reading of Hallel with the reading of the Megillah in this respect. (See Chapter 2, Halachah 1.)

Note the Mishnah Berurah 422:26, which explains that there are authorities who rule that proper sequence is required only within a particular psalm. The order of the psalms themselves, however, may be altered. This view, however, is not accepted by most authorities, and the prevailing practice is to follow their ruling.

See also Hilchot Kri'at Shema 2:11, where the Rambam states that it is not absolutely necessary to read the different passages of the Shema in order. On the other hand, there the Rambam explains his decision, stating that the passages of the Shema are not found in this order in the Torah. In contrast, the psalms of Hallel are recited in the order they are found in the Bible.

If a person reads and pauses, reads and pauses, even if he pauses for a time long enough to complete the entire [Hallel], he fulfills his obligation. - From Rosh HaShanah 34b, we can conclude that the laws that apply to the reading of the Megillah also apply to the reading of Hallel. (See Chapter 2, Halachah 2.)

As mentioned in the commentary on that halachah, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 65:1) rules that should a person be forced to refrain from completing the Shema because the place in which he is located contains filth, he does not fulfill his obligation if he waited the amount of time required to recite the Shema in its entirety. The commentaries question if this law applies with regard to the recitation of Hallel as well. (See Mishnah Berurah 422:25.)

On the days when the entire Hallel is recited, - the recitation of the Hallel has the strength of a Rabbinic commandment. Hence, the laws governing it are more severe.

one may make an interruption between chapters. - Seemingly, the Rambam does not consider the recitation of Hallel analogous to the recitation of the Shema (see Hilchot Kri'at Shema 2:15-16) and appears to allow all interruptions (Maggid Mishneh). The Lechem Mishneh, however, is more restrictive and allows interruptions only when there is a need.

In their analysis of Berachot 14a (the source for this halachah), Rabbenu Asher and other commentaries differ and compare the recitation of Hallel to the recitation of the Shema. Thus, one may greet an honored person between the chapters and may respond to a greeting from anyone at that time. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 488:1) follows this ruling.

Within a [single] chapter, however, one may not make an interruption. - Here, the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.), following the principles mentioned above, states that a person may interrupt his recitation to greet his father or his teacher, or to respond to greetings from an honored person.

On the days when Hallel is read while skipping portions - The Eliyahu Rabba explains that the Rambam's ruling depends on his previous decision that a blessing should not be recited on these days. Making an interruption is significant when a blessing is recited. When a blessing is not recited, what does it matter whether one makes an interruption or not?

Although this explanation may be acceptable according to the Rambam's view, according to the Shulchan Aruch's ruling mentioned below, a different rationale must be applied. (See Be'ur Halachah 422.)

one may make an interruption - as above, any type of interruption

even within a chapter. - The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 422:4) differs and states that while the rules for making interruptions are more lenient on these days, one may not make an interruption for a matter that has no importance whatsoever. One may, however, greet a person one must honor and respond to greetings given by anyone.

10

On all the days when the complete Hallel is recited,26 a blessing should be recited before Hallel.27 In places where it is customary to recite a blessing afterwards, a blessing should be recited [on these days].28

What blessing is recited?

God our Lord, all Your works will praise You, and the righteous and Your pious ones, who carry out Your will, and Your nation, the House of Israel, will joyously praise Your name. For it is good to praise You, O God, and it is is pleasant to sing to Your name. From the [spiritual] worlds to the [physical] world, You are the Almighty. Blessed are You, God, the King who is extolled and praised, who is glorified, living and enduring. May He reign at all times and for eternity.29

י

כל יום שגומרין בו את ההלל מברך לפניו. ומקום שנהגו לברך אחריו מברך. כיצד מברך יהללוך ה' אלהינו כל מעשיך וצדיקים וחסידים עושי רצונך וכל עמך בית ישראל ברנה יודו לשמך כי אתה ה' לך טוב להודות ונעים לשמך לזמר ומעולם ועד עולם אתה האל ברוך אתה ה' המלך המהולל המשובח המפואר חי וקיים תמיד ימלוך לעולם ועד:

11

There are places which follow the custom of repeating30 each verse from od'cha ki anitani (Psalms 118:21) until the conclusion of the Hallel.31 Each verse is read a second time. In places where this repetition is customary, the verses should be repeated. In places where it it is customary not to repeat, they should not be repeated.32

יא

יש מקומות שנהגו לכפול מאודך כי עניתני עד סוף ההלל כופלין כל דבר ודבר שתי פעמים. ומקום שנהגו לכפול יכפול ומקום שנהגו שלא לכפול אין כופלין:

12

This is the custom according to which Hallel was recited in the days of the early Sages:33 After reciting the blessing, an adult34 begins reciting the Hallel and says, Halleluyah. All the people respond Halleluyah.

He then reads, Hallelu avdei A-donai, and all the people respond, Halleluyah.35 He then reads, Hallelu et shem A-donai36 and all the people respond, Halleluyah. He then reads, Yehi shem A-donai mevorach me'atah v'ad olam, and all the people respond, Halleluyah.

Similarly, after every bar [of the Hallel, the people respond Halleluyah]. Thus, they respond Halleluyah 123 times throughout the entire Hallel; a sign to remember this: the years of Aaron's life.37

יב

מנהג קריאת ההלל בימי חכמים הראשונים כך היה. אחר שמברך הגדול שמקרא את ההלל מתחיל ואומר הללויה וכל העם עונין הללויה וחוזר ואומר הללו עבדי ה' וכל העם עונין הללויה וחוזר ואומר הללו את שם ה' וכל העם עונין הללויה וחוזר ואומר יהי שם ה' מבורך מעתה ועד עולם וכל העם עונין הללויה וכן על כל דבר, עד שנמצאו עונין בכל ההלל הללויה מאה ושלש ועשרים פעמים סימן להם שנותיו של אהרן:

13

[It is] also [customary that] when the reader reaches the beginning of each and every chapter, the people repeat the line he recited. What is implied? When he recites the line B'tzeit Yisrael miMitzrayim,38 the people repeat the line B'tzeit Yisrael miMitzrayim.

The reader then recites beit Yaakov me'am lo'ez and all the people respond, Halleluyah. [They continue to respond Halleluyah after each bar] until the reader reads, Ahavti ki yishma A-donai et koli tachanunai,39 to which the people all respond, Ahavti ki yishma A-donai.... Similarly, when the reader reads Hallelu et A-donai kol goyim,40 the people all respond, Hallelu et A-donai kol goyim.

יג

וכן כשהקורא מגיע לראש כל פרק ופרק הן חוזרין ואומרין מה שאמר. כיצד כשהוא אומר בצאת ישראל ממצרים כל העם חוזרין ואומרין בצאת ישראל ממצרים. והקורא אומר בית יעקב מעם לועז וכל העם עונין הללויה עד שיאמר אהבתי כי ישמע ה' את קולי תחנוני וכל העם חוזרין ואומרין אהבתי כי ישמע ה' וכו'. וכן כשיאמר הקורא הללו את ה' כל גוים כל העם חוזרין ואומרין הללו את ה' כל גוים:

14

The reader should read, Anna A-donai hoshi'ah na, and [the people] should repeat Anna A-donai hoshi'ah na, although it is not the beginning of a chapter. He [then] reads Anna A-donai hatzlichah na, and they repeat Anna A-donai hatzlichah na.41 He reads Baruch haba... and they respond Baruch haba....42

If the person reading the Hallel was a minor, a slave, or a woman, [the people] should repeat the entire Hallel after them word by word.43 The above represents the custom followed in the early ages and it is fitting to adhere to it. At present, however, I have seen different customs in all places with regard to the reading of [the Hallel] and the responses of the people, not one of them resembling another.

יד

הקורא אומר אנא ה' הושיעה נא והם עונין אחריו אנא ה' הושיעה נא. אע"פ שאינו ראש פרק. הוא אומר אנא ה' הצליחה נא והם עונים אנא ה' הצליחה נא. הוא אומר ברוך הבא וכל העם אומרים ברוך הבא. ואם היה המקרא את ההלל קטן או עבד או אשה עונה אחריהם מה שהן אומרין מלה מלה בכל ההלל. זהו המנהג הראשון ובו ראוי לילך. אבל בזמנים אלו ראיתי בכל המקומות מנהגות משונות בקריאתו ובעניית העם ואין אחד מהם דומה לאחד

Footnotes
1.

Significantly, the wording of the Rambam appears to indicate that the victory of the Hasmoneans took place on the twenty-fifth of Kislev. Rabbenu Nissim and other authorities explain that the victory took place on the twenty-fourth, and it was on the twenty-fifth that the Jews rested from the war and entered the Sanctuary. Indeed, an allusion to this is found in the very name Chanukah, חנוכה, which is broken up into two words, חנו כה, "they camped on the twenty-fifth."

2.

The commentaries raise the question: Why was the miracle of the cruse of oil necessary? With regard to communal offerings, in which category falls the kindling of the Menorah, we follow the rule that "the requirement for ritual purity is suspended," if it is impossible to bring the offering in purity (Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 4:7-17). Thus, if the cruse of pure oil had burned out, the Jews could have used impure oil. Why did God perform a miracle when there was no absolute necessity?

Among the explanations for this is that God saw the dedication of the Jewish people as evidenced by their search for pure oil, and, in a greater sense, by their entire struggle against the Greeks. This commitment which extended beyond the limits of their intellect evoked a miracle from God that transcended the limits of nature.

3.

This fact also provokes a question: Why did it take so long to produce pure olive oil? Although there is an obligation to use oil of the finest quality for the Menorah (see Hilchot Issurei HaMizbe'ach 6:1, 7-8-10), when there is no other alternative, inferior oil prepared for the Menorah is also acceptable. Seemingly, it would have been possible to produce oil from olives in the Jerusalem vicinity in less than eight days.

4.

I.e., all adult men and women; similarly, there is an obligation upon parents to train their children in the observance of this mitzvah.

