Electric Candles – Shabbos/Chanukah

Question

Dear Rabbi:

Unfortunately my wife (Yael bat Channah) is now already nearly a year in hospitals and Rehab Nursing Homes.

She has many times been unconscious, not aware of what was going on, but thank G-d her health has improved and she understands now most of the things, that happen around her.

At home I continued always to candle the lights for Shabbos and Chanuka, even when she couldn’t.

If I bring her electric Shabbos candles and an electric Menora, can she say the bracha over the light kindling? Real fire is not allowed in the Hospital or Nursing Home. Too dangerous.

, , , , 2 weeks

Answers

  1. Firstly, please accept my heartfelt Bracha that your wife be granted a complete recovery.

    It is permissible for your wife to light Shabbos candles using electric lights. Please see the following article for the reasons and the way of doing it correctly: https://outorah.org/p/48084

    With regards to Chanukah candles, an electric Menorah is not acceptable. The Halacha states that in order to fulfill the mitzvah, a Chanukah Menorah must contain enough fuel at the time of lighting to burn for at least half an hour after sunset. Based on this principle, Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, of blessed memory, former Av Beis Din in Jerusalem, ruled that one cannot use an electric Menorah to fulfill the mitzvah since electric current is not stored for future use but is consumed as it is generated. Therefore, the required amount of “fuel” is not in existence at the time of lighting.

    Another reason given for not using an electric Menorah to fulfill the mitzvah is that the Menorah we use should resemble the one on which the miracle it commemorates occurred. Unlike the Menorah in the Beis Hamikdash, an electric Menorah does not contain fuel and a wick.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team