Chanukah Halacha-Chapter 1: General Laws and Customs of the Festival


Chapter 1: General Laws and customs of the Festival

1. The date:[1]

On the twenty fifth day of Kislev begins the festival of the eight days of Chanukah.

What it commemorates:[2]  Chanukah commemorates the miracles that occurred during the reign of the Greek-Syrian Empire [The Seleucid Empire] in times of the second Temple. They made decrees against Jews, preventing them from following Torah and Mitzvos. Their money and daughters were used at the Greeks’ discretion. They entered the Heichal of the Temple and defiled its contents. Hashem then had mercy on His people and saved us from their hands. He gave strength to the small army of the Chashmonaim Kohen family to battle and overcome the great Greek-Syrian army. The day of the Syrian army’s final defeat was on the 25th of Kislev.[3] When the Jews entered the Temple, they discovered a single flask of pure oil. This oil was enough to last for one day. A miracle occurred, and the oil lasted for eight days. For this reason, the Sages in that generation decreed upon the Jews to annually celebrate eight days of Chanukah beginning from the 25th of Kislev. Alternatively, some Poskim[4] explain that the festival was established [not due to the miracle of the candles but rather] in celebration of the completion of the Tabernacle in the times of Moses, and the reinaugurated of the altar by the Chashmonaim after its defilement by the Greeks, which took place on the 25th of Kisleiv.

2. Tachanun:[5]

Beginning from Mincha of the 24th of Kislev, until the last day of Chanukah, Tachanun is omitted from the prayers, as will be explained in chapter 2 Halacha 1.

Fasting: See next Halacha!



May one visit a cemetery during Chanukah?[6]

One is not to visit a cemetery during Chanukah. This applies even if one desires to visit the grave of a relative at the conclusion of Shiva, Shloshim or a Yartzite.[7] Rather, he is to go before Chanukah. [However, there are those who are lenient in this matter[8], and so is the prevalent custom.[9]]

Erev Chanukah: One may visit a cemetery on Erev Chanukah. Hence, if a Yartzite falls on Chanukah, one is to go to the grave on Erev Chanukah.

Kivrei Tzaddikim:[10] According to all, one may visit the graves of Tzaddikim during Chanukah.

3. Aveilus:[11]

The laws of Aveilus apply on Chanukah just as the rest of the year.

Hesped: [12] One may not recite a eulogy during Chanukah unless the person is a Torah Sage, and his body is present [i.e. prior to burial[13]] at the time of the Hesped. [Some Poskim[14] rule it is forbidden to eulogize on Erev Chanukah, starting from midday. Other Poskim[15] however rule it is permitted to eulogize and say Tziduk Hadin on Erev Chanukah, even past midday.]

Tziduk Hadin:[16] One does not recite Tziduk Hadin on Chanukah. [It may be recited on the days preceding Chanukah, or directly after Chanukah.[17]]

Onen:[18] The laws of Aninus apply on Chanukah just as they apply the rest of the year. An Onen is exempt from lighting Chanukah candles.[19] Some Poskim[20], however, rule that his wife [or other household member[21]] is to light the candles in his stead. It is however forbidden for him to answer Amen to her blessing.[22] Some Poskim[23], however, rule that he is to answer Amen to her blessing. If no one is available to light in his stead, he is to light the candles himself without a blessing.[24] [If the burial took place at night, then if it took place past a half hour after nightfall, some Poskim[25] rule he may no longer light that night with a blessing.[26]]

Seudas Havrah:[27] The Seudas Havrah which customarily takes place following the burial is likewise to be eaten during Chanukah, after the burial.

4. Festive meals on Chanukah:[28]

There is a dispute amongst Poskim regarding the form of celebration the Sages established to be performed on Chanukah. Some Poskim[29] rule the rejoicing was established to be performed only in a spiritual nature; to light candles, say Al Hanisim and Hallel, and not to enhance in festive meals.[30] Accordingly, the festive meals that take place on Chanukah are “Seudas Hareshus”, voluntary meals, as the Sages did not establish the holiday for merrymaking and joy.[31] Other Poskim[32] however rule the rejoicing must be done also in the physical realm, and hence there is a slight Mitzvah involved in having festive meals.[33] Practically, the custom is to increase in meals and festivities during Chanukah, and to sing praise and song during the meals, and in this way the meal is considered a Seudas Mitzvah [according to all opinions[34]].[35] [One who arranges a special meal every day of Chanukah is praised.[36] On Shabbos Chanukah, one is to increase in foods more than a regular Shabbos. Likewise, on Rosh Chodesh Teves, one is to increase in foods more than a regular Rosh Chodesh.[37]]

Eating cheese/Milk:[38] One should eat cheese on Chanukah, due to that the miraculous victory was achieved through Yehudis feeding milk to the enemy general.

Fasting:[39] [According to all opinions] it is forbidden to fast on Chanukah. [Some Poskim[40] rule it is forbidden to fast even on Erev Chanukah.] This prohibition applies even against fasting for a Taanis Chalom, or the day of one’s parents Yartzite. Likewise, a groom and bride are not to fast on the day of their wedding when taking place during the eight days of Chanukah.[41] [Nonetheless, the Chasan should try to fast prior to Chanukah, however not on Erev Chanukah.[42] It is disputed in Poskim[43] if Viduiy is to be recited by the Chasan and Kallah during the Mincha Davening prior to the Chupah during Chanukah. Practically, Viduiy may be recited.[44]]


One is to have festive meals during Chanukah, mentioning praise to Hashem for the miracles which He performed. Milk products should be eaten on Chanukah.



Must one eat meat and drink wine during the Chanukah meal according to the stringent opinion and custom?

No.[45] However, some Poskim[46] imply there is a Mitzvah, and obligation, to do so.

Directive of the Rebbe-Increasing in festivities and meals:

Every day of Chanukah one is celebrate with a festive meal. One is to increase the quality of festivities each day, just as one increases in the Chanukah lights.


Latkes and Sufganiyot-Eating foods made with oil: 

It is a Jewish custom [which is Torah] to eat foods that are cooked with oil, during Chanukah.[47] This custom is not mentioned in Poskim. Nevertheless, one is not to belittle any Jewish custom, as this custom dates back many generations, as testifies the father of the Rambam. The reason behind this custom is to cherish the miracle which took place through oil, and hence we eat fried foods on Chanukah.[48] The Alter Rebbe, and other Chabad Rebbeim, were accustomed to hold a family Chanukah party event called Latke event.[49]

May a mourner participate in a Chanukah party?

During Shloshim:[50] It is forbidden for an Avel [of any relative[51]] during Shloshim to participate in a public Chanukah meal or Chanukah party.

After Shloshim-Children of deceased: Some Poskim[52] rule it is permitted for an Avel after Shloshim to participate in a Chanukah meal. Other Poskim[53], however, rule it is forbidden to participate unless the meal is taking place in one’s home. It is forbidden for the Avel to participate in a Chanukah party with music and dancing.