Although Chanukah is a mitzvah that is dependent on a specific time, women are obligated, because "they were also included in the miracle." As mentioned in Halachah 1, the Greeks' decrees affected them and they also had a share in the military victory, for the Greek commander was slain by a woman, Yehudit.

5.

Although the mitzvah of kindling Chanukah lights was ordained by the Sages, it is proper to praise God "who commanded us," as explained in Chapter 1, Halachot 1 and 3.

6.

This blessing is also recited in commemoration of the Purim miracles (Chapter 1, Halachah 3).

7.

This blessing is recited whenever one fulfills a mitzvah that is performed only from time to time (Hilchot Berachot 11:9).

8.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 676:3) interprets this as referring to a person who has not lit the Chanukah candles yet, is not intending to light them, and will not have them lit by others in his home. (See Chapter 4, Halachah 11.) Since he will not be fulfilling the mitzvah by himself, he should commemorate the miracle by reciting these blessings on candles lit by others.

Significantly, Rav Kapach's version of the Mishneh Torah does not contain the phrase, "who did not recite a blessing." Based on a responsum of the Rambam, he develops a unique interpretation, explaining that one may recite these blessings several times each night if he did not have the intent to light or see additional Chanukah lamps.

9.

Since he did not kindle the lamp himself, it is improper for him to praise God for the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah.

10.

After the fulfillment of this mitzvah on the first night, it is no longer appropriate to recite this blessing.

11.

Hallel is a selection of celebrant psalms (Psalm 113-118). The Rambam mentions the entire Hallel as a contrast to the partial Hallel recited on Rosh Chodesh and the latter days of Pesach, which is described in Halachah 7.

12.

Significantly, the Rambam describes the laws of Hallel in these halachot instead of in the laws of prayer. This emphasizes that Hallel is an expression of praise for the miracles associated with the holiday, and, as apparent from the following halachah, an expression of holiday joy rather than a requirement of prayer.

13.

With regard to the partial Hallel, there are differences between an individual recitation and a communal recitation, as explained in Halachah 7. No such differences apply with regard to the full Hallel, and there is an obligation incumbent on each individual to recite these psalms with a blessing.

14.

As mentioned in the commentary on the previous halachah, the difficulty is that the blessing implies that the mitzvah was given to us by God, and yet these mitzvot were ordained by the Sages. This difficulty is resolved by explaining that the Torah commands us to adhere to the rulings of the Sages. Therefore, by observing the Sages' command, we are fulfilling God's will. (See Chapter 1, Halachot 1 and 3.)

15.

The term eruv refers to three different practices: the convention established to allow one to carry in a closed courtyard on the Sabbath, the convention established to allow one to cook for the Sabbath on a festival that falls on Friday, and the convention allowing one to extend the limits one is allowed to walk on the Sabbath. (See Hilchot Eruvin.)

One might ask why the Rambam mentions the reading of the Megillah and the eruv, but not the kindling of the Chanukah lights mentioned in the previous halachah. Similarly, one may ask why this issue was not discussed with regard to the recitation of the blessing over the Chanukah lights.

16.

In addition to these four mitzvot, the mitzvot instituted by the Rabbis over which blessings are recited include the washing of hands before prayer and meals, and the lighting of candles before Sabbaths and festivals.

17.

D'mai refers to produce belonging to unlearned individuals whom the Sages suspected of refraining from separating the tithes required by our Sages. They required that the tithes be separated by anyone who acquired such produce. (See Hilchot Ma'aser, Chapter 9.)

18.

The Rambam's statement is based on his interpretation of Shabbat 23a. The Ra'avad offers a different interpretation of the passage, which would require the recitation of a blessing for a Rabbinic mitzvah even if it was ordained only because of a doubt. Nevertheless, the Rambam's view is accepted by most authorities.

19.

See Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh, Chapter 5. Originally, when the calendar was determined according to the testimony of witnesses who saw the new moon, the inhabitants of the far-removed areas were in doubt regarding when the festivals should be observed. Hence, they began to observe two days. This practice was perpetuated even in the present age, despite the fact that we follow a fixed calendar.

20.

The Sages felt that were the blessing not to be recited, the people would not regard these days as festivals.

21.

In order to emphasize that there is no difference between the first day of each holiday and the second, Hallel is recited on both days.

22.

Arachin 10b relates that although Rosh Chodesh is called mo'ed (a festival), since there is no prohibition against performing work, there is no obligation to recite Hallel.

The recitation of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh is also dealt with in Ta'anit 28b. That passage relates:

Rav arrived in Babylon. He saw that they recited Hallel on Rosh Chodesh and thought of stopping them. When, however, he saw that they skipped portions, he [allowed them to continue,] saying, "They are perpetuating a custom practiced by their ancestors."

Rav studied in Eretz Yisrael at the time of the composition of the Mishnah and returned to Babylon shortly thereafter. We can thus conclude from this passage that at that time, it was not customary in Eretz Yisrael to read Hallel on Rosh Chodesh, and that it was not until the center of Rabbinic authority shifted to Babylon that this custom became uniformly accepted throughout the Jewish people.

23.

The Rambam is reiterating a principle he stated in Hilchot Berachot 11:16, based on Sukkah 44b, which states that a blessing is not recited over the striking of the willows on Hoshana Rabbah, because it is a custom.

Some authorities object, however, explaining that the custom of striking the willows differs from the recitation of the Hallel. In the latter instance, since the Hallel is a lengthy prayer - in contrast to the performance of a simple action - it is proper to recite a blessing (Tosafot, Ta'anit 28b). Others differentiate between the communal recitation (see the following note) of the Hallel, where a blessing is required, and the recitation of these psalms by an individual, when it is not (Rabbenu Yonah, Maggid Mishneh).

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 422:2) quotes Rabbenu Yonah's view and that of the Rambam, stating that it is customary in Eretz Yisrael to follow the Rambam's ruling. In his gloss, the Ramah quotes Tosafot's view, stating that this is the Ashkenazic custom.

24.

Ta'anit 28b states:

There are eighteen days each year when an individual recites Hallel.... [With regard to Rosh Chodesh,] an individual does not begin. If he begins, he should complete it.

The halachic authorities differ in their interpretation of this passage: The Rambam interprets "does not" as "should not" - i.e., these prayers should be recited only communally and not by an individual. The Ashkenazim (Rashi and Tosafot) interpret "does not" as "need not" - i.e., the custom is an obligation on the community, which may be accepted by an individual if he desires.

In this instance, the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) does not accept the Rambam's ruling, and states that a person praying alone should recite the Hallel.

25.

Although most halachic authorities equate the latter days of Pesach with Rosh Chodesh totally, the Ramban differs and explains that there is a binding obligation on every individual to recite Hallel throughout the Pesach holiday. Nevertheless, he agrees that passages should be skipped in its recitation.

26.

There is a difference of opinion regarding the conclusion of this blessing. Many authorities state that on the days when the entire Hallel is recited, the blessing should conclude ligmor et haHallel, "to conclude the Hallel." It is, however, Ashkenazic custom to conclude the blessing likro et haHallel at all times, even when the entire Hallel is recited (Ramah, Orach Chayim 488:1).

27.

The Rambam's statement emphasizes the contrast between these days when a blessing is recited and the days when the Hallel is recited with skipped passages. On those days, no blessing is recited according to the Rambam, as stated in Halachah 7.

28.

The Rambam mentions that the matter is dependent on custom, quoting Sukkah 3:11. In the present day, however, it is a universally accepted custom to recite this blessing.

29.

There are slight differences between the text of the blessing quoted by the Rambam and that recited in Ashkenazic communities today. Rav Kapach also mentions slight differences between the authoritative Yemenite manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah and the popularly printed text.

30.

According to our present custom, this means that both the chazan and the congregation recite these verses twice. Rav Kapach interprets this as meaning that the verses are repeated by the congregation after the reader.

31.

Rashi (Sukkah 38a) explains the rationale for the custom of repeating these verses as follows: The previous verses are repetitive in nature - e.g., "It is better to rely on God than to trust in men; It is better to rely on God than to trust in nobles"; or "The right hand of God performs deeds of valor, the right hand of God is exalted." In contrast, each of the verses from od'cha onward is an independent concept that is not repeated.

32.

In the era of the Shulchan Aruch, it appears that there were still variant customs in different communities. (See Orach Chayim 422:3.) Our present custom is to repeat these verses.

33.

The Rambam's rulings in this and the following halachot are based on Sukkah 38b, 39a.

34.

In contrast to a minor, as mentioned in Halachah 14.

35.

With regard to the practice of the people responding Halleluyah after each bar, Rashi (Sukkah 38b) cites Sotah 30b's description of the manner in which the Jews responded to Moses' recitation of the song of celebration after crossing the Red Sea.

36.

I.e., each verse of the Hallel contains at least two bars. The reader reads each bar out loud, and the people respond after him Halleluyah. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 422:3) mentions that there are communities that follow these practices. In the present age, these customs are no longer followed in all Ashkenazic and most Sephardic communities.

37.

See the Jerusalem Talmud, Shabbat 16:1 and Soferim, Chapter 16.

38.

This is the beginning of Psalm 114. The custom mentioned in this halachah is not followed in most communities at present.

39.

This is the beginning of Psalm 115. Significantly, the Rambam does not mention Lo lanu, the beginning of Psalm 116 according to our present reckoning.

Rav Kapach explains the Rambam's ruling based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Shabbat 16:1) which states that there are 147 chapters in the book of Psalms. According to the custom he cites, our Psalms 115 and 116 are a single chapter. There are, however, commentaries that maintain that the omission of Lo lanu is merely a printing error.

40.

This is the beginning of Psalm 117. There is a difference of opinion among the authorities if the congregation should repeat the verse Hodu... which begins Psalm 118.

41.

The Rambam is stating that these two phrases should be repeated by the congregation after the reader. This custom is followed at present as well, except that it is customary for both the reader and the congregation to repeat each phrase twice.

42.

