Warming Oneself with Chanukah Candles


Northwest, USA

One is not supposed to benefit from the light, but can one benefit from the heat? We lit our first chanukiah outside to have a little community building and active pirsumei nisa with a few neighbors (masked, distanced, etc.). I did not count on the wind however, so in order to keep it going the requisite 30 minutes, I cupped my hand around the flame to keep it lit. It is actually pretty cold tonight, so I realized that I was actually and benefiting from the flame’s heat, but felt weird just letting it go out? I eventually figured out a makeshift cover, but should I have just let it go out and then re-lit inside without a berakhah?


It is not allowed. The prohibition of deriving benefit could be based on any of the following: (a) similar to the menorah, (b) it is treating the mitzvah in a disrespectful manner and (c) that it makes it seem like it was lit for this purpose and not for the mitzvah/pirsumei nisa. Warming yourself by the candles fails on all three reasons. See also Shut Shevet HaLevi 11:164.

However, if you are doing it to protect them from going out, and the benefit is only incidental, then you certainly don’t have a problem according to (b). According to (c) it is more debatable.

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