5. Candle lighting

On each of the eight nights of Chanukah, one lights the Chanukah Menorah. The detailed laws of the Chanukah lighting are elaborated on in Chapter 3. See there!


6. Al Hanissim

Al Hanissim is recited all eight days of Chanukah. It is recited within Birchas Hamazon, during Birchas Haaretz, and within Shemoneh Esrei, by Birchas Modim. The detailed laws of Al Hanissim are elaborated on in Chapter 3. See there!

7. Melacha on Chanukah:[54]

There is no prohibition in performing Melacha during Chanukah, and hence in this regard is considered like a regular weekday. Accordingly, one is allowed to cut nails, get a haircut, and do all other forms of Melacha during Chanukah. Nevertheless, from a half our prior to sunset until candle lighting time, there are working restrictions applicable, as explained in Chapter 3 Halacha 6. Likewise, women do not perform Melacha for the first half hour of the lighting, as explained in Chapter 3 Halacha 19.

Sparks of Chassidus

A Segula for woman:[55]

According to tradition, women who refrain from work on Chanukah receive healing and Divine assistance. Hence, some women have a tradition that if they ever enter into danger, they vow not to do work on one of the days of Chanukah and they are saved.

Reason work is permitted during Chanukah:[56]

Work is permitted during Chanukah, unlike other holidays, being that the ray of Chochmah enters into Malchus. Nevertheless, the candles themselves are a level sublime Holiness, and hence, when the candles are lit, and this revelation is taking place, one may not do any work in face of the candles.


8. Sufganiyot in Halacha: 

*Typically, Sufganiyot are deep fried in oil, similar to French fries, hence lending it its name, which means a sponge like dough that has absorbed oil. A typical bakery purchased Sufganiya can be assumed to be deep fried unless stated otherwise. The laws below refer specifically to this type of Sufganiya, which carries special laws due to its deep-fried state. One who eats a baked Sufganiya, which has been recently catered for the diet friendly community, would need to follow all of the laws relevant to Mezonos bread, or of bread that is baked in a small amount of oil, but not deep fried.

A. The custom:

It is a Jewish custom [which is Torah] to eat foods that are cooked with oil, during Chanukah.[57] This custom is not mentioned in Poskim. Nevertheless, one is not to belittle any Jewish custom, as this custom dates back many generations, as testifies the father of the Rambam. The reason behind this custom is to cherish the miracle which took place through oil, and hence we eat fried foods on Chanukah.[58] Another reason recorded behind why we specifically deep fry dough is in order to recite an after blessing of Meiyn Shalosh, in which we mentioned the altar that was re-inaugurated on Chanukah.[59] The Alter Rebbe, and other Chabad Rebbeim, were accustomed to hold a family Chanukah party, called Latke event in its honor.[60]

May a woman cook Sufganiyot or Latkes after candle lighting?

It is best to refrain from doing any work, including cooking and meal preparations for the first half hour, in order to properly contemplate the Chanukah miracle.[61] Nonetheless, some are lenient.[62]

B. The blessing:[63]

The before blessing of a deep fried, or jam filled, Sufganiya is Mezonos.

Blessing during meal:[64] One is to recite the blessing of Mezonos upon eating a typical Sufganiya [deep fried and/or contains jam[65]] during a meal, if he is eating it for pleasure purposes. If, however, one is eating it for purposes of satiation, then a blessing is not to be said.  

After blessing if ate large amount:[66] Deep fried Sufganiyot retain the before and after blessing of Mezonos and Al Hamichya irrelevant of how much one eats. [However, baked Sufganiyot can become Hamotzi and require Birchas Hamazon if one eats over a certain amount, just as is the law by all Mezonos bread.]  

C. Washing hands:[67]

One is not required to wash hands prior to eating Sufganiyot even if they are wet from the oil, unless they were deep fried in olive oil. Typical store purchased Sufganiyot are deep fried in the cheapest available oil, and certainly not olive oil. [However, one who dips his Sufganiyah in tea or coffee, is to wash his hands beforehand without a blessing, as is the law by all dipped foods.] 

D. Heating up on Shabbos:[68]

A typical Sufganiya which contains jam inside of it is not to be heated up on Shabbos, due to the possible cooking prohibition relevant to the jam. [If the Sufganiya does not contain jam inside, then if it is completely dry, it may be heated up on top of another hot pot.[69]]

E. Kashrus:

There are various Kashrus worries relevant to Sufganiyot and they thus must contain a reliable kosher supervision to permit its consumption.

The Kashrus of the ingredients: The seemingly innocent ingredients of a Sufganiya indeed contains substantial Kashrus worries. These worries include: 1) Some places may use flour that is required to be checked for insects; 2) Some places may use oil that derives from excess lard as is common in some places in Europe; 3) Some places may use jam that is made from non-kosher glycerin; 4) Some places may use non-kosher alcohol that is added to the dough.

Hafrashas Challah:[70] One is to perform Hafrashas Challah without a blessing on the dough of the Sufganiyah, if one is making a sizable batch that reaches above 1,250 grams of flour. A blessing is not to be recited even if the amount is much larger than the above, being that the dough is deep fried. [One who plans on baking the dough, is to follow the same laws as any baked product.]

Bishul Akum:[71] Sufganiyot are deep fried and are therefore subject to the laws of Bishul Akum and not Pas Akum. It is hence forbidden to be cooked by a gentile just as is the law by the cooking of any other food. Thus, Kashrus agencies must ensure that their Sufganiyot follow the standards required for Bishul Yisrael. [According to Ashkenazi custom, it suffices to have a Jew simply turn on the flame even if a gentile does the frying.[72] However, according to the Sephardim, a Jew must enter the Sufganiyot into the oil.[73]]

9. The Dreidel in Halacha and Agadah:[74]

A. Background of the custom:

It is customary to play Dreidel during Chanukah.[75] As tradition has it, this game was historically played in the times of the Greeks when it was prohibited for Jews to study Torah. They would study Torah in secret and if a Greek guard would come to check on them, then they would take out the dreidel game to convince them that they were simply involved in the game and were not studying.[76] The playing of Dreidel represents the subjugation of the kingdoms of the world to the Jewish nation in the future time of the redemption.[77]

Who is it relevant for? The custom of playing Dreidel is mainly relevant for children and teenagers although even adults may play on occasion especially with their children in order to fulfill the custom, and doing so does not involve a prohibition of Bittul Torah.[78] However, adults should not use the days of Chanukah for games and other mundane entertainment[79], as the joyous occasion of Chanukah is to be utilized to increase in Torah learning.[80]

B. May one play Dreidel for the sake of money, for gambling purposes?

  • Example: May one play Dreidel for winning money, chocolate coins etc.