Our translation follows the standard published text of the Mishneh Torah. Based on manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah, some authorities amend the text so that it reads: "He reads Baruch haba... and they respond beshem A-donai."

At present, it is customary to recite this and the following verses a second time, but not to do so in response to the reader.

43.

When the Hallel is recited in the manner described by the Rambam, the entire congregation does not recite the entire Hallel themselves. They nevertheless fulfill their obligation, based on the principle that "one who listens is considered as if he recited [the prayers] himself" (see Hilchot Berachot 1:11).

This principle does not apply, however, when the person reciting the prayer is not obligated to do so. Hence, since all the individuals mentioned by the Rambam (quoting Sukkah 3:10) are not obligated to say Hallel, an adult male cannot fulfill his obligation by listening to their recitation. By repeating the Hallel word for word, he does fulfill his obligation, since in this manner he recites the entire Hallel.

The Mishnah (loc. cit.) states that a person who must have one of the above read for him is worthy of a curse. The intent is that he should learn how to read himself.

Megillah vChanukah - Chapter Four

1

How many candles should one light on Chanukah? The mitzvah is that a single candle should be lit in each and every house, regardless of whether there are many members of the household, or merely one person [lives] there.

A person who performs the mitzvah in a beautiful and conscientious manner should light candles for every member of the household, whether male or female.

A person who is even more conscientious in his performance of the mitzvah than this and observes the mitzvah in the most desirable manner should light candles for every member of his household, a candle for each individual, whether male or female, on the first night. On each subsequent night, he should add a candle [for each of the members of the household].

א

כמה נרות הוא מדליק בחנוכה. מצותה שיהיה כל בית ובית מדליק נר אחד בין שהיו אנשי הבית מרובין בין שלא היה בו אלא אדם אחד. והמהדר את המצוה מדליק נרות כמנין אנשי הבית נר לכל אחד ואחד בין אנשים בין נשים. והמהדר יותר על זה ועושה מצוה מן המובחר מדליק נר לכל אחד בלילה הראשון ומוסיף והולך בכל לילה ולילה נר אחד:

How many candles should one light on Chanukah? The - minimal requirement to fulfill the

mitzvah is that a single candle should be lit - on each night of the holiday

in each and every house - Significantly, the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles is connected with an individual's home as well as with his person. Therefore, as mentioned in Halachah 11, a person who is a guest at the home of others need not share in the lighting of the candles if he knows that candles are being lit in his own home.

regardless of whether there are many members of the household, or merely one person [lives] there. - Shabbat 21b states: "The mitzvah of Chanukah requires a candle for a man and his household."

A person who performs the mitzvah in a beautiful and conscientious manner should light candles for every member of the household - Shabbat 21a.

From the Rambam's statements, it appears that the additional light is kindled by the master of of the household and not by each of the members of the household themselves. Even according to this interpretation, however, the custom of each child lighting Chanukah lights is valuable as an expression of chinuch, training them in the observance of the mitzvot.

whether male or female. - As stated in Chapter 3, Halachah 4, women are obligated to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles. Nevertheless, separate candles should not be lit for one's wife (Mishnah Berurah 671:9). Similarly, in some communities, even when candles are lit for every member of the household, they are not lit for girls under the age of Bat Mitzvah.

A person who is even more conscientious in his performance of the mitzvah than this and observes the mitzvah in the most desirable manner - Shabbat (loc. cit.) describes such a person as mehadrin min hamehadrin.

should light candles for every member of his household, a candle for each individual, whether male or female, on the first night. - i.e., these people also fulfill the practice of the mehadrin. See Tosafot (Shabbat, ibid.), who differ. See also the commentary on Halachah 3. In addition,

On each subsequent night, he should add a candle [for each of the members of the household]. - e.g., on the second night, he lights two candles for each of the members of the household, as explained in the following halachah.

"IR1100Shabbat (ibid.) mentions a difference of opinion between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai. The School of Shammai maintains that eight candles should be lit on the first night, seven on the second, etc. The School of Hillel, in contrast, maintains that "one should increase in holy matters and not decrease," and one therefore begins with one candle and adds a new candle every night.

2

What does the above imply? When there are ten members of a household, on the first night one lights ten candles, on the second night - twenty, on the third night - thirty, until on the eighth night, one lights eighty candles.

ב

כיצד הרי שהיו אנשי הבית עשרה. בלילה הראשון מדליק עשרה נרות ובליל שני עשרים ובליל שלישי שלשים עד שנמצא מדליק בליל שמיני שמונים נרות:

3

It is common custom in all of our cities in Spain that a single candle is lit for all the members of the household on the first night. We proceed to add a new candle on each and every night, until on the eighth night eight candles are lit. [This practice is followed] regardless of whether there are many members of the household or only one man [is lighting candles].1

ג

מנהג פשוט בכל ערינו בספרד שיהיו כל אנשי הבית מדליקין נר אחד בלילה הראשון ומוסיפין והולכין נר בכל לילה עד שנמצא מדליק בליל שמיני שמנה נרות בין שהיו אנשי הבית מרובים בין שהיה אדם אחד:

4

When a candleholder has two openings, it can be counted for two individuals.

[The following rules apply when] one fills a bowl with oil and surrounds it with wicks: If one covers it with a utensil, each of the wicks is considered to be a separate candle. If one does not cover it with a utensil, it is considered to be a large fire, and is not counted even as a single candle.

ד

נר שיש לו שתי פיות עולה לשני בני אדם. מלא קערה שמן והקיפה פתילות. אם כפה עליה כלי כל פתילה ופתילה נחשבת כנר אחד. לא כפה עליה כלי נעשית כמדורה ואפילו כנר אחד אינה נחשבת:

When a candleholder has two openings - and a wick is kindled in both of them

it can be counted for two individuals. - Although both wicks use the same oil, since they protrude from separate portions of the candelabrum, they are considered to be separate lights.

This law is applicable to the mehadrin (see Halachah 1), who light a candle for each individual (Rashi, Shabbat 23b). Alternatively, this law is relevant for two people whose doorways are adjacent to each other or when two people live in the same house, but do not share in their household expenses (Maggid Mishneh).

The Magen Avraham 671:2 states that according to the Ashkenazic custom, in which each person lights his own candles, two people should not light candles using the same candleholder even on the first night. A passerby might see the two lights and instead of thinking they were lit by two different people, he might err and think that one person lit both candles because it is the second night of the holiday.

Since the purpose of lighting candles is pirsumei nisa, publicizing the Chanukah miracle, the impression created in an onlooker's mind is significant. Therefore, two people should not light candles in this manner.

[The following rules apply when] one fills a bowl with oil and surrounds it with wicks: If one covers it with a utensil - The flames from each of the lights will not merge together. Therefore,

each of the wicks is considered to be a separate candle - and is thus significant according to our custom of adding candles each night.

If one does not cover it with a utensil - The flames from each of the lights may merge together as a single flame. Therefore,

it is considered to be a large fire, and is not counted even as a single candle. - A large fire may be used for several purposes and hence does not necessarily serve as a sign of the commemoration of the Chanukah miracle.

In light of this halachah, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 671:4) discusses the use of a circular candelabrum. The Mishnah Berurah 671:18 mentions that in such a candelabrum, each candleholder should be at least one fingerbreadth from the other.

5

The Chanukah candles should not be kindled before sunset. Instead, [they should be kindled] at sunset. One should not light later or earlier.

Should one forget, or even if one purposely did not light at sunset, one may light afterwards until there are no longer any passersby in the marketplace.

How long a duration of time is this? Approximately half an hour or slightly more than that. Should this time pass, one should not kindle the lights.

One should place enough oil in the lamp so that it will continue burning until there are no longer any passersby in the marketplace. If one lit it and it became extinguished, one need not light it a second time. If it remained burning until there are no longer passersby in the marketplace, one may extinguish it or remove it if one desires.

ה

אין מדליקין נרות חנוכה קודם שתשקע החמה אלא עם שקיעתה לא מאחרין ולא מקדימין. שכח או הזיד ולא הדליק עם שקיעת החמה מדליק והולך עד שתכלה רגל מן השוק. וכמה הוא זמן זה כמו חצי שעה או יתר. עבר זמן זה אינו מדליק. וצריך שיתן שמן בנר כדי שתהיה דולקת והולכת עד שתכלה רגל מן השוק. הדליקה וכבתה אינו זקוק להדליקה פעם אחרת. נשארה דולקת אחר שכלתה רגל מן השוק אם רצה לכבותה או לסלקה עושה:

The Chanukah candles should not be kindled before sunset. - Most commentaries interpret the Rambam's intent as the time when the sun disappears from the horizon. The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 672:1) interpret "sunset" in this context as referring to the time when there is no sunlight visible - i.e., the appearance of three stars. Many of the later authorities, however, accept the Rambam's ruling. (See the Be'ur Halachah 672.)

The candles should not be lit before sunset, since their purpose is to publicize the Chanukah miracles. During the daytime, no one will notice them and this purpose will not be served.

Instead, [they should be kindled] at sunset. - This is the ideal time to kindle them. Since the sun has already set, the candle's light will be noticed. On the other hand, since there is still some light outside, it is obvious that the candles are being lit for the purpose of publicizing the Chanukah miracle and not for one's individual needs.

One should not light later - At night, it is customary to kindle lights. Therefore, if a person lights the candles at this time, an onlooker may err and think that he is lighting for his own needs and not for the sake of the mitzvah. Nevertheless, on Saturday night, when there is no alternative, we light the candles after the appearance of the stars.

or earlier - The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 672:1) cites an opinion which states that from plag haminchah (an hour and a quarter before nightfall) onward, a person who is busy and will not have an opportunity later may kindle the Chanukah lights. He must, however, place enough oil within them for them to continue burning for half an hour after nightfall.

On Friday night, we all rely on this opinion and kindle the Chanukah lights shortly before sunset. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 679).

Should one forget, or even if one purposely did not light at sunset - although the most appropriate time for fulfilling the mitzvah has passed

one may light afterwards until there are no longer any passersby in the marketplace. - Once the passersby no longer walk in the street, one will not be publicizing the Chanukah miracle by lighting candles.

