- Question: [Wednesday, 27th Kisleiv 5783]
After lighting the menorah, I noticed that it was a little too close to the doorpost, and the flame can cause the wood door post to catch fire, so I moved the menorah which was on a stool a few inches away from the doorpost. However, my son told me that he read in the Shulchan Aruch that you’re not allowed to move the menorah at all after lighting until after 1/2 hour after nightfall, and if you do then you don’t fulfill your obligation. Is this true, did I fulfill my obligation, and was it ok even initially for me to move it in the above circumstance??
Although initially one should not move the menorah at all once it has been lit, nonetheless, in a time of need such as yours, it may certainly be moved slightly, such as a few inches, and certainly you still fulfill your obligation.
Explanation: It states in the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch that once the Menorah is lit, it may not be moved from inside to outside, and if he does so then he does not fulfill his obligation. The reason for this is because one who sees the person moving it will say he lit it for his own needs and not for the sake of the Mitzvah. The Poskim rule that this only applies until a half hour after nightfall. Now, the Poskim debate as to whether this applies only against moving it from inside to outside or vice versa or applies to any movement at all even within the same room. Practically, the Poskim conclude that one is to be stringent not to move the Menorah even within the same room, however, a slight movement is seemingly permitted, and so was once done by the Rebbe Rayatz. Thus, certainly it may be moved a few inches to prevent a fire hazard.
Sources: See regarding not moving the Menorah from inside to outside after lighting: Michaber 675:1; Shabbos 22b; See regarding that this only applies until thirty minutes pass after nightfall: M”A 675:2; Darkei Moshe 675:1; Rav Yaakov Viyaal; Elya Raba 675:2; M”B 675:5-6; Kaf Hachaim 675:10; See regarding not moving even within the same room: Stringent opinion: Darkei Moshe in name of Harav Yaakov Viyaal; brought in M”B 675:6; See Halachos Ketanos 1:2 [brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 675:1 and Kaf Hachaim 675:11] that implies one is not Yotzei if he does so; M”B 675:6 in name of Peri Megadim Lenient opinion: Machatzis Hashekel 671:7; Poskim brought in M”B 675:6 and 671:30; See M”A 263:23 based on Rashal and Peri Chadash; Misgeres Hashulchan 139:8; Kaf Hachaim 671:54; See regarding moving slightly within the same room: Sefer Haminhagim p. 159 [English] “The menorah once had to be moved a tefach or two closer to the [Previous] Rebbe so that he would be able to light it, and they then replaced it into its original position after the blessing.” This implies there is no reason to be stringent if it will be placed within the same area. Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one should not move the Menorah at all, even if it will be replaced to it area. [Lev Chaim 3:146]
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