It is peculiar why the Gemara considers a candle lit on Shabbat by a Non-Jew as something with which forbidden work has been done, since a Non-Jew is allowed to light fire on Shabbat or use it to do other types of work with. Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 298:9) proposes that what the Talmud means is that really since if a Jew would have lit the candle on Shabbat it would have been forbidden to be used for Havdalah because a transgression was done with it, we also forbid it if a Non-Jew lit it even though he himself was permitted to do so. In other words, it is the candle itself that needed to rest on Shabbat, sort of speak, from a forbidden type of work. In the case of a sick person, however, it is a mitzvah to light the candle for him, therefore it is not considered to be a forbidden type of work, where as when a Non-Jew lit it is simply permitted, but it is not a mitzvah, therefore it is considered to be as if forbidden works was done with it. I have to admit that this answer is somewhat farfetched however I do not have a better explanation. Due to this very issue, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz in his edition of Talmud Bavli (Berachot p.232, Iyunim, Ohr Sheshabat) proposes a completely different explanation of what the Talmud means when it says that “the light needed to rest” from those of the Rishonim (medieval authorities) that I have mentioned above. He says that the reason the Rabbis have required to say a Beracha on seeing a light at the conclusion of Shabbat is not because of a commemoration of God’s creation of light, but rather because we want to show that Shabbat is over and now it is permitted to do work. Therefore we take an action that was forbidden on Shabbat, merely lighting a fire, and do it as a part of the Havdalah ceremony to show that Shabbat is over. Since a Non-Jew was never forbidden to light a fire on Shabbat in the first place, a fire lit by him would not fit for this purpose since it was not a fire that was forbidden on Shabbat. In other words, it has to be a type of a fire that itself was forbidden to be lit on Shabbat and since a fire of a Non-Jew was permitted to be lit on Shabbat all along it is not fitting for Havdalah. However in the case of a sick person we consider it as a fire that was still forbidden to be lit, however the Torah gave a special dispensation in this case to light it. I find this explanation interesting however I do not see how it fits into the words of the Talmud.
Archives for July 2009
|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
Tosefta 351[If it was time to make Havdalah and a person had] a glass ball2 [candle holder with a candle burning inside it], even though it was not put out [since when it was lit before Shabbat,3 the person] can still say a Beracha (blessing) [on seeing the light of the fire] on it. We do not say a Beracha [on seeing the light of the fire during Havdalah] on a candle of Non-Jews.4 [However, if] a Jew lit [a candle] from [another candle] of a Non-Jew5 or a Non-Jew lit [a candle] from [another candle] of a Jew, [then] we do say a Beracha [on seeing the light of the fire during Havdalah] on it.6 From when do we say a Beracha on it? From when it gets dark.7 [If a person] did not say a Beracha [on seeing the light of the fire during Havdalah] when it got dark, he can still say [that] Beracha the whole night [of Saturday night].8 [If a person] did not say a Beracha [on seeing the light of the fire] the whole night [of Saturday night], he [can] not say the Beracha [on seeing the light of the fire] anymore.9
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
עששית אף על פי שלא כבתה מברך עליה. נר של גוים אין מברכין עליו. ישראל שהדליק מגוי וגוי שהדליק מישראל מברך עליו. מאימתי מברך עליו? משתחשך. לא ברך משתחשך מברך כל הלילה. לא ברך כל הלילה אין מברך מעתה.
- The Tosefta continues with the discussion from the previous Tosefta of what kind of fire can the Beracha on seeing light be said during Havdalah and it also expands on the statement in the Mishna 8:6 that a person cannot say a Beracha on a candle of a Non-Jew during Havdalah.
- For a description and a picture of a glass ball candle holder that the Mishna refers to see note 3 on the previous Tosefta. The reason that the Tosefta says that the candle was burning inside a glass ball and not some other type of a candle holder is because it was probably the most common type of a candle holder in which Shabbat candles were lit, since they gave off the most amount of light, because their walls were clear on all sides.