How long a duration of time is this? Approximately half an hour or slightly more than that. - Thus, according to the Rambam, after half an hour past sunset, kindling the candles no longer fulfills a mitzvah. The Ramah (Orach Chayim 672:2) states that in the present age, since it is customary to light inside one's house (see Halachah 8 and commentary), the essential element of publicizing the Chanukah miracle is to involve one's own family in the candle lighting. Therefore, one fulfills the mitzvah as long as the members of one's household are awake.

The Ramah, nevertheless, counsels that at the outset, one should try to adhere to the stricter view. In light of these statements, the common practice of lighting the Chanukah candles well after nightfall should be examined. Is it correct to refrain willfully from fulfilling the mitzvah in the most desirable manner, and perhaps, according to the Rambam, not to fulfill it at all?

Should this time pass, one should not kindle the lights. - This appears to indicate that, according to the Rambam, it is undesirable to light the candles afterwards. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 672:2), however, quotes the opinion of the Tur, which states that if one did not light the candles at the proper time, one should light them throughout the night. (There is, however, a question about the recitation of a blessing.)

One should place enough oil in the lamp - When one lights the candles, they should have the amount of oil mentioned. It is improper to light with a smaller amount of oil and add more afterwards. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 675:2.)

so that it will continue burning until there are no longer any passersby in the marketplace. - At present, in deference to the opinion that states that the time for candle lighting begins after nightfall, even when a person kindles Chanukah candles at sunset, enough oil should be placed in the candelabrum for the candles to burn until half an hour after nightfall.

If one lit it and it became extinguished, one need not light it a second time. - The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 673:2) prefaces this law by stating the principle, "kindling fulfills the mitzvah." Although the Chanukah candles should burn for half an hour, one fulfills the mitzvah only when lighting them. Thus, one must light them in a manner that - barring any unexpected events - they will be able to burn for a half an hour - e.g., they must have a sufficient amount of oil to burn for that period and they must not be placed where they could be extinguished by the wind. Once a person has taken these precautions, however, he has no further obligation.

Note, however, the Mishnah Berurah 673:27, which states that it is proper to relight the candles so that they will burn for the desired time.

If it remained burning until there are no longer passersby in the marketplace - there is no longer any purpose in having the candles burning. Thus the mitzvah is concluded and therefore

one may extinguish it or remove it - While the candles are burning, however, they should not be moved. See also Halachah 9 and commentary.

if one desires. - Kinat Eliyahu notes that at the present time, it is customary for people to walk or travel at night after nightfall. For this reason, perhaps the Chanukah candles should be left burning for longer than a half an hour. For as long as they are burning, the intent of pirsumei nisa, publicizing the Chanukah miracle, is fulfilled.

6

All oils and all wicks are acceptable for use in the Chanukah lamps, even those oils that are not drawn after the wick and even those wicks that do not hold the light well. Even on the Sabbath nights of Chanukah, it is permitted to light with oils and wicks that are forbidden to be used for the Sabbath lights.

[The reason for this leniency is that] it is forbidden to use the Chanukah candles [for one's own purposes] whether on the Sabbath or on a weekday. It is even forbidden to use their light to inspect or count coins.

ו

כל השמנים וכל הפתילות כשרות לנר חנוכה ואף על פי שאין השמנים נמשכים אחר הפתילה ואין האור נתלית יפה באותן הפתילות. ואפילו בלילי שבת שבתוך ימי חנוכה מותר להדליק השמנים והפתילות שאסור להדליק בהן נר שבת, לפי שאסור להשתמש לנר חנוכה בין בשבת בין בחול ואפילו לבדוק מעות או למנותן לאורה אסור:

All oils and all wicks are acceptable for use in the Chanukah lamps - This is a contrast to the Sabbath laws. As explained in Chapter 2 of the tractate of Shabbat and Chapter 5 of the Rambam's Hilchot Shabbat, there are certain oils and wicks that are unacceptable for use for the Sabbath candles.

even those oils that are not drawn after the wick - This is the primary reason one is not allowed to use these oils on the Sabbath. Since they are not drawn after the wick, their light does not burn brightly. A person might inadvertently tilt the lamp for the light to shine brighter, and thus transgress the Sabbath laws. There is no reason for caution in this regard on Chanukah, as explained below. Hence, there is no difficulty in using such oil.

Although all oils are acceptable for the Chanukah candles, the Rabbis have suggested using olive oil, for this was the oil used to light the Menorah in the Temple (Ramah, Orach Chayim 673:1, Mishnah Berurah 673:4). If olive oil is not available, one should use beeswax candles.

and even those wicks that do not hold the light well. - Here also, these wicks were forbidden for use for the Sabbath candles lest one tilt the light.

Although all wicks are acceptable, it is customary to use wicks of flax or of cotton (Mishnah Berurah 673:2).

Even on the Sabbath nights of Chanukah, it is permitted to light - the Chanukah lights

with oils and wicks that are forbidden to be used for the Sabbath lights. - Needless to say, the prohibition against using these candles for the Sabbath lights still remains in effect.

[The reason for this leniency is that] - In addition to the reason cited by the Rambam in this halachah, Shabbat 21b mentions the principle stated in the previous halachah: If a Chanukah candle is extinguished, there is no obligation to light it again.

Thus, the reason these wicks and oils may be used on the Sabbath of Chanukah can be explained as follows: We are not worried about the candles being extinguished, because even in that eventuality, there is no obligation to relight the candles. Nor are we worried that one will tilt the Chanukah candles so that their light will shine brighter, because:

it is forbidden to use the Chanukah candles [for one's own purposes] - During the week, this prohibition applies only during the first half hour that the candles are burning. Afterwards, their mitzvah is completed, as stated in the previous halachah.

whether on the Sabbath or on a weekday. - The Sabbath candles were instituted to bring about sh'lom bayit, "peace in the home," through the use of their light. In contrast, the Chanukah candles were instituted for pirsumei nisa, publicizing the Chanukah miracle. To emphasize this purpose, the Sages forbade using them for any other purpose.

Furthermore, the Chanukah candles were instituted to commemorate the miracle of the Menorah in the Temple. Thus, just as it is forbidden to use the Menorah's light for any worldly purpose, so too, the light of the Chanukah candles is prohibited (Mishnah Berurah 673:8).

It is even forbidden to use their light to inspect or count coins. - Shabbat 22a relates that this prohibition was instituted so that the mitzvot would be viewed with respect. If a person were able to use the light of the Chanukah lamp for his own purposes, he would treat the mitzvah with little regard.

In this halachah, the Rambam is describing a situation when the Chanukah candles are lit outside the home (where it is unlikely that the light of the candles will be used for mundane purposes). In Halachah 8, he mentions the lighting of candles within the home (and it is likely that work will be carried out within the home at that time). Therefore, it is in that halachah that he mentions the custom of lighting another candle (the shamash) next to the Chanukah candles, so that if a person carries out an activity near the candles, he will be using the light of that additional candle.

See also the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.), which questions whether it is permissible to use the Chanukah candles for a holy purpose - e.g., to study Torah by their light.

7

It is a mitzvah to place the Chanukah lamp at the outside of the entrance to one's home, within the handbreadth that is closest to the doorway on the left side as one enters the home, so that the mezuzah will be on the right side and the Chanukah lamp on the left side.

When a person lives in a second storey apartment, he should place [the Chanukah lamp] in a window close to the public domain. If [a person] places a Chanukah lamp more than twenty cubits [above the ground], his actions are of no consequence, because [the lamp] does not attract attention [at that height].

ז

נר חנוכה מצוה להניחו על פתח ביתו מבחוץ בטפח הסמוך לפתח על שמאל הנכנס לבית כדי שתהיה מזוזה בימין ונר חנוכה משמאל. ואם היה דר בעליה מניחו בחלון הסמוכה לרשות הרבים. ונר חנוכה שהניחו למעלה מעשרים אמה לא עשה כלום לפי שאינו ניכר:

It is a mitzvah to place - As is obvious from Halachah 9, the Chanukah lamp should be placed outside before being lit.

"IR1200the Chanukah lamp at the outside of the entrance to one's home - As mentioned previously, the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles was instituted for the purpose of pirsumei nisa, publicizing the Chanukah miracle. Therefore, the candles should be placed at the outside of one's dwelling to attract the attention of the passersby in the public domain (Rashi, Shabbat 21b).

In a spiritual sense, this points to the potential possessed by the Chanukah candles to spread light beyond the normal limits of holiness. Generally, mitzvot are performed within a home or synagogue. In this instance, the nature of the mitzvah is to spread light to the public domain, to illuminate the darkness of the world at large.

"IX within the handbreadth that is closest to the doorway - If the candelabrum were placed any further away, it would not be obvious that the owner of the home placed it there for the purpose of kindling Chanukah lights (ibid.).

on the left side as one enters the home - Generally, mitzvot are associated with the right side; the left side, by contrast, is identified with the forces of evil. Lighting the Chanukah candle on the left indicates a potential to refine and elevate the forces opposed to holiness (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. V).

so that the mezuzah will be on the right side - as is required (see Hilchot Mezuzah 6:12)

and the Chanukah lamp on the left side. - so that the person kindling them will be surrounded by mitzvot.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 671:7) states that if there is no mezuzah in the doorway, the Chanukah candles should be lit on the right side.

When a person lives in a second storey apartment - The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.:5) qualifies this to mean a second storey apartment that does not have a private entrance to the public domain or a courtyard. If the apartment has such an entrance, the Chanukah lamp should be lit at that entrance.

he should place [the Chanukah lamp] in a window close to the public domain. - For the sake of pirsumei nisa.

If [a person] places a Chanukah lamp more than twenty cubits - a cubit is between 18 and 24 inches, according to the varying Rabbinic opinions. Thus the Rambam is speaking about a height between thirty and forty feet.

