Publicizing the Miracle: Living a Jewish Life in Dangerous Times Chanukah 5780

בעי רבא נר חנוכה וקידוש היום מהו קידוש היום עדיף דתדיר או דילמא נר חנוכה עדיף משום פרסומי ניסא בתר דאבעיא הדר פשטה נר חנוכה עדיף משום פרסומי ניסא:

Rava raised a dilemma: When the conflict is between purchasing oil for a Hanukkah lamp or wine for kiddush of Shabbat day, what is the ruling in that case? Does kiddush of Shabbat day take priority because it is frequent (i.e., it is performed every week, and there is a principle: When there is a conflict between a frequent practice and an infrequent practice, the frequent practice takes precedence)? Or, perhaps the Hanukkah lamp takes precedence due to publicity of the miracle? After he raised the dilemma, he then resolved it on his own and he ruled that, in that case, the Hanukkah lamp takes precedence due to publicity of the miracle.

אמר רב הונא חצר שיש לה שני פתחים צריכה שתי נרות (ואמר) רבא לא אמרן אלא משתי רוחות אבל מרוח אחת לא צריך מאי טעמא אילימא משום חשדא חשדא דמאן אילימא חשדא דעלמא אפילו ברוח אחת נמי ליבעי אי חשדא דבני מתא אפילו משני רוחות נמי לא ליבעי לעולם משום חשדא דבני מתא וזימנין דמחלפי בהאי ולא חלפי בהאי ואמרי כי היכי דבהאי פיתחא לא אדליק בהך פיתחא נמי לא אדליק

Rav Huna said: A courtyard that has two entrances requires two lamps. And Rava said: We only said this in a case where the two entrances face two different directions. However, if they both face in the same direction one need not light at more than one entrance. What is the reason for this? If you say that it is because of suspicion, whose suspicion concerns us? If you say that the concern is with regard to the suspicion of people who do not live in the city, even when both entrances face the same direction let them be required to light at both entrances. And if the concern is with regard to the suspicion of the residents of that city, even when the two entrances face two different directions let them not be required to light at both entrances. The Gemara answers: Actually, say that it is because of the suspicion of the residents of that city, and sometimes they pass this entrance and do not pass that one, and they say: Just as he did not light in this entrance, in that second entrance he also did not light. In order to avoid suspicion, it is preferable to light at both entrances.

וכבתה אין זקוק לה ורמינהו מצותה משתשקע החמה עד שתכלה רגל מן השוק מאי לאו דאי כבתה הדר מדליק לה לא דאי לא אדליק מדליק ואי נמי לשיעורה:

And is it true that if the Hanukkah light is extinguished one is not bound to attend to it? The Gemara raises a contradiction from that which was taught in a baraita: The mitzva of kindling the Hanukkah lights is from sunset until traffic in the marketplace ceases. Does that not mean that if the light is extinguished, he must rekindle it so that it will remain lit for the duration of that period? The Gemara answers: No, the baraita can be understood otherwise: That if one did not yet light at sunset, he may still light the Hanukkah lights until traffic ceases. Alternatively, one could say that this is referring to its measure.

תנו רבנן נר חנוכה מצוה להניחה על פתח ביתו מבחוץ אם היה דר בעלייה מניחה בחלון הסמוכה לרשות הרבים ובשעת הסכנה מניחה על שלחנו ודיו

The Sages taught in a baraita: It is a mitzva to place the Hanukkah lamp at the entrance to one’s house on the outside. If he lived upstairs, he places it at the window adjacent to the public domain. And in a time of danger, he places it on the table and that is sufficient to fulfill his obligation.

הַמְכַבֶּה אֶת הַנֵּר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מִתְיָרֵא מִפְּנֵי גוֹיִם, מִפְּנֵי לִסְטִים, מִפְּנֵי רוּחַ רָעָה, וְאִם בִּשְׁבִיל הַחוֹלֶה שֶׁיִּישַׁן, פָּטוּר. כְּחָס עַל הַנֵּר, כְּחָס עַל הַשֶּׁמֶן, כְּחָס עַל הַפְּתִילָה, חַיָּב. וְרַבִּי יוֹסֵי פּוֹטֵר בְּכֻלָּן חוּץ מִן הַפְּתִילָה, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא עוֹשָׂהּ פֶּחָם:

One who extinguishes the lamp because he is afraid of non-Jews, robbers, or an evil spirit, or so that a sick person may sleep, he is exempt. If [he does so because] he wants to spare the lamp, the oil, or the wick, he is liable. Rabbi Yose exempts in all cases, except for the wick, because he makes charcoal.

מתני' מפני נכרים - כגון פרסיים שהיה להם יום חג שאין מניחין אור אלא בבית עבודת אלילים שלהם:

Becuase of non-Jews: For example, the Persians who had a holiday on which it was only permitted to place a light in their house of worship.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Iggerot Moshe Orach Chayim

In our day the lighting of the Hanukkah lamp outside is impossible.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, leader of Chabad-Lubavitch movement, 1986

Now, in a land that vigorously protects the right of every man to practice his religion freely, Jews are once again lighting menorahs in public to proclaim the universal message of religious freedom. These public lightings confirm the basic beliefs of America's first settlers, themselves victims of religious persecution. Indeed, freedom to practice religion became inscribed in the laws of the land: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees individuals the right to practice their religion without fear, and prevents the government from favoring any particular faith.