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Parties & Donuts On Chanukah

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

The Daily Halacha Moment - Chanukah & Seudah ๐Ÿฅ˜


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Question:

Is one obligated to have a special meal/seudah for chanukah like we have on purim?

Is there a custom to eat donuts or dairy items on Chanukah?


Answer:

Many people prepare seudot or parties on Chanukah. This is done to commemorate the completion of all the beams, tarps, etc. that were needed for the Mishkanโ€™s construction, which was on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, although the Mishkan itself was not actually constructed until months later, in Nissan. Additionally, seudot are made on Chanukah to commemorate the rededication of the Bet HaMikdash, which had been defiled by the Syrian Greeks. [1]

However, since these seudot are not a bona fide Yom Tov requirement, a person should sing zemirot (which consist of praise to Hashem) or speak words of Torah during the seudah so that the seudah will be considered a seudat mitzvah. [2]

Similarly, on Shabbat Chanukah, it is customary to add a dish that one would not regularly serve. If that Shabbat is also Rosh Chodesh, one should add a second additional food to his meal. [3]

Furthermore, many people have the custom to eat dairy foods to commemorate the miracle that occurred to Yehudit. [4] Likewise, many people have the custom to eat foods fried in oil, such as sufganiyot, donuts. [5]


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

Sources:

[1]. See Shulchan Aruch 670 ยง2, which states that there is no obligation to eat a meal on Chanukah. The Rama writes,

however, that there is a mitzvah to do so. See also Chayei Adam 155:5; Minchat Shlomo 2:54; Maadanei Shlomo, p. 118; and Igrot Moshe, O.C., vol. 5, 43:2.

[2]. See Mishnah Berurah 670 ยง9, in the name of the Maharshal, Yam shel Shlomo, Bava Kama 7:30; Moed LeChol Chai 27:66; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 41:2; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, pages 17โ€“18; Torat HaMoadim, Chanukah, p. 220; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, 11. p. 75.

[3]. Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:28; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 84.

[4]. Rama ยง2; Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev 1:24; Kaf HaChaim ยง17; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 41:2; Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 18; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 63. The miracle with Yehudit occurred even before the story of Chanukah (see Aruch HaShulchan ยง8 and Kaf HaChaim ยง17). There was an evil decree for every betrothed woman to live with the Greek governor prior to her wedding. Yehudit, the daughter of Yochanan the Kohen Gadol, fed the governor cheese until he was very thirsty. She then served him wine until he was drunk and fell into a deep sleep. She then proceeded to decapitate him, and brought his head to Yerushalayim. When the Greeks saw that their leader was dead, they fled.

[5]. See Chazon Ovadia, Chanukah, p. 19, in the footnotes; Yalkut Yosef, Chanukah, p. 64; and Nitei Gavriel, Chanukah, p. 311, which mention that this custom is brought in Kovetz Sarid Uโ€™Palit in the name of Maimon, the father of the Rambam. See also Halichot Shlomo, vol. 2, ch. 17, Orchot Halachah ยง20, which brings other reasons for this custom.

Adapted from the Laws Of the Holidays - Nacson


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