[above the ground], his actions are of no consequence - i.e., he is not considered to have fulfilled the mitzvah

because [the lamp] does not attract attention [at that height]. - We see a similar concept with regard to the s'chach of a sukkah and the korah of an alleyway. If they are placed above twenty cubits, they are not acceptable (Hilchot Sukkah 4:11; Hilchot Shabbat 17:15).

Although the Rambam does not address himself to this issue, the Maggid Mishneh and similarly, the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.:6), state that the Chanukah lights should be placed between three and ten handbreadths high.

8

In a time of danger, a person may place a Chanukah lamp inside his house; even if he lit it on his table, it is sufficient.

[Therefore,] another lamp must be burning in the house to provide light for one's [mundane] activities. If a fire is burning in the house, an additional candle is not necessary. For a prestigious person who does not normally use the light of a fire, an additional candle is required.

ח

בימי הסכנה מניח אדם נר חנוכה בתוך ביתו מבפנים ואפילו הניחו על שולחנו דיו. וצריך להיות בתוך הבית נר אחר להשתמש לאורו ואם היתה שם מדורה אינו צריך נר אחר. ואם אדם חשוב הוא שאין דרכו להשתמש למדורה צריך נר אחר:

In a time of danger, a person may place a Chanukah lamp inside his house - Shabbat 21b mentions this leniency. According to Tosafot, the danger refers to the persecutions of the Jews of Babylon by the ruling Persians for lighting candles mentioned in Shabbat 45a. Needless to say, there have been countless other periods of persecution in Jewish history.

It is, however, significant that even in times when there was no obvious danger, the custom has been to light the Chanukah candles inside our homes. Even in the present day, when there is little danger of persecution in most places where Jews are located, it is not customary to light the Chanukah candles at the entrance to the home in most communities.

even if he lit it on his table, it is sufficient. - i.e., there is no necessity to light near a doorway. The Ramah (Orach Chayim 671:7) states that it is preferable that the Chanukah lights be positioned near a doorway.

[Therefore,] another lamp must be burning in the house to provide light for one's [mundane] activities. - As mentioned in Halachah 6, it is forbidden to use the light of the Chanukah lamp for a mundane purpose. Since it is very likely that there will be some activity carried out in the house while the candles are burning, an additional light should be kindled. Note the Mishnah Berurah 673:14, which explains that the present custom is to kindle an additional light near the Chanukah candles, besides the light that is ordinarily burning in the room.

This light, called the shamash, should be placed apart from the Chanukah candles so that it can be distinguished from them (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 673:1). Often, many commercially produced Chanukah lamps fail to make a sufficient distinction between this candle and the Chanukah lights themselves.

If a fire is burning in the house - One can use the light it produces for one's mundane activities; therefore

an additional candle is not necessary. For a prestigious person who does not normally use the light of a fire, an additional candle is required - to serve the purpose of the shamash.

9

A Chanukah lamp that was kindled by a deaf-mute, a mentally incapable person, a minor, or a gentile is of no consequence. It must be kindled by a person who is obligated to light it.

Should the [Chanukah lamp] be kindled inside and then taken and placed at the entrance of one's home while it is still burning, it is of no consequence. One must light it in its place.

If one held a candle and stood in one place, it is of no consequence, since an observer will say, "He is standing there for his own purposes."

When a lamp was burning through the entire [Sabbath] day, one may extinguish the light, recite the blessings [for the mitzvah], and relight the lamp. Kindling the lamp fulfills the mitzvah and not placing it down.

It is permissible to light one Chanukah candle from another Chanukah candle.

ט

נר חנוכה שהדליקו חרש שוטה וקטן או עכו"ם לא עשה כלום עד שידליקנו מי שהוא חייב בהדלקה. הדליקו מבפנים והוציאו דלוק והניחו על פתח ביתו לא עשה כלום עד שידליקנו במקומו. אחז הנר בידו ועמד לא עשה כלום שהרואה אומר לצרכו הוא עומד. עששית שהיתה דולקת כל היום כולו למוצאי שבת מכבה ומברך ומדליקה שההדלקה היא המצוה ולא ההנחה. ומותר להדליק נר חנוכה מנר חנוכה:

A Chanukah lamp that was kindled by a deaf-mute, a mentally incapable person, a minor, or a gentile is of no consequence. - i.e., it does not constitute fulfillment of the mitzvah. All these four individuals are not obligated to fulfill mitzvot. Therefore, their kindling of the Chanukah lamp cannot fulfill the obligation instituted by our Sages.

Rabbenu Nissim mentions that a minor who is of the age when he is obligated to be trained in the fulfillment of the commandments may kindle the Chanukah lamps on behalf of the household. This opinion is not, however, accepted by other authorities, although they do mention that a child should be trained in the observance of the mitzvah of Chanukah candles as part of his process of education (chinuch).

Although the Rambam does not mention the latter concept explicitly, nevertheless, it is expected that he would agree. (See Hilchot Nachalot 11:10.)

It must be kindled by a person who is obligated to light it. - This and the laws that follow depend on the principle that "Kindling the lamp fulfills the mitzvah and not placing it down" (Shabbat 23a). Since the mitzvah is fulfilled when the Chanukah lamp is being lit, the person lighting the lamp must be obligated in the mitzvah.

Should the [Chanukah lamp] be kindled inside and then taken and placed at the entrance of one's home while it is still burning, it is of no consequence. - Shabbat 22b explains that even those opinions that do not accept the principle, "Kindling the lamp fulfills the mitzvah and not placing it down," would accept this law, because it would appear that one is carrying the lamp as a torch and using it to light the way.

One must light it in its place. - Furthermore, as an extension of this law, it is proper not to move the Chanukah candles at all for the half an hour that they are required to burn (Mishnah Berurah 675:6).

If one held a candle and stood in one place - The Turei Zahav 675:3 states that this restriction applies only when one holds the Chanukah lamp for the full half an hour that it is required to burn. If, however, one held it while lighting it and placed it down, one is considered to have fulfilled the mitzvah.

The Mishnah Berurah 675:7, however, quotes other opinions, which do not accept this principle, and states that one should light the candles when the candelabrum is positioned in its place.

it is of no consequence - i.e., one does not fulfill the mitzvah. This law differs from the others stated in this halachah, which depend on the principle, "Kindling the lamp fulfills the mitzvah and not placing it down." Indeed, Shabbat 22b cites this law in an attempt to refute this principle. Nevertheless, although the above-mentioned principle is accepted, this law is still valid. Thus, it can be assumed that the Rambam mentions this law in this halachah only because it is mentioned in this context in the Talmud.

since - another factor is involved

an observer will say, "He is standing there for his own purposes."

When a lamp was burning through the entire [Sabbath] day, one may extinguish the light - To fulfill the mitzvah for the present night, one must extinguish the light. The word "may" is used only because there is no obligation to kindle one's Chanukah lights in this manner.

recite the blessings [for the mitzvah], and relight the lamp. - Although an onlooker would not necessarily appreciate that this lamp was kindled for the purpose of pirsumei nisa, one is considered to have fulfilled the mitzvah. The rationale for this decision - and most of the other laws mentioned in this halachah - is the following principle:

Kindling the lamp fulfills the mitzvah and not placing it down. - Shabbat 23a derives this principle from the blessing we recite before lighting the candles, which mentions the commandment "to kindle the Chanukah lights."

There are two dimensions to every mitzvah: the performance of the deed itself (the po'al) - in this instance, the deed of kindling the Chanukah lights - and the effect of that performance (the nif'al), the fact that these lights are burning. This principle emphasizes that it is the kindling of the lights which is the focus of the mitzvah.

This is significant, for one might think that since the purpose of the mitzvah is pirsumei nisa, communicating the Chanukah miracles, what is most important is the fact that the lights are burning; how they are lit is of no consequence. This principle shows, however, that for pirsumei nisa to take place, the Chanukah lights must be kindled as prescribed by our Sages (Kinat Eliyahu).

It is permissible to light one Chanukah candle - The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 674:2) cites an opinion that states that this also applies to other candles that are lit for the purpose of a mitzvah - e.g., the Sabbath candles.

from another Chanukah candle. - Chanukah candles may not be used for any mundane purpose, for doing so is an act of disrespect for the mitzvah. Shabbat 22a states that using them to light another Chanukah candle is acceptable, however, since this is obviously not an act of disrespect.

The Rambam states this law in the present halachah, which deals with the principle, "Kindling the lamp fulfills the mitzvah and not placing it down," because Shabbat 22b associates the two. Since "kindling the lamp fulfills the mitzvah," the act of lighting the lamp is the essence of the mitzvah, and, therefore, using another Chanukah candle is not considered an act of disrespect. If, however, placing the Chanukah candles down constituted the mitzvah, the kindling of another candle would not be a direct fulfillment of a mitzvah. Therefore, it would not be proper to use another Chanukah lamp for that purpose (see Rashi, Shabbat, loc. cit.).

[Note, however, Tosafot (Shabbat 23a) and the Ramah (Orach Chayim 674:1), which state that it is customary not to light one Chanukah candles from another.]

Among the questions also discussed with regard to this law is whether one must light the second candle from the first, or if it is acceptable if one lights a match from the first candle and uses it to light the second candle. To state the matter in terms of a question relevant to us: If the shamash is extinguished and one intends to use it to light other candles, may it be relit from a Chanukah candle which is already burning or not? Both opinions are mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 674:1). According to the later authorities, it is definitely desirable to light only a candle to be used for a mitzvah itself from the Chanukah lights.

10

When a courtyard has two entrances from two different directions, it requires two [Chanukah] lamps. [Were one to light at only one entrance,] the passersby from the other direction might say, "A Chanukah light had not been placed down." If, however, [two entrances to a courtyard] are located on the same side, [it is sufficient] to light at only one of them.

