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Melachah On Chanukah

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

The Daily Halacha Moment - Melachah & Menorah ๐Ÿ•Ž


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Question:

May women do Melachot during chanukah?


Answer:

Many women have the custom to refrain from performing melachot that are prohibited on Chol HaMoed, such as sewing and knitting, for half an hour after lighting the menorah. [1] However, they may cook, clean, and bathe. Women who refrain from melachah the entire Chanukah are mistaken, and should be corrected. [2]


The custom of refraining from work for thirty minutes after the menorah is lit does not apply to men. [3]


Similarly, it is customary to distribute tzedakah to the poor on Chanukah. [4]


Adapted From R' Yonatan Nacsons "Laws Of The Holidays"

Sources:

[1]. Shulchan Aruch 670 ยง1. The Bet Yosef states that the reason for this custom is to remind the women that one may not benefit from the light of the menorah. See Kaf HaChaim 670 ยง7, which states that another reason for this custom is to remind them about the miracle of Chanukah. See also Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:27 and Yedei Chayim ยง2, which brings a Kabbalistic reason for this custom.

[2]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 12 and on; Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 226; and Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 40, which state that women should refrain from strenuous work, such as washing clothing and the like. See also Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 41:1, which permits putting clothing in the washing machine, since it does not entail a lot of work. However, even this should be avoided if one can do it later. See also Rivevot Ephraim 1:436

[3]. Birkei Yosef 670 ยง4; Kaf HaChaim 670 ยง9; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 14.

[4]. Magen Avraham, beginning of the siman; Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham; Mishnah Berurah ยง1; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:1; Rivevot Ephraim 440:3; Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 228. See also Moed LeChol Chai 27:77 for a special segulah. Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 40:10 adds that if one gives tzedakah, he should ensure that the money is distributed to the poor on Chanukah.

Adapted from the Laws of The Holidays - Nacson


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