The general gambling prohibition:[81] Some Poskim[82] rule it is forbidden to gamble [with a Jew] due to a Rabbinical stealing prohibition.[83] Other Poskim[84] rule there is no stealing prohibition involved in gambling even with a Jew, just as is the law by a gentile [as explained next]. (Nevertheless, even according to this opinion, there is a prohibition involved in doing so.[85]) [Thus practically, according to all opinions, it is forbidden to gamble either on Shabbos or during the week, and the dispute is only in regards to the severity of the prohibition. It is forbidden to gamble even on mere occasion, as a onetime occurrence, and not only when one does so as a hobby.[86] This prohibition is intensified if one does so as an occupation to support himself.[87]]

The definition of gambling: Gambling is defined as any game in which two players stipulate that the winner will receive such and such an item from the loser [whether it is money or an object].[88] Furthermore, it is considered gambling even if the items all belong to one person and he will distribute it to the winners of the game.[89] This applies even between family members.[90]

The law by Dreidel: Based on the above, it should be forbidden to play dreidel for gambling purposes unless all the items are returned after the game is over and nobody wins or loses any item.[91] The widespread custom, however, is to be lenient and to permit playing dreidel even for loss and gain, such as chocolate coins, chocolate lentils and the like.[92] However, one is certainly to avoid playing with large sums of money or valuable items.[93]

C. May one play Dreidel on Shabbos?[94]

Playing Dreidel for the sake of winning and losing items of value/food: It is forbidden to play Dreidel on Shabbos for the sake of meriting something with each spin. Thus, it is forbidden on Shabbos to play Dreidel in the typical way that it is played during the week even if money is not used,  such as to use chocolate coins or chocolate lentils or any food or other item of the like in which there is a benefit for the players to win. This applies even to children, and the father is therefore obligated to educate them not to play Dreidel in this fashion on Shabbos.

Playing Dreidel without any item to win or lose: It is permitted for children below the age of Bar/Bas Mitzvah to play Dreidel without any purpose of gain or loss simply to spin it and see who gets what.[95] Accordingly, it is permitted to play Dreidel using items that have no value or importance if gained, or if there will be no gain or loss, such as if the children will have to return everything they won back into the pile when they are done playing, and they will not gain or lose any more or less than any other child due to the game. Thus, they may play using almonds even if they are in their shell if at the end of the game, they will return it back to the bag and no one will keep what they won. It is proper to designate a special beautiful Shabbos dreidel for this purpose in order to avoid any question of Muktzah or Uvdin Dechol that may be relevant to a Dreidel that is commonly only used for playing for gain and loss which is forbidden on Shabbos, as explained above. Regarding adults: It is best for them to avoid playing Dreidel on Shabbos both due to the general negation of playing games on Shabbos, as well as the stringency against playing games that involve luck.

May one play Dreidel with beans?[96] It is permitted for children to play Dreidel on Shabbos using beans that have been predesignated for this purpose to be used annually for Dreidel playing. Here too, a special Shabbos dreidel should be designated for this purpose as explained above. If the beans are not designated to be put away for annual use on Shabbos Chanukah and will be thrown out right after Shabbos, then it is best to avoid doing so, although those who do so have upon whom to rely. Even when playing with beans in which there is no true gain or loss for the players, there’s a stringency to avoid doing so as explained above, and thus it should only be done by children below the age of Bar/Bas Mitzvah.

Chanukah customs


It is a Mitzvah to rejoice on Chanukah.[97] One is not to show any sadness on Chanukah and is rather to express joy over the miracle that Hashem performed for us. The joy which one must have on Chanukah is even greater than on Sukkos, and is similar to the joy of Simchas Torah, as both of these joys are a custom which are not written in the oral law.[98]


Learning Torah:

The joyous occasion of Chanukah is to be utilized to increase in Torah learning.[99] One is obligated during Chanukah to learn Torah and pray with extra concentration, in light of the fact the Yevanim desired to uproot Torah learning and Avodah.[100] The days of Chanukah are especially auspicious for Torah learning.[101] This is unlike the custom today in which people use the days of Chanukah for games and other mundane entertainment.[102]



It is customary for young adult paupers to collect charity money during Chanukah.[103] Accordingly, one is to increase in giving charity during Chanukah.[104] Giving charity during this time is a Segulah for rectifying various spiritual blemishes.[105]


Chanukah Gelt:[106]

It is a Jewish custom, which is Torah, to distribute Chanukah Gelt to children.[107] This was also the custom of the Chabad Rebbeim. One is to distribute even to his married children. The purpose of this custom is to motivate the child to learn Torah.[108] Accordingly, one is to explain to the child upon receiving the money that it is being given so they increase in learning Torah.[109]

When to give: Parents are to give Chanukah Gelt to their children every day of Chanukah, with exception to Shabbos.[110] On Friday or Sunday, one is to give a double portion on behalf of Shabbos. One is not to give Chanukah Gelt on Shabbos, even in the form of non-Muktzah items.[111] On the 4th or 5th night they should give a double or triple portion.[112]

Distributing to students:[113] A Rebbe is to give Chanukah Gelt to his students.

Distributing to spouse:[114] Spouses are to request Chanukah Gelt from each other; the wife is to request from the husband and the husband from the wife.


The Chassidic masters spoke ardently against playing cards, saying that it contains much impurity.[116] Some write that the 36 candles lit throughout Chanukah corresponds to the thirty-six Tractates of Gemara that the Yevanim desired to abolish with their Kelipa that was represented by the thirty six cards introduced in those times.[117]

The last day of Chanukah:

The eighth day of Chanukah is called Zos Chanukah.[118] On this day, there shines a great amount of G-dly light which is able to refine the greatest depths of evil.[119] One is to increase in Torah learning on this day.[120] On this day one can complete all matters of Chanukah which were not yet accomplished on the previous days.[121]

The Rebbe’s Mivtzaim:[122]

1. One should endeavor that a Menorah is lit in each and every Jewish home.

2. Boys of all ages should light their own menorah.

3. One should gather children together and explain to them the miracle of Chanukah.

4. One is to arrange that each Jewish boy and girl receives Chanukah gelt, and that they in turn also give to their friends.

5. One is to increase in learning of Torah during the holiday


[1] 670:1

[2] M”B 670:1 taken from Rambam

[3] When was the war won and consequently the Menorah lit? Majority of Poskim explain that the war was won by the Chashmonaim on the 24th of Kisleiv, and the Menorah was lit on the night of the 25th and then again, the next day, on the day of the 25th. [Most Rishonim; Meiri Shabbos 21b; Sefer Hamitzvos Tzemach Tzedek Mitzvah 58; Implication of Admur in Likkutei Torah Tzav 16a who says we celebrate on the day of rest and not the day of the victory; See Likkutei Sichos 18 p. 142] However, some Poskim explain that the war was only won in the midst of the 25th and thus the first lighting was done on the afternoon of the 25th which was the eve of the 26th. [Rambam Hilchos Chanukah 3:2; See Peri Chadash 670; M”B 670:1 writes the war was won on the 25th; See Rebbe in Shaar HaMoadim Chanukah p. 39; Likkutei Sichos 10 p. 142]

[4] Rashi Megillah 30b; Shibulei Haleket 174; Mordechai; Or Zarua 2:321; Darkei Moshe 670; Maharsha Shabbos 21b; Megillas Taanis 9; Elya Raba 670:17; See Kaf Hachaim 670:12; See Likkutei Sichos 20:632 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:260]

[5] Rama 683:1

[6] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 22; Kaf Hachaim 670:23; Piskeiy Teshuvos 670:1

[7] The reason: As one is not to say a eulogy during Chanukah, and by going to the gravesite one arouses mourning.