י

חצר שיש לה שני פתחים בשתי רוחות צריכה שתי נרות. שמא יאמרו העוברים ברוח זו לא הניח נר חנוכה. אבל אם היו ברוח אחת מדליק באחד מהן:

When a courtyard has two entrances from two different directions - Rashi, Shabbat 23a, clarifies that the entrances need not be on opposite sides, as long as they are different - e.g, north and east

it requires two [Chanukah] lamps. - The Ramah (Orach Chayim 671:8 states that only one blessing should be recited, for the second candle is not being lit to fulfill the mitzvah per se.

[Were one to light at only one entrance,] the passersby from the other direction might say, "A Chanukah light had not been placed down." - At present, however, when it is customary to light inside one's home, it is sufficient even for a person with such a courtyard to kindle a single Chanukah lamp (Ramah, loc. cit.).

If, however, [two entrances to a courtyard] - and it is obvious they are from a single home (Ramah, loc. cit.).

are located on the same side, [it is sufficient] to light at only one of them. - For there is no possibility of such a mistake being made.

11

A guest [at another person's home, whose family] kindles [the Chanukah lights] for him at his home need not kindle [Chanukah lights] in the home where he is [temporarily] lodging. If, however, he has no home in which [Chanukah lights] are being kindled, he is required to light in the place where he is lodging. He should share in the oil [used by the owner of his lodgings].

If he is staying in a private dwelling, he is required to light in the place where he is staying, even though [Chanukah lights] are being kindled for him at home, because [of the impression created in the minds] of the passersby.

יא

אורח שמדליקין עליו בתוך ביתו אינו צריך להדליק עליו במקום שנתארח בו. אין לו בית להדליק עליו בו צריך להדליק במקום שנתארח בו. ומשתתף עמהן בשמן ואם היה לו בית בפני עצמו אע"פ שמדליקין עליו בתוך ביתו צריך להדליק בבית שהוא בו מפני העוברין:

A guest - i.e., a person who is not a permanent member of the household, even though he eats at the family table (Mishnah Berurah 677:4).

Shabbat 23a, the source for this halachah, concerns itself with yeshivah students. Rabbi Zeira states, "When we were students at the academy, I contributed pennies to my host's candles. After I took a wife, I said, 'This is not necessary.' The same laws, however, apply to other guests.

[at another person's home, whose family] kindles [the Chanukah lights] for him at his home need not kindle [Chanukah lights] in the home where he is [temporarily] lodging. - This halachah clarifies the expression used by the Rambam at the beginning of this chapter, "The mitzvah is that a... candle should be lit in each and every house."

This implies that the obligation of kindling Chanukah lights is associated with an individual's dwelling, as well as with his person. I.e., although as stated in Chapter 3, Halachah 4, the obligation to kindle Chanukah lamps is incumbent on each person, the mitzvah is that every Jewish dwelling should be illuminated. Therefore, if Chanukah lamps are being kindled in one's dwelling, one has no further obligation regarding the mitzvah even though one does not see those Chanukah lamps oneself.

The rationale for this decision is that the Chanukah candles were instituted for the purpose of pirsumei nisa. Thus, what is important is that the light of the Chanukah lamps is perceived by others.

Note the Ramah's decision (Orach Chayim 677:3) that if a person desires, he may light the Chanukah lamps in the place where he is staying. This is common practice in the Ashkenazic community at present.

The Ramah states that such a person may also recite the blessings. This ruling is not accepted by many other authorities, who suggest that he hear the blessings recited by another person (Mishnah Berurah 677:16).

If, however, he has no home in which [Chanukah lights] are being kindled - The Turei Zahav 677:1 states that a person must be certain that his wife is lighting the candles at home. If the possibility exists that she will not do so, one should kindle Chanukah lights and recite a blessing.

he is required to light in the place where he is lodging. - He need not, however, kindle his own Chanukah lamp.

He should share - He is not required to pay the cost of half the oil. It is sufficient for him to give a few pennies towards its cost (Shabbat, loc. cit.; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 677:1).

in the oil [used by the owner of his lodgings]. - Similarly, two people sharing the same home who provide for their needs separately may share a single Chanukah lamp in this fashion (Be'ur Halachah 677).

If he is staying in a private dwelling - more specifically, if the dwelling where he is staying has a private entrance (Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.)

he is required to light in the place where he is staying - This applies even when he eats together with another family and merely sleeps in his private dwelling.

even though [Chanukah lights] are being kindled for him at home - and thus, he would ordinarily have no obligation to kindle these lights

because [of the impression created in the minds] of the passersby. - As mentioned in the previous halachah, were passersby to see a Jewish house without the Chanukah lights having been kindled, the very opposite of pirsumei nisa will have been accomplished.

12

The mitzvah of kindling Chanukah lamps is very dear. A person should be very careful in its observance to publicize the miracle and thus increase our praise of God and our expression of thanks for the miracles which He wrought on our behalf. Even if a person has no resources for food except [what he receives] from charity, he should pawn or sell his garments and purchase oil and lamps to kindle them [in fulfillment of the mitzvah].2

יב

מצות נר חנוכה מצוה חביבה היא עד מאד וצריך אדם להזהר בה כדי להודיע הנס ולהוסיף בשבח האל והודיה לו על הנסים שעשה לנו. אפילו אין לו מה יאכל אלא מן הצדקה שואל או מוכר כסותו ולוקח שמן ונרות ומדליק:

13

When a person has only a single prutah and he [is required to fulfill both the mitzvot of] sanctifying the [Sabbath] day and lighting the Chanukah lamp, he should give precedence to purchasing oil to kindle the Chanukah lamp over [purchasing] wine to recite kiddush. Since both [of these mitzvot] are Rabbinic in origin, it is preferable to give precedence to the kindling of the Chanukah lamp, for it commemorates the miracle.

יג

הרי שאין לו אלא פרוטה אחת ולפניו קידוש היום והדלקת נר חנוכה מקדים לקנות שמן להדליק נר חנוכה על היין לקידוש היום הואיל ושניהם מדברי סופרים מוטב להקדים נר חנוכה שיש בו זכרון הנס:

When a person has only a single prutah - A prutah is worth .05 gram of silver, approximately 5-10 cents in today's currency. It is a significant commentary on the inflation in food costs to note that either a cup of wine or a measure of oil could be purchased for that amount.

and he [is required to fulfill both the mitzvot of] sanctifying the [Sabbath] day - reciting kiddush

and lighting the Chanukah lamp, he should give precedence to purchasing oil to kindle the Chanukah lamp over [purchasing] wine to recite kiddush. - In this instance, he should recite kiddush over bread, as stated in Hilchot Shabbat 29:9. If a person has the choice between purchasing bread for his Sabbath meal or oil for his Chanukah lamp, the bread is given priority (Mishnah Berurah 678:4).

Since both [of these mitzvot] are Rabbinic in origin - There is a Biblical commandment to "Remember the Sabbath to sanctify it" (Exodus 20:8). This commandment, however, involves merely making a statement of the day's holiness; the concept of associating the kiddush with wine is Rabbinic in origin (Hilchot Shabbat 29:1,6).

it is preferable to give precedence to the kindling of the Chanukah lamp, for it commemorates the miracle - fulfilling the purpose of pirsumei nisa.

14

If [a person has the opportunity to fulfill only one of two mitzvot,] lighting a lamp for one's home [i.e., Sabbath candles] or lighting a Chanukah lamp - or, alternatively, lighting a lamp for one's home or reciting kiddush - the lamp for one's home receives priority, since it generates peace within the home.

[Peace is of primary importance, as reflected by the mitzvah requiring] God's name to be blotted out to create peace between a husband and his wife. Peace is great, for the entire Torah was given to bring about peace within the world, as [Proverbs 3:17] states: "Its ways are pleasant ways and all its paths are peace."

Blessed be the Merciful One who grants assistance. This concludes the third book.3

יד

היה לפניו נר ביתו ונר חנוכה או נר ביתו וקדוש היום נר ביתו קודם משום שלום ביתו שהרי השם נמחק לעשות שלום בין איש לאשתו. גדול השלום שכל התורה ניתנה לעשות שלום בעולם שנאמר דרכיה דרכי נעם וכל נתיבותיה שלום

If [a person has the opportunity to fulfill only one of two mitzvot,] lighting a lamp for one's home [i.e., Sabbath candles] - Perhaps the Rambam uses the expression "lighting a lamp for one's home," rather than the expression "the Sabbath lamp" to emphasize that the focus is on how the Sabbath lamp leads to peace in the home.

or lighting a Chanukah lamp - or, alternatively, lighting a lamp for one's home or reciting kiddush - It is questionable why the Rambam mentions the latter law in Hilchot Chanukah when both the mitzvot concerned relate to the Sabbath. Although Shabbat 23b, the source for this halachah, refers to the two items mentioned in this halachah together, there is no necessity for the Rambam to do so. On the contrary, the Rambam structured the Mishneh Torah subject by subject. Seemingly, it would have been proper for him to mention this law in Hilchot Shabbat. [Indeed, the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 263:3) mention this law in connection with the laws of the Sabbath as well.]

By structuring his text in this manner, however, the Rambam indicates that the priority of kindling Sabbath candles stems not from a particular law associated with the Sabbath, but rather from a general principle - the importance of peace - which relates to the entire Torah as a whole (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XV).

the lamp for one's home receives priority, since it generates peace within the home. - Shabbat 23b associates the Sabbath candles with peace, explaining that they prevent the members of the household from stumbling over obstacles, and also allow them to avoid the discomfort of sitting in darkness.

Significantly, in Hilchot Shabbat 5:1, the Rambam mentions that the Sabbath candles contribute to the atmosphere of oneg Shabbat, Sabbath pleasure. Similarly, in Hilchot Shabbat 30:5, he mentions them as being associated with activities carried out in honor of the Sabbath (k'vod Shabbat). In the laws of the Sabbath itself, the Rambam does not mention the connection between the Sabbath candles and peace within the home.

This relates to the concept mentioned previously, that the peace generated by the Sabbath candles relates to the Torah as a whole and not to the Sabbath in particular (Likkutei Sichot, loc. cit.).

