Melachah On Chanukah

The Daily Halacha Moment - Melachah & Menorah 🕎


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


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]


Sources:

[1]. Shulchan Aruch 670 §1. 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 §7, 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 §2, 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 §4; Kaf HaChaim 670 §9; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 14.

[4]. Magen Avraham, beginning of the siman; Pri Megadim, Eshel Avraham; Mishnah Berurah §1; 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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