[8] Brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 670:1

[9] Gesher Hachaim 1 p. 259; See Halichos Shlomo Tishreiy-Adar p. 331 [in Otzer Hachochmah] that Rav SZ”A ruled that one may go to the Kever on a day ofr a Yahrtzeit on Chanukah.

[10] Ben Ish Chaiy ibid; Poskim ibid

[11] Elya Raba 670:19; M”B 670:12; Kaf Hachaim 670:20

[12] Michaber 670:3; Rava Moed Katan 27

[13] See Admur 429:8 [based on Rambam Yom Tov 6:22 and Avel 11:5] that the definition of “present” is “prior to the burial”, and implies that even if the body is not present, a eulogy may be given prior to the burial. So is also implied from Michaber Y.D. 401:5 who equates even a Shemua Rechoka to Befanav!

[14] Rama 420:2 regarding Erev Shabbos after midday, and the same would apply to Erev Rosh Chodesh being Tachanun is omitted starting from midday; P”M 420 A”A 1 that so is custom of Prague and other cities; Maareh Kohen Y.D. 401:2

[15] Shach Y.D. 401:2; Beir Heiytiv 401:1; Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 52:15

[16] Rama 420 regarding Rosh Chodesh, and the same applies on Chanukah [Rama 670:3]; Taz in 420; Yad Efraim; M”B 670:12

[17] M”B 670:12; Peri Megadim

[18] M”B 670:12

[19] M”B ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is questionable whether an Onen is obligated in lighting candles, and hence if no one is available to light in his stead, he is to light without a blessing. [Erech Hashulchan 670:3; Kaf Hachaim 670:20; So brings also M”B ibid in name of P”M]  

[20] Elya Raba 670:19; Erech Hashulchan 670:3; M”B ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid; P”M 670 M”Z 4; Gesher Hachaim p. 171:16; Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 33:1

[21] See Derech Hachaim; Piskeiy Teshuvos 676:1 footnote 2

[22] Admur 71:1 “And he is exempt from all blessing, even from answering Amen, and it is Rabbinically forbidden for him to be stringent upon himself in this”; Michaber Y.D. 341:1 regarding all blessings; Maharam Shick Y.D. 342 that this law applies likewise towards Chanukah candles.

[23] Elya Raba 670:19; Kerem Shlomo Y.D. 342; Kaf Hachaim 670:20; Piskeiy Teshuvos 676:1; M”B 670:12 mentions a dispute in this matter, and does not give a final arbitration.

The reason: As this is a Mitzvah of Persumei Nissa.

[24] Erech Hashulchan 670:3; P”M 670 M”Z 4; Derech Hachaim; M”B ibid; Kaf Hachaim 670:20

[25] Shut Magidos 2:163

[26] The reason: As the main institution of lighting candles is from sunset until a half hour after nightfall. Past this time, the lighting is a mere act of Tashlumin. [P”M ibid; See Ravaya 972; Admur 71:1]

[27] Kaf Hachaim 670:19

[28] 670:2; See Shulchan Menachem 3:287

[29] Michaber ibid; Tur in name of Maharam Merothenberg

[30] The difference between Chanukah and Purim: The reason for why by Purim the Sages established the rejoicing to be done with a meal, as opposed to Chanukah, is because the decree against the Jews during the period of Chanukah was not to smite the body of the Jewish people but their culture and soul. Hence, it is celebrated in a spiritual manner. This is in contrast to Purim, in which the Jewish people as a whole were threatened to be annihilated, irrelevant of whether they would give up their religion. [Levush 670:2 brought in M”B 670:6] Alternatively, since the miracle of Purim occurred through the feasts of Esther, therefore, the Sages established the commemoration of Purim to involve festive meals. However, on Chanukah that the miracle occurred with the candles, the commemoration is also with candles. [Mamar Mordechai 670:3; Machazik Bracha 670:4] Alternatively, since Purim was the completion of Matan Torah, therefore they established the celebration with food, being the Torah is a parable to bread. [ibid] Alternatively, since the miracle of Purim was a lot greater, as they did not require soldiers to fight the enemy and even the gentiles themselves fought for the Jews, therefore they established meal festivities as a commemoration. [Kaf Hachaim 670:11]

[31] Michaber ibid

[32] Rama 670:2; Maharal of Prague; Megillas Taanis [and Megillas Antiochus] which states explicitly that “It was established for festivities and joy like all the festivals written in the Torah”; Rashal Yam Shel Shlomo Bava Kama 7:37 that so is proven to be the opinion of Rambam Chanukah 3:3 who writes “The days of Chanukah are days of joy and praise”; Bach 670 that so is implies from Rambam ibid; M”A 670:3; Elya Raba 670:16; Mordechai Haruch, brought in Darkei Moshe 670 “They established it for Mishteh and Simcha”; See Likkutei Sichos 10:142

[33] The reason: This is in commemoration of the inauguration of the altar, which took place during the days of Chanukah. [Rama ibid; Mordechai ibid] The Midrash states that the work of the Mishkan in the times of Moshe was completed on the 25th of Kislev. Nevertheless, its inauguration was delayed until Nissan, which is the month that Yitzchak was born. Hashem promised to give retribution on the 25th of Kislev which lost the first inauguration. Thus, Hashem arranged that the Chanukah victory end on the 25th of Kislev. [Midrash Tanuchuma Behaaloscha] Likewise, the Greeks defiled and impurifed the Temple, which was re-inaugurated during the eight days of Chanukah. [M”B 670:7] Thus, it is considered as if the original inauguration in the Mishkan occurred on 25th of Kislev and it is this event that we are celebrating. [Elya Raba 670:17; See Kaf Hachaim 670:12] Alternatively, the reason is because the Jewish people won the war against the Yevanim, and the Sages hence established the days for Simcha and festive meals. [Likkutei Sichos 10:142 in opinion of Rambam ibid that the Halel and Hodah were established due to the miracle of the oil while the Simcha and Mishteh were established due to the victory of battle.]