[Peace is of primary importance, as reflected by the mitzvah requiring] God's name to be blotted out - As mentioned in Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah, Chapter 6, blotting out God's name is a severe matter and constitutes a Torah prohibition. Nevertheless, this prohibition is waived

to create peace between a husband and his wife. - The Rambam is referring to the process of testing a sotah, a woman suspected of committing adultery. A curse against her containing God's name is written on a scroll. The text is rubbed out in water, and the water is given to the woman to drink. If she indeed committed adultery, she will die. (See Numbers 5:11-31; Hilchot Sotah 3:8-10.)

Peace is great, for the entire Torah was given - The Rambam's choice of wording is extremely precise. The Torah does not exist for the world. On the contrary, Shabbat 88b relates that the Torah existed even before the world came into being. I.e., the Torah represents spiritual truths that transcend our material existence. Nevertheless, the Torah "was given," drawn down into the context of our material frame of reference for a purpose,

to bring about peace within the world, as [Proverbs 3:17] states: "Its ways are pleasant ways and all its paths are peace." - This concept shares an intrinsic connection to Chanukah (and is therefore chosen as the conclusion for Hilchot Chanukah), because the Chanukah candles are intended for the purpose of pirsumei nisa. They project the light of Torah into the world at large and make the world conscious of its Godly purpose. The spreading of the awareness of Godliness is associated with peace, as reflected by the Rambam's statements at the conclusion of the Mishneh Torah:

In that era (the Era of the Redemption), there will be... neither envy nor competition.... The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know God.... "For the world will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the ocean bed."

May we merit the coming of that era in the immediate future.

Footnotes
1.

The Lechem Mishneh questions the custom mentioned by the Rambam. Since the Rambam maintains that the mehadrin min hamehadrin also observe the practice of the mehadrin, this custom seems inappropriate. It is not the custom of the mehadrin min hamehadrin, nor is it the minimum requirement of the law.

The Lechem Mishneh justifies the custom, explaining that since each night additional light is added, there is a positive intent even though it does not follow the practice of the mehadrin min hamehadrin.

"IX The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 671:2) quotes the custom cited by the Rambam as halachah. The Ramah adds that in Ashkenazic communities the custom is to fulfill the mitzvah in the manner of mehadrin min hamehadrin - i.e., each member of the household lights candles, and each night an additional candle is added. It is significant that with regard to this mitzvah in particular, it is common custom throughout the Ashkenazic community, for everyone - even those who are not fully observant - to fulfill this mitzvah in "the most desirable manner."

2.

Although the Rambam's ruling is accepted by all authorities, the commentaries question the Rambam's source. The Maggid Mishneh explains that since in Hilchot Chametz UMatzah 7:7 (based on Pesachim 10:1), the Rambam states that even a person who derives his income from charity should not drink less than four cups of wine on Pesach, we can conclude that the same concept applies with regard to Chanukah. Indeed, as explained in the following halachah, kindling Chanukah candles receives priority over the recitation of Kiddush.

The concept of selling or pawning one's clothes to perform a mitzvah is mentioned in Megillah 27b with regard to the mitzvah of Kiddush.

3.

The standard printed text of the Mishneh Torah also contains the line "And this concludes the first part [of the work]." We have omitted this line, for nowhere else is a division of the Mishneh Torah into parts mentioned.

Ishut - Chapter One

In the name of the Lord, the God of the world.
The instruction of a wise man is a spring of life, to turn away from the snares of death.

The fourth book which is The Book of Women

It contains five sets of Halachot and this is their order:

The Laws of marriage
The Laws of Divorce
The Laws of Yibbum and Chalitzah
The Laws of Naarah Betulah
The Laws of Sotah

Introduction to Hilchos Ishut

1) To marry a woman, granting her the rights of the formal marriage contract (ketubah) and sanctifying the relationship through the rites of kiddushin;
2) Not to have relations with a woman unless she has been granted a marriage contract, and the relationship sanctified through the rites of kiddushin;
3) Not to deny her food, clothing and marital relations;
4) To be fruitful and multiply.

These mitzvot are explained in the chapters [that follow].

בְּשֵׁם יי אֵל עוֹלָם (בראשית כא לג)
תּוֹרַת חָכָם מְקוֹר חַיִּים, לָסוּר מִמֹּקְשֵׁי מָוֶת (משלי יג יד)

ספר רביעי והוא ספר נשים

הלכותיו חמש, וזה הוא סידורן:

הלכות אישות
הלכות גירושין
הלכות יבום וחליצה
הלכות נערה בתולה
הלכות סוטה

הלכות אישות - הקדמה

יש בכללן ארבע מצות. שתי מצות עשה. ושתי מצות לא תעשה. וזה הוא פרטן:

א) לישא אשה בכתובה וקידושין.
ב) שלא תבעל אשה בלא כתובה ובלא קידושין.
ג) שלא ימנע שאר כסות ועונה:
ד) לפרות ולרבות ממנה:

וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

Before the Torah was given, when a man would meet a woman in the marketplace and he and she decided to marry, he would bring her home, conduct relations in private and thus make her his wife. Once the Torah was given, the Jews were commanded that when a man desires to marry a woman, he must acquire her as a wife in the presence of witnesses. [Only] after this, does she become his wife. This is [alluded to in Deuteronomy 22:13]: "When a man takes a wife and has relations with her...."

א

קודם מתן תורה היה אדם פוגע אשה בשוק אם רצה הוא והיא לישא אותה מכניסה לתוך ביתו ובועלה בינו לבין עצמו ותהיה לו לאשה. כיון שנתנה תורה נצטוו ישראל שאם ירצה האיש לישא אשה יקנה אותה תחלה בפני עדים ואח"כ תהיה לו לאשה שנאמר כי יקח איש אשה ובא אליה:

2

This process of acquisition fulfills [one of] the Torah's positive commandments.1 The process of acquiring a wife is formalized in three ways: through [the transfer of] money, through [the transfer of a] formal document and through sexual relations.

[The effectiveness of] sexual relations and [the transfer of a] formal document have their origin in the Torah [itself], while [the effectiveness of transfer of] money is Rabbinic in origin.2

This process of acquisition is universally referred to as erusin ("betrothal") or kiddushin ("consecration"). And a woman who is acquired in any of these three ways is referred to as mekudeshet or me'ureset.

ב

וליקוחין אלו מצות עשה של תורה הם. ובאחד משלשה דברים אלו האשה נקנית. בכסף. או בשטר. או בביאה. בביאה ובשטר מהתורה. ובכסף מדברי סופרים. וליקוחין אלו הן הנקראין קידושין או אירוסין בכ"מ. ואשה שנקנית באחד מג' דברים אלו היא הנקראת מקודשת או מאורסת:

3

Once this process of acquisition has been formalized and a woman has become mekudeshet, she is considered to be married even though the marriage bond has not been consummated and she has not entered her husband's home. Should anyone other than her husband engage in sexual relations with her, he is liable to be executed by the court. If her husband desires to divorce her, he must compose a get [a formal bill of divorce].

ג

וכיון שנקנית האשה ונעשית מקודשת אע"פ שלא נבעלה ולא נכנסה לבית בעלה הרי היא אשת איש והבא עליה חוץ מבעלה חייב מיתת ב"ד ואם רצה לגרש צריכה גט:

4

Before the Torah was given, when a man would meet a woman in the marketplace, and he and she desired, he could give her payment, engage in relations with her wherever they desired, and then depart. Such a woman is referred to as a harlot.3

When the Torah was given, [relations with] a harlot became forbidden, as [Deuteronomy 23:18] states: "There shall not be a harlot among the children of Israel."4 Therefore, a person who has relations with a woman for the sake of lust, without kiddushin, receives lashes as prescribed by the Torah, because he had relations with a harlot.

ד

קודם מתן תורה היה אדם פוגע אשה בשוק אם רצה הוא והיא נותן לה שכרה ובועל אותה על אם הדרך והולך. וזו היא הנקראת קדשה. משנתנה התורה נאסרה הקדשה שנאמר לא תהיה קדשה מבנות ישראל. לפיכך כל הבועל אשה לשם זנות בלא קידושין לוקה מן התורה לפי שבעל קדשה:

5

Whenever it is forbidden to engage in relations from the Torah, and engaging in relations makes one liable for karet - i.e., the [forbidden relationships] mentioned in Parashat Acharei Mot, such as a person's mother, his sister, his daughter and the like - these relations are called arayot, and each particular forbidden relationship is called an ervah.5

ה

כל שאסר ביאתו בתורה וחייב על ביאתו כרת והם האמורות בפרשת אחרי מות הן הנקראות עריות וכל אחת מהן נקראת ערוה כגון אם ואחות ובת וכיוצא בהן:

6

There are other women with whom relations are forbidden according to the Oral Tradition; these prohibitions are Rabbinic in origin. These women are called shniyot (prohibitions of a secondary nature). There are twenty such women, including:

a) one's maternal grandmother; this prohibition continues upward without interruption: a person's maternal grandmother's maternal grandmother - and also those further removed - are also forbidden;

b) the mother of a person's maternal grandfather; this prohibition applies to her alone [and not her forbears];

c) a person's paternal grandmother; this prohibition continues upward without interruption: a person's paternal grandmother's maternal grandmother - and also those further removed - are also forbidden;

d) the mother of his paternal grandfather; this prohibition applies to her alone [and not her forbears];

e) the wife of his paternal grandfather; this prohibition continues upward without interruption; the wife of our Patriarch Jacob is forbidden to any one of us;

f) the wife of his maternal grandfather; this prohibition applies to her alone;

g) the wife of his father's maternal brother;

h) the wife of his mother's brother, whether a paternal or a maternal brother;

i) his son's daughter-in-law; this prohibition continues downward without interruption; any one of our wives is forbidden to our Patriarch Jacob;

j) the daughter-in-law of one's daughter; this prohibition applies to her alone;

k) the daughter of one's son's daughter; this prohibition applies to her alone;

l) the daughter of one's son's son; this prohibition applies to her alone;

m) the daughter of one's daughter's daughter; this prohibition applies to her alone;

n) the daughter of one's daughter's son; this prohibition applies to her alone;

o) the daughter of the son of one's wife's son; this prohibition applies to her alone;

p) the daughter of the daughter of one's wife's daughter; this prohibition applies to her alone;

q) the maternal grandmother of one's wife's father; this prohibition applies to her alone;

r) the paternal grandmother of one's wife's mother; this prohibition applies to her alone;

s) the maternal grandmother of one's wife's mother; this prohibition applies to her alone;

t) the paternal grandmother of one's wife's father; this prohibition applies to her alone.