- In other words, the candle was lit on Friday before Shabbat started and it continued to burn the whole Shabbat and into Saturday night. The Tosefta teaches us that even though the candle was not lit anew on Saturday night, a person can still use it to make Havdalah. The reason that the Tosefta needs to teach us this is because we might have thought that since the whole point of saying a Beracha on a candle during Havdalah is to commemorate the fact that God created light on Saturday night the candle has to be lit on Saturday night. Therefore the Tosefta comes to teach us that even if the candle was lit before that it is still suitable to say the Beracha on during Havdalah.
- Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachot 8:6, Daf 61a) explains that the reason why a candle of a Non-Jew cannot be used for Havdalah is because the Non-Jew may have used it for idol worship and it is forbidden to receive any kind of benefit from something that was used for idol worship. However, Talmud Bavli (Berachot 52b) explains that the reason we do not say a Beracha on a candle of a Non-Jew is because the candle of a Non-Jew did not “rest” on Shabbat. Rashi (Berachot 53a, Meshum Delo Shabbat) interprets that to mean that the Non-Jew did some type of work on Shabbat while using the light of the candle, but the candle itself could have been lit before Shabbat. However, Rabeinu Yonah (Berachot 53a, Rif pages 39a, Ein Mevarchin) interprets that to mean that the Non-Jew actually lit the candle during Shabbat or at the least added oil to it, which is a forbidden type of work (Melachah) on Shabbat. However if the candle was lit on Shabbat in a permitted fashion, for example for a sick person, then a person would be allowed to use it for Havdalah. It is peculiar why the Gemara considers a candle lit on Shabbat by a Non-Jew as something with which forbidden work has been done, since a Non-Jew is allowed to light fire on Shabbat or use it to do other types of work with. I have not been able to find an answer to this question.
- Talmud Bavli (Berachot 53a) explains that in this case, even if the Non-Jew lit the candle on Shabbat, since the Jew lit a new candle from it after Shabbat, when we say a Beracha over this candle we consider as if we say the Beracha on the fire that the Jew lit after Shabbat and not that the Non-Jew lit during Shabbat, therefore it is not considered to be a flame which did not rest on Shabbat. However, according to the reasoning of Talmud Yerushalmi that was mentioned in the previous note that the Non-Jew could have used it for idol worshipping purposes we have to explain that this case in the Tosefta is talking about when the Jew knows for sure that the Non-Jew did not use it for idol worship.
- Since the Jew for sure did not use it for idol worship and did not do any work with it on Shabbat the fire is not problematic and therefore even of the Non-Jew lit another candle from it we still can use it for Havdalah.
- This means when 3 medium stars come out, similar to the law of reading the Shemah in the evening. See Berachot, Tosefta 1:1.
- Since the reason that we say this Beracha to commemorate God’s creation of light, it can be said during the whole night which is considered to be the time period when God created light.
- Literally, “from now on”. Since Saturday night, namely the period of time when God created light, is over, saying the Beracha then would not be considered to be a commemoration of that event, and therefore serves no purpose.
|Tractate Berachot, Chapter 5
Tosefta 341[If it was time to make Havdalah and a person] had a candle that was hidden in its case2 or inside a lantern.3 [If] he [can]4 see the flame [of the candle], but he [can] not use its light,5 [or] he [can] use its light, but he [can] not see the flame [of the candle,6 then] he should not say a Beracha (blessing) [on seeing the light of the fire], until he [can] see the flame [of the candle] and he [can] use its light.7
מסכת ברכות פרק ה
היה לו נר טמון בתוך תיקו או בתוך הפנס רואה את השלהבת ואין משתמש לאורה, משתמש לאורה ואין רואה את השלהבת, אין מברך עד שיהיה רואה את השלהבת ומשתמש לאורה.
- Mishna 6 of chapter 8 states that a person should not make a Beracha on the light of the fire during Havdalah if he cannot receive any benefit from the fire. Our Tosefta expands on that law.