[34] Hashlama ibid

[35] Rama ibid; Hashlama of Rav Nechemiah that it is an old custom and so is the custom today; Biur Halacha 670; Rebbe in Toras Menachem 49 2:34 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:287 and Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 2:282] “One is to be Mehader in the Mitzvos of Chanukah like all opinions… Rav Nechmia writes the custom in these countries is to increase in meals in these days”

The reason one must sing praise: This law applies likewise regarding the wedding of the daughter of a Torah scholar to a layman, in which case, if one sings praise by the wedding it has the status of a Seudas Mitzvah. [M”A 670:4; M”B 670:8] This means that the singing of praise combined with the opinion that holds festivities are required, joins to form it into a Seudas Mitzvah according to all. [See M”B 670:9; Kaf Hachaim 670:15-16]

[36] Shiyurei Kneses Hagedola 670:5; Elya Raba 670:6; Kaf Hachaim 670:13

[37] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 28; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[38] Rama 670:2; Kol Bo; Ran

[39] Rama 670:3

[40] Divrei Nechemiah 670:6-7

[41] Rav Nechemiah 670:5; See M”A 573:1

How much should he eat? Some record the Rebbe to have given a directive to a certain Chasan that he is to drink a strong drink that day, but not to eat. [See Seder Kiddushin Venisuin-Farkash p. 34]

[42] Directive of Rebbe Rayatz, printed in Igros Kodesh Rayatz 17:394, to individual who got married during Chanukah to fast on Erev Shabbos the 22nd of Kisleiv. See also Igros Kodesh 22:152 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 6:190]; Toras Yekusiel 141:98; Nitei Gavriel 6:10; Hiskashrus 643:17

[43] See Nitei Gavriel Nissuin 8:8 that some Poskim rule it is to be said [Kerem Shlomo 65:14, Levushie Mordechai E.H. 49 and other Poskim], while other Poskim rule it is not to be said. [Yalkut Gershoni 2:11; Shevilei David 62; Toras Yekusiel 42]

[44] Nitei Gavriel ibid in name of Yad Halevi 3:158

[45] So is implied from Setimas Haposkim; See Levush 670

[46] Beis Yaakov 73 based on Teshuvos Maharam; brought in Beir Heiytiv 529:7; M”B 529:20; See Mateh Moshe 993 who states the meal of Chanukah is hinted to in the words in Parshas Mikeitz “Tavoach Tavach”

Mitzvah or obligation? The Maharahm and Beis Yaakov ibid do not state that it is an obligation to eat meat and drink wine, but simply that if one took upon himself not to eat meat and drink wine due to Teshuvah, it does not apply on Chanukah and Purim. In fact, the Maharahm is of the opinion that all the Chanukah meals are Seudas Reshus, and hence obviously he cannot hold that eating meat is obligatory! Despite this, the Beir Heiytiv and M”B ibid write [based on the Beis Yaakov] that one is obligated to eat meat and drink wine! Perhaps one can explain this matter as follows: Although there is no obligation to eat meat on Chanukah, nevertheless, one who eats meat further fulfills a Mitzvah of rejoicing on Chanukah. This is similar to the ruling of the Michaber in 696:7 who states eating meat on Purim fulfills a Biblical precept even though we are not obligated to eat meat on Purim. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[47] Shaar HaMoadim p. 117

[48] Letter of father of Rambam printed in Nitei Gavriel 51 footnote 16

[49] Hayom Yom 28th Kisleiv

[50] See Rama 391:2 [2nd opinion in Rama and final ruling of custom]; Beis Lechem Yehuda 391; Derech Hachaim; Chochmas Adam 166:2; Kitzur SHU”A 212:1; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 23 footnote 12; Even those Poskim who are lenient by a Seudas Mitzvah that does not contain Simcha [see Shach 246:27 in name of Maharam Mintz 119, brought in Rav Akiva Eiger 391:1; Degul Merivava 391; Pischeiy Teshuvah 391:5; Beis Lechem Yehuda 391; Gilyon Maharsha 391; Gesher Hachaim 21; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 29:1 footnote 2] are only lenient after Shloshim!

[51] Taz 391:2; Shach 391:3; Sheilas Yaavetz 180

An Avel for a married sister and other Rabbinical Aveilim: Some Poskim rule that an Avel over a married sister may participate in any Seudas Mitzvah that does not contain Simcha even during the Shloshim. This leniency applies to all Aveilim of relatives whose Shiva is merely Rabbinical. [Sheilas Yaavetz 2:181; Darkei Hachaim 14:2; Nitei Gavriel 23:23 and Poskim in footnote 34 and 32:8 in name of Gur Aryeh 34 and Daas Torah 391] Other Poskim negate this conclusion. [See Pischeiy Teshuvah 391:2; Taz and Shach ibid make no mention of any differentiation]

[52] Gilyon Maharsha 391; Gesher Hachaim 21:6; Minchas Yitzchak; Rav SZ”A in Halichos Shlomo p. 331 [in Otzer Hachochmah] that he may join an annual family Chanukah party

[53] Rama 391:2; See Taz 391:5; Igros Moshe 3:161; Pnei Baruch 20:29

[54] Michaber 670:1

[55] Ben Ish Chaiy brought in Kaf Hachaim 670:10

[56] See Derech Mitzvosecha Mitzvas Ner Chanukah p. 146 and onwards; Likkutei Torah Devarim p. 96 regaridng Rosh Chodesh

[57] Shaar HaMoadim p. 117

[58] Letter of Rabbeinu Maiman, father of Rambam, printed in Nitei Gavriel 51 footnote 16 and Minhag Yisrael Torah in name of Koveitz Serid Upalit“One is not to be lenient in any custom, even if it is a light custom, and everyone is obligated to make a festive meal and rejoice to publicize the miracle that G-d did for us on those days. Now, the custom has spread to make Sufganiyot, known in Arabic as Spingim. This is an old custom being that the dough is kneaded with oil in commemoration of the miracle. Rabbeinu Nissim writes in Megillas Setarim that all the customs of the Jewish nation including this custom should not be belittled …as the prophet has stated “Al Titosh Toras Imecha”; Sheireis Yisrael Shaar Hazmanim p. 101; See Sefer Maiy Chanukah of Rav Yitzchak Ratzabi p. 55 that in Yemen they were not accustomed to eat deep fried foods or Sufganiyot, and this only began when they arrived to Israel.

[59] Halichos Shlomo Chanukah p. 319 in name of Kesav Yad of Rav SZ”A

[60] Hayom Yom 28th Kisleiv

[61] From the letter of the law, it is permitted to cook and do other meal preparations. [Or Letziyon 4:41] However, some write that it is best to refrain from the above during the first half hour. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 670:2] Practically, so seems to be the proper custom, to avoid all work at all in order to properly contemplate the Chanukah miracle during that time, as writes the Levush.