Thus, the categories of shniyot that continue without interruption are four: one's maternal grandmother - this continues upward without interruption; one's paternal grandmother - this continues upward without interruption; the wife of one's paternal grandfather - this continues upward without interruption; and the wife of one's son's son - this continues downward without interruption.

ו

ויש נשים אחרות שהן אסורות מפי הקבלה ואיסורן מדברי סופרים והן הנקראות שניות מפני שהן שניות לעריות וכל אחת מהן נקראת שנייה. ועשרים נשים הן ואלו הן: א) אם אמו וזו אין לה הפסק אלא אפילו אם אם אם אמו עד מעלה מעלה אסורה: ב) אם אבי אמו בלבד: ג) אם אביו וזו אין לה הפסק אלא אפילו אם אם אם אביו עד למעלה אסורה: ד) אם אבי אביו בלבד: ה) אשת אבי אביו וזו אין לה הפסק אפילו אשת יעקב אבינו אסורה על אחד ממנו: ו) אשת אבי אמו בלבד: ז) אשת אחי האב מן האם: ח) אשת אחי האם בין מן האם בין מן האב: ט) כלת בנו וזו אין לה הפסק אפילו כלת בן בן בן בנו עד סוף כל העולם אסורה עד שתהיה אשת אחד ממנו שנייה על יעקב אבינו: י) כלת בתו בלבד: יא) בת בת בנו בלבד: יב) בת בן בנו בלבד: יג) בת בת בתו בלבד: יד) בת בן בתו בלבד: טו) בת בן בן אשתו בלבד: טז) בת בת בת אשתו בלבד: יז) אם אם אבי אשתו בלבד: יח) אם אב אם אשתו בלבד: יט) אם אם אם אשתו בלבד: כ) אם אב אבי אשתו בלבד. נמצאו השניות שאין להן הפסק ד'. אם האם עד למעלה. ואם האב עד למעלה. ואשת אבי האב עד למעלה. ואשת בן בנו עד למטה:

7

All relations with women that are forbidden by the Torah, but that are not punishable by karet, are referred to as issurei lavin (prohibitions forbidden by negative commandments); they are also referred to as issurei kedushah (prohibitions [that encourage] holiness).

They are nine: relations between a widow and a High Priest;6 those between a divorcee, a zonah,7 or a chalalah8 and either a High Priest or an ordinary priest,9 those between a bastard10 and a native-born Jewish male or female, those between a native-born Jewish woman and a Moabite or Ammonite convert,11 those between a man and his divorcee after she has been married to another person,12 those between a native-born Jewish woman and a man with crushed testicles or a cut member,13 and those between a yevamah and a man other than [one of her deceased husband's brothers] while she is still obligated to them.14

According to Rabbinic decree, an equation is established between a divorcee and a woman who undergoes chalitzah, and the latter is also forbidden [to engage in relations] with a priest. The Rabbis also placed netinim in the same status as bastards. In Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah, we will explain who the netinim are.15

ז

כל שאסר ביאתו בתורה ולא חייב עליו כרת הן הנקראים איסורי לאוין. ועוד נקראין איסורי קדושה ותשעה הן. ואלו הן. אלמנה לכהן גדול. גרושה או זונה או חללה בין לכהן גדול בין לכהן הדיוט. וממזרת לבן ישראל. ובת ישראל לממזר. ובת ישראל לעמוני ומואבי. ובת ישראל לפצוע דכא. וכרות שפכה. וגרושתו אחר שנשאת לאחר. ויבמה שנשאת לזר ועדיין רשות היבם עליה. החלוצה הרי היא כגרושה והיא אסורה לכהן מדברי סופרים. והנתינים הרי הם כממזרים אחד זכרים ואחד נקבות ואיסורם מדברי סופרים. ובהלכות איסורי ביאה יתבאר לך מה הם הנתינים:

8

There are certain relationships for which there is a prohibition resulting from a positive commandment [issurei aseh], but they are not prohibited by a negative commandment. There are three such prohibitions: the first and second generations of Egyptian or Edomite converts, both men and women [to all native-born Jews and Jewish women], and a woman who is not a virgin to a High Priest.

In these instances, there are no verses that state "He shall not enter [the congregation of God]..." or "he may not take...." The prohibition [against the marriage of the Edomite and Egyptian converts] is instead derived [from Deuteronomy 23:9], which states that "in the third generation they may enter the congregation of God." This implies that the first and second generations may not enter [this marriage group].

Similarly, from [the positive commandment, Leviticus 21:13]: "He [the High Priest] shall marry a virgin," we can derive that he is forbidden to marry a woman who is not a virgin. A prohibition that is derived from a positive commandment has the status of a positive commandment.

ח

ויש שאיסור ביאתן בעשה ואינו מחייבי לאוין ושלשה הם. מצרי ואדומי דור ראשון ודור שני אחד זכרים ואחד נקבות. ובעולה לכהן גדול. לפי שלא נאמר באלו לא יבוא או לא יקח אלא מכלל שנאמר דור שלישי יבוא להם בקהל ה' אתה למד שדור ראשון ושני לא יבוא. ומכלל שנאמר והוא אשה בבתוליה יקח אתה למד שאינה בתולה לא יקח. ולאו הבא מכלל עשה הרי הוא כעשה:

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (Positive Commandment 213) and Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 552) include this as one of the Torah's 613 commandments.

2.

The Ra'avad and others object to this statement, noting that Kiddushin 4b derives the concept that the transfer of money is an effective means of formalizing a marriage bond from a gezerah shavah, a correlation between two verses in the Torah, indicating that this practice also has its source in the Torah.

The Maggid Mishneh and the Kessef Mishneh draw attention to the Rambam's statements in Sefer HaMitzvot (General Principle 2), which state that any law that is not explicitly stated in the Torah, but rather derived through the Thirteen Principles of Biblical exegesis, is considered to be Rabbinic in origin (midivrei soferim). This classification does not, however, in any way diminish the status of this practice, and it is as if it were explicitly stated in the Torah. Thus, a marriage bond formalized through the transfer of money has the same status as one formalized through either of the other means mentioned by the Rambam.

Rav Kapach differs and states that the Rambam altered the text in his later years, and the correct version states, "All three are from the Torah." In explanation, he draws attention to the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Kiddushin 1:1) and to one of the Rambam's responsa, and on this basis differs with the above principle.

He maintains that whenever the Rambam uses the expression midivrei soferim, he means that the practice is Rabbinic in origin and does not have the status of Torah law. The only practices that are considered to be ordained by the Torah are those explicitly stated in the Torah or mentioned by the Sages as having the status of Torah law.

In this context, he explains the Rambam's approach. Originally [as evidenced by the Rambam's statements in Sefer HaMitzvot (Positive Commandment 213)], the Rambam thought that sexual relations are the only kiddushin that are effective according to the Torah. For not only the effectiveness of the transfer of money, but also that of the transfer of a legal document is derived by the Sages only through Biblical exegesis. Afterwards, on the basis of certain passages that state that the effectiveness of the transfer of a legal document has the status of a Torah practice, the Rambam changed his opinion and wrote that the transfer of a document is also effective according to the Torah. This opinion is reflected in the Commentary on the Mishnah and the original version of the Mishneh Torah. Even later, the Rambam accepted the opinion that the effectiveness of the transfer of money also stems from the Torah itself. This is reflected in Chapter 3, Halachah 20, and the corrected text mentioned above.

(See Birkat Avraham, Responsum 44, in which the Rambam's son, Rabbenu Avraham, substantiates Rav Kapach's version of the Mishneh Torah.)

3.

The Ra'avad and others differ and maintain that a woman is not considered to be a harlot unless she is a professional prostitute. The difference between this approach and the Rambam's involves only the severity of the prohibition. Both agree that sexual relations outside the context of marriage are forbidden. With regard to a pilegesh, a woman one designates as a sexual partner but who is not consecrated as a wife, see Hilchot Melachim 4:4.

4.

Sefer HaMitzvot (Negative Commandment 355) and Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 570) include this as one of the Torah's 613 commandments.

5.

These include incestuous and adulterous relationships as mentioned in Leviticus, Chapter 18. The forbidden relationships that are punishable by execution are discussed in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah, Chapter 1, and those for which one is liable for karet and for which lashes are given are discussed in Hilchot Sanhedrin, Chapter 19.

7.

Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 18:1 defines this term as meaning either a woman who is not Jewish, a Jewish woman who has engaged in relations with a man she is forbidden to marry, or one who engages in relations with a challal (a male born from relations between a priest and a woman he is forbidden to marry).

8.

A woman who engages in relations with a priest despite a prohibition against doing so, or a female born from relations between a priest and a woman he is forbidden to marry (Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 19:1).

9.

See Leviticus 21:7, 21:14.

10.

A bastard is defined as a person born from any of the forbidden sexual relations that are punishable by execution or karet, with the exception of relations with a woman in the niddah state. This term does not refer to a child born out of wedlock. Deuteronomy 23:3 forbids a bastard from marrying a native-born Jewish male or female.

14.

A yevamah is a childless widow, who is obligated to marry one of her deceased husband's brothers or to be discharged of that obligation through the rite of chalitzah. Until she and her brother-in-law fulfill this rite, she is forbidden to marry anyone else. (See Deuteronomy 25:5-10.)

15.

The netinim are the Givonites, who were forbidden to marry into the Jewish people even after their conversion by Joshua. King David reinforced the ban against them. (See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 12:22-23.)

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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