[62] Shalmei Moed p. 244 that so was the custom in the home of Rav SZ”A

[63] Seder Birchas Hanehnin 2:7 regarding baked fruit filled pastry and 2:12 regarding deep fried; See Admur 168:7 and Admur 678:11 for full details of baked jelly filled Sufganiyot

[64] Seder Birchas Hanehnin 2:10; See Admur 168:14; Michaber 168:8

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that a blessing is never to be said over Sufganyiot upon eating it during a meal, whether in middle or end, even for pleasure purposes. [Or Letziyon 2:12 p. 101 being that some Poskim rule that fried is similar to baking, as brings Michaber in 168:13 and that jelly filled dough is Hamotzi, as brings Michaber in 168:7 and Admur 168:14; Halichos Shlomo Chanukah p. 319 and Madanei Shlomo p. 45 being that they also satiate and certainly one’s intent is also on this] Other Poskim rule that while a blessing is never to be recited while eating it in middle of a meal, nevertheless it is to be recited when eaten at the end of the meal as dessert. [Yabia Omer 8:26-4; Chazon Ovadia Chanukah 19]

[65] According to Admur in the Seder ibid, both deep fried dough or baked Jelly filled dough is Mezonos according to all opinions being eaten for pleasure purposes. However, according to Admur 168:14, baked dough is Hamotzi according to some opinions even if it is Jelly filled, and hence a blessing would never be said, as brought in the other opinions in the previous footnote.  

[66] Seder Birchas Hanehnin 2:12; Ketzos Hashulchan 48:9; P”M 318 M”Z 7

[67] Admur in Seder Netilas Yadayim 20; Admur 158:4-5; Michaber 158:4

[68] See Igros Moshe 4:74 regarding ketchup and the same would apply here; See Shabbos Kehalacha Vol. 1 p. 95 and p. 144, p. 147 that if the jam is not made of pure fruit then according to all it has the status of a liquid. If it is made from pure fruit, it is subject to the dispute mentioned below.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one may heat it up on Shabbos on top of a hot pot that is on the Blech, being that the jelly is considered a solid. [Halichos Shlomo Chanukah 17:11; Chazon Ovadia Chanukah 19 in name of Rav SZ”A; See also Shabbos Kehalacha p. 147 that Rav SZ”A rules that ketchup has the status of Yaveish being that it derives from tomato paste, and something which was originally a solid remains a solid even when its turned into a flowing paste.]

[69] See “A Semicha Aid for the laws of Shabbos” Volume 1 in the sections of Chazarah and Bishul

[70] Shach Y.D. 329:4; Beis Lechem Yehuda 329:3; Pischeiy Teshuvah 329:1; Kaf Hachaim 242:27; See Michaber Y.D. 329:1 [exempt]; Rambam Bikurim 6:12 [exempt]; Beis Yosef 329; Pesachim 37b and Tosafus there [obligated if thick]; Rashba Toras Habayis 1 and Rosh Challah 2 and in name of Ramban [exempt if deep fried]; The Poskim ibid conclude to remove without blessing and suspect for both opinions

[71] Rivash 28; Peri Chadash 112:17; Beis Lechem Yehuda 112:14; Birkeiy Yosef 112:11; Kaf Hachaim 112:36 and 43; Sefer Hakashrus 19 footnote 14; The following Poskim  rule that Mezonos products that cannot become Hamotzi upon setting a meal over them [such as deep fried products], do not retain the Pas Akum prohibition, but rather the Bishul Akum prohibition: Taz 112:6; Shach 112:18; Toras Chatas 75:12; Beis Yosef 12 in name of Rav Yechiel; Peri Chadash 112:17; Beis Lechem Yehuda 112:11; Rivash 28; Beis Lechem Yehuda 112:14; Kaf Hachaim 112:35-36; See Hakashrus 19:2; Sefer Mibei Midrasha 106

[72] See Rama 113:7

[73] Michaber 113:7; Birkeiy Yosef ibid; Kaf Hachiam 112:43; See Yechaveh Daas 5:53; Sefer Mibei Midrasha 106

[74] See Or Yisrael Monsey 14 p. 50; Nitei Gavriel Chapter 51

[75] Otzer Kol Minhagei Yeshurun 19:4; Bnei Yissachar Kislev 2:25; Minhagei Chasam Sofer that so was his custom; Divrei Yatziv 2:283; Imrei Pinchas Hashaleim Inyanei Chanukah p. 136; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 670:4; Many Sefarim in Or Yisrael ibid and Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 1-2

[76] Otzer ibid; Divrei Yatziv ibid

[77] The meaning behind the inscription of the Nun Gimel Heiy Shin, is to teach one that even when one is in the midst of mundane activity, such as playing a game, he is not to forget G-d. The playing of Dreidel also contains mystical meanings behind it, as explained in Bnei Yissachar [Kislev 2:25]. There he explains that it represents the fall of the 4 evil empires who placed the Jewish people into exile. There he mentions that the original custom was to use wood Dreidels, due to mystical reasons.

[78] See Sefarim quoted in Nitei Gvariel ibid and Or Yisrael ibid who mention specifically “Nearim” playing Dreidel. Nonetheless, many Gedolei Yisrael have also followed this custom of occasionally playing Dreidel on Chanukah, and certainly the establishing of a custom of Israel does not involve Bittul Torah. The Chasam Sofer also played Dreidel on Chanukah.

[79] Shlah Chanukah; Biur Halacha 670:2 “Venohagin”

[80] Rashal 85

[81] Admur Gzeila Ugineiva 31; Areas in Talmud and Shulchan Aruch that the Issur of gambling is discussed:  Mishneh Rosh Hashanah 22a and Sanhedrin 24b; Orach Chaim 322/6; Choshen Mishpat 34/16 [laws of testimony]; Rama Choshen Mishpat 207/13 [laws of Asmachta]; 370/2-3 [laws of stealing]


The Mishneh states that one who gambles is invalid for testimony. [Mishneh Rosh Hashanah 22a and Sanhedrin 24b] The Gemara in Sanhedrin records a dispute as to the reason behind this invalidation. Rami Bar Chama says the reason is because it is similar to stealing being that the loser never fully agreed to give him the money being that he was planning on winning. The fact that he said he would give the money if he loses is a mere Asmachta, which is a not legally binding promise of words, being that he did not intend to truly relinquish his money but rather to use it to win. [Nonetheless, even according to this opinion the winner is not considered a Biblical Gazlan/robber, being that he did not forcefully take the money from the loser. He is however considered a Rabbinical Gazlan. Rashi on Mishneh R.H. ibid; Machatzis Hashekel on M”A 422/8] Rav Sheishes however rules that the money is not considered stolen at all, being that it was not given as an Asmechta but as an actual acquisition to the winner. Nevertheless, he is invalidated as a witness being that he is not involved in settling the world. The practical ramification between these opinions is regarding a gambler who has an occupation, in which case according to Rami Bar Chama he is still invalid, while according to Rav Sheshes he is valid. [Sanhedrin ibid]  Practically we rule like Rav Sheshes [Michaber 34/16; 370/3; Smeh 370/3; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Rif; Rosh on Sanhedrin ibid] Nonetheless, even according to Rav Sheishes it is disputed as to whether there is a Rabbinical stealing prohibition involved in gambling, with some ruling that it contains an actual Rabbinical prohibition due to Avak Gezel and others ruling that there is no Rabbinical prohibition involved. Admur and other Achronim novelize that according to all opinions there is some level of stealing involved in gabling and the dispute is only as to what level. The following is a summary of the opinions: 1) Actual Rabbinical Gezeila. [Rami Bar Chama] 2) Not actual Rabbinical Gzeila but Rabbinically prohibited due to Avak Gezel [Rav Sheshes as rules Michaber ibid] 3) No stealing at all even Rabbinically, although it is slightly forbidden. [Rav Sheshes as rules Admur and M”A in their understanding of Rama] 4) No stealing at all on any level. [Simple understanding of Rama ibid] 

[82] First opinion in Admur ibid; Michaber Orach Chaim 322/6; Choshen Mishpat 34/16 [laws of testimony]; 370/2 [laws of stealing]; Rambam Gzeila 6/10; Rashi Rosh Hashanah 22a; Regarding opinion of Rambam: See Hilchos Gzeila 6; Eidus 10/4; Kesef Mishneh ibid

[83] The reason: This is considered Rabbinical Gzeila. [Michaber 370/2] Although the money is taken with the agreement of the loser, nonetheless since the money was taken from his friend in a way of jest and fun without him gaining anything in return, it is therefore Rabbinically forbidden. [Admur ibid; Perisha 34, brought in Smeh C.M. 40] This is considered “Avak Gezel” [Machatzis Hashekel on M”A 322/8]

[84] 2nd opinion in Admur ibid; Rama Choshen Mishpat 207/13 [laws of Asmachta] and 370/3 [regarding laws of stealing] “The custom is to gamble”; Tur Choshen Mishpat 34, 207, 370, brought in M”A 322/8; Rosh Sanhedrin 3/7; Tosafus Sanhedrin 25a

[85] Admur ibid in parentheses; M”A 322/8 “a slight prohibition”; Teshuvos Harivash 432; Machatzis Hashekel on M”A ibid;  P”M 322 A”A 8; Rav Poalim Y.D. 2/30 

Background: Admur ibid in parentheses that even according to the lenient opinion which rules it does not involve the stealing prohibition, it is nevertheless forbidden to do so; So also rules M”A 322/8 [see Machatzis Hashekel on ibid] that possibly one can learn this way from Michaber 322/6 that although there may not be a stealing prohibition involved there is still “a slight prohibition”; The P”M 322 A”A 8 interprets this to mean a Rabbinical “Avak Gezel”, and so writes Machatzis Hashekel on M”A ibid; However from Admur one can possibly learn that according to the lenient opinion there is no prohibition of even Avak Gezel, and the prohibition is simply due to “Yishuvo Shel Olam” as he writes regarding gambling with a gentile. Another reason for this prohibition can be learned from the Teshuvos Harivash ibid which writes “Even according to Rav Sheishes who states there is no stealing prohibition involved in gambling, nevertheless this is a repulsive, revolting and immoral act. It has caused the lives of many people to be destroyed.” Thus, in total we have three possible reasons for why there is a prohibition to gamble even according to the Rama 1) Avak Gezel 2) Yishuvo Shel Olam 3) putrid act.

Opinion of Rama: The Rama in 207/13 and 370/3 writes that the custom is to gamble. This implies that there is no prohibition involved at all, unlike Admur and the Poskim ibid. However, see Rav Poalim ibid that even according to the Rama there is a prohibition involved.

[86] Smeh 34/40

[87] See Michaber Choshen Mishpat 34/16 that in such a case he is invalidated as a witness; See Smeh ibid

[88] Admur ibid

[89] Michaber 322:6; Tur 322; Beis Yosef 322 that so rules Rif Shabbos 63b and Rosh 23:3; M”B 322:22

The reason: As this can lead to gambling with others and in a way that people lose and win. [M”B 322:22]

[90] 1st opinion in Michaber 322:6; Tur 322; Beis Yosef 322 that so rules Rif Shabbos 63b and Rosh 23:3; Bach 322 that so is the final ruling and so is implied to be the ruling of the Michaber ibid; M”B 322:22; Kaf Hachaim 322:31 that so is the final ruling

The reason: Although the father of the home owns all the items and it is not real gambling and worry of stealing, nonetheless it is forbidden as as this can lead to gambling with others and in a way that people lose and win. [M”B 322:22]

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that it is permitted for a father to make a raffle for family members to see who receives which portion of food, even though the portions are different sizes, as they are not Makpid. [2nd opinion in Michaber 322:6; Rambam Shabbos 23:7; Taz 322:4] The reason for this is because gambling itself is only Rabbinically forbidden and hence there is no need to make an additional decree against this leading to one coming to gamble. [Maggid Mishneh on Rambam ibid; Olas Shabbos 322:10; Elya Raba 322:10; See Taz ibid for his alternative explanation]

[91] Nitei Gavriel 51:3

[92] Nitei Gavriel ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 670 footnote 25 in name of Rebbe of Klozinberg in Shefa Chaim Chanukah writes that it is permitted on Chanukah to play Dreidel for winning purposes, as on Chanukah people forgive items to each other just like by family; See Chavos Yair 126 that the custom back then was to permit playing games on Chanukah

[93] See Choshen Mishpat 34:16

[94] Regarding the prohibition of playing games for the sake of gain and loss and against doing a lottery: See Admur 338:6; Rama 338:5; Rambam Shabbos 23:17; Shabbos 23 and 148; Beis Yosef 338 in name of Igor 521; Bach 338; Michaber 322:6; M”A 322:9; Mur Uketzia 338 [forbids even for food]; Aruch Hashulchan 338:13; SSH”K 16:32; Piskeiy Teshuvos 338:11 [old] 14 [new]; Chayeh Halevi 10:58; Mishnas Yosef 7:128; Avnei Yashpei 126-2; Metziyon Teitzei Torah 117; Akeidas Moshe 4:33-3; Maaglei Eliyahu 3:30; Emes Leyaakov 679 footnote 593; Mishnas Aaron Leiberman Muktzha 88; Avnei Derech 13: 83; Chevel Nachalaso 20:10

Regarding the prohibition of playing luck games, see: Bach 338; Olas Shabbos 338:5; Kaf Hachaim 338:41; omitted from the majority of Poskim, including Admur;

Regarding the prohibition of playing rolling games on a floor see: Admur 338:6; Aruch Hashulchan 338:12; Ketzos Hashulchan 146 footnote 60; Shevisas Hashabbos; SSH”K 16:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 338:9

Regarding if the above prohibition applies to children see: Admur 338:6; Rama 338:5 and Darkei Moshe 338; Piskeiy Teshuvos 338:14 footnote 123 Regarding having a special designated Dreidel just for Shabbos see: Igros Moshe 5:22-10 [not Muktzah]; Mikdash Yisrael  274-275; Chayeh Halevi 10:58

Background: The sages decreed against playing “gambling” games on Shabbos which refers to all games that involve a gain and loss of items of the players, even if it is not money but rather food, if the items gained and lost retain a monetary value. This is due to their general decree against doing business on Shabbos. Now, although in the case of children the items that will be won by the players belongs to the father of the home and is hence not exactly similar to business, nonetheless, this would still seemingly fall under the lottery prohibition applicable on Shabbos which is itself forbidden due to the gambling prohibition which is similar to business. Now, if there is no gain or loss at all achieved through playing the game then seemingly it would be permitted. When permitted to be played, seemingly it may be played even on a tiled floor and not just specifically on a table, being that it is never common to play Dreidel on a dirt floor, and hence it is not similar to the prohibition recorded in the Poskim against playing rolling games on even tiled floors. Now, although there are Poskim who prohibit playing any luck game on Shabbos, practically we do not rule this way, and therefore certainly children may be lenient to do so. However, since there are Poskim who rule that using a regular weekday Dreidel can transgress the prohibition of Muktzah and Uvdin Dechol, therefore, to avoid all issues one should designate a special Shabbos dreidel for playing on Shabbos. Likewise, it is best for adults and as well all children above bar/bas mitzvah to avoid playing it in order to avoid all the halachic issues and use one’s time properly on Shabbos.

[95] See Divrei Yatziv ibid that son was done in the times of the Greeks on Shabbos to fool them to thinking that they were not gathering to learn Torah.

[96] Regarding designating beans so they are no longer considered Muktzah see: Admur 308:8; 53; Michaber 308:22; Ketzos Hashulchan 110:5; Regarding the prohibition of wasting food see: Admur Shemiras Haguf 14; Michaber 171:1, 4, 5; Torah Lishma 401; Mayan Omer 11:5; M”A 171 in Hakdama; M”B 171:4 and Biur Halacha 171:1 “Lo”; Setimas Kol Haposkim who discuss placing oil on the body and never stipulated that it must be inedible – See Admur 160:15; 327:1-2; Mishneh Shabbos 111a; Ma’aser Sheiyni 2:1-2; Shevi’is 8:2; Rambam Ma’aser Sheiyni 2:6; Terumos 11:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 171:5

Explanation regarding using beans-Muktzah: Any item that is Muktzah Machmas Gufo because it doesn’t have the status of a vessel may receive the status of a vessel- before Shabbos if we designated to be used forever for this purpose. This applies even if it is not common to designate the item for this purpose, although in such a case a permanent designation must be done in a temporary one does not suffice. Now regarding our question of designating beans for Dreidel playing on Shabbos: Although beans are not commonly designated for such use, and hence a mere temporary designation does not suffice, nevertheless, if one designates it for this purpose alone and then throws it in the garbage when done playing, then this itself can be considered permanent use. It goes without saying that designating it for annual Dreidal playing would suffice to remove its Muktzah state and practically this is the best option to be done rather than designate it only for one Shabbos. Likewise, this option of annual designation should be done in order to avoid a prohibition of Bizuiy Ochlin.

Explanation regarding using beans-Bizuiy Ochlin: Although using beans for Dreidal playing will cause them to not be used anymore for eating being that they must be permanently designated for Dreidal playing as explained above, as well as become dirty, nonetheless this does not transgress the prohibition of Bizuiy Ochlin being that is being done for a meaningful purpose to be able to create this game of entertainment. It is no different than the allowance that was followed throughout history to use flour for various nonfood purposes, such as to make playdoh, dolls, and to stuff up holes in the wall, which created a discussion in the laws of Passover regarding Chametz. It is likewise similar to the allowance to smear edible oil on the body.

[97] Rambam Chanukah 3:3 “The days of Chanukah are days of joy and praise”; Megillas Taanis [and Megillas Antiochus] “it was established for festivities and joy like all the festivals written in the Torah”; Rashal 85, Bava Kama 7:37; Seder Hayom Chanukah “These are days of Sasson and Simcha”; See Likkutei Sichos 10 p. 142 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3 p. 282-287]

[98] Rebbe in Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 2:282

[99] Rashal 85

[100] P”M 670 A”A Hakdama

[101] Shlah Hakadosh Chanukah

[102] Shlah Chanukah; Biur Halacha 670:2 “Venohagin”

[103] M”A 670; Hashlama of Rav Nechmia of Dubravna end of 670

[104] Kitzur SHU”A 139:1; P”M 670 A”A Hakdama; Sefer Haminhagim P. 161 “Some are accustomed to increase…”; See Likkutei Sichos 5 p. 346; Igros Kodesh 23:301 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:262]

[105] Kitzur SHU”A 139:1

[106] Toras Menachem 5748 2:65; Likkutei Sichos 20 p. 452; Rebbe in Shaar Halacha Uminhag 2:283; Shulchan Menachem 3 p. 288-289; Sefer Haminhagim P. 161

[107] Toras Menachem ibid; See Likkutei Levi Yitzchak p. 358

[108] Toras Menachem ibid; As the Greeks nullified our Torah learning, and the idea of giving children money is connected with motivating them to learn Torah. [See Rambam Pirush Hamishnayos Sanhedrin Perek Chelek]

[109] Toras Menachem ibid

[110] Now, although the [Previous] Rebbe would distribute coins for “Chanukah gelt” (gifts of pocket money) on only the fourth or fifth night of Chanukah, in order so the children rejoice over the new receiving of the gift, nevertheless today with the great darkness of exile one is to give daily. [Rebbe ibid]

[111] Toras Menachem ibid, due to a decree [that one not come to give out Muktzah items]

[112] This is in light of the custom of our Rebbeim to give Chanukah Gelt on the 4th or 5th night. Now, since today we give every day, therefore on the 4th or 5th night a double or triple portion should be given to commemorate this. [Rebbe ibid]

[113] Igros Kodesh 21:195

[114] Hisvadyus 5747 2 p. 132

[115] Biur Halacha 670: “Venohagin”; Kedushas Levi Parshas Mikeitz; Bnei Yissachar

[116] Playing cards is a grave sin, as each card contains an unmentionable degree of impurity. [Kedusha Levi ibid]

[117] Bnei Yisaschar Chanukah

[118] Sefer Haminhagim P. 161 [English]

The reason: This term follows the words “Zos Chanukas Hamizbeiach” which is read from the Torah on the 8th day of Chanukah. See Shaar Hamoadim Chanukah for a lengthy Sicha regarding why only the last day of Chanukah is called Zos Chanukah, as on Chanukah the main aspect is the Mikbael/Bepoel, as rules Beis Hilel, and hence only the last day in actuality has all eight lights lit.

[119] Shaar Hamoadim Chanukah 71

[120] Based on Shaar Hamoadim Chanukah 70

[121] Shaar Hamoadim Chanukah 72

[122] Shevach Hamoadim p.98

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