- The word written in all Tosefta manuscripts and in most manuscripts of Talmud Bavli (Berachot 53b) and Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachot 8:6, Daf 60b) which quote this Tosefta is “חיקו” which means “his lap” or “his bosom”, which refers to the folds of his clothing. Obviously this reading does not make any sense, because if someone would place a candle in his lap or in the folds of his clothing the person’s garment would catch on fire. This fact is so trivial that there is a verse in Mishlei (6:27) that says, “If a man stokes fire in his bosom, will his clothes not burn?” Due to this problem I have amended the reading in this Tosefta based on a variant reading in Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachot 8:6, Daf 60b) from the edition of tractate Berachot by Rabbi Marcus (Meir) Lehmann (Der Talmud Jeruschalmi. Traktat Berakot. Text mit dem zum Ersten Male nach einer in Palästina Aufgefundenen Handschrift Herausgegebenem Commentare des R. I. Syrelei, 1874), which is also printed along with the commentary of Rash Sirillio in all modern editions of Talmud Yerushalmi, which reads “תיקו”, meaning “its case”. The Hebrew word Tik comes from a Greek word, θήχη (Teke), which means a case or a sheath. This reading makes a lot more sense, and means that the candle was placed in some kind of a candle holder the walls of which extended above the flame thus concealing it from direct sight. It is also plausible that the common reading that says Cheiko, does not mean his lap, but rather means a cavity as it is sometimes used, therefore also referring to some kind of candle holder that encases the candle, although this is improbable.
- The Hebrew word פנס comes from the Greek word φανόζ (Fanoz) which means a lantern. It is referring to a lamp with a handle inside of which the candle would be inserted so that it does not get blown out of the wind. This lamp had a handle on the top and a door that opened on the side through which the candle was inserted. The person who was holding it in his hand could not see the flame itself because it was covered by the lid unless he lifted it up directly in front of his eyes so he could look at it from the side. The light from the candle emanated from the sides of the lantern. In Talmudic times these types of lamps were usually made out of clay and had holes punched through its sides so that the light could emanate from them. It should be noted that Rashi (Berachot 53b, Bepanas) translates the word Panas as Ashashit (עששית), which means a glass ball. This seems to be incorrect, because the next Tosefta quotes Ashashit as something different from a Panas and implies that you can always see the flame of the candle when it is sitting inside of an Ashashit. This is also pointed out by the Rashba (Berachot 53b, Haita Ohr). Ashashit is a type of a candle holder which looks like a glass ball with a hole on top through which the candle is inserted. The handle on this glass balls is on the bottom, therefore the there is nothing obstructing the flame from the view of the person when he is holding it.
Roman Clay Lantern, The Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt.
This is probably what the Tosefta refers to by Panas.
Modern Hurricane Lamp
This is probably what the Tosefta refers to by Ashashit.
- It is an argument between Rav and Rava in Talmud Bavli (Berachot 53a) if the Tosefta means that he literally must be staring at the candle and literally must be using its light that moment or It means that he is capable of seeing the light if he would look at it and he could use it if he wanted to, but he does not have to be staring at it literally. I have chosen to explain the Tosefta like the opinion of Rav, who says that he merely has to be capable of seeing the flame and using its light and not literally be using it, because that seems to make more sense as the simple meaning of the Tosefta, although I have to admit that from the literal language of the Tosefta it seems to means that he actually using it and looking at it. Therefore I have put the word “can” in square brackets to emphasize that it is my addition to the literal translation.
- Talmud Bavli (Berachot 53b) says that an example of this would be if the candle is flickering, because it is about to go out. So the flame is still visible, but the light itself is useless since it is flickering and does not clearly illuminate everything around it.
- Talmud Bavli (Berachot 53b) says that an example of this would be if the candle is placed around the corner of a wall from where the person is standing or inside a lantern which is covered in a way that when a person holds it he cannot see the flame itself. However the light of the candle still shines from the sides of the lantern and illuminates everything around.
- The reason that he has to be able to do both, see the flame itself and be able to use the light in order to make a Beracha on it is explained in the Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 3:6). The Rabbis derived it from a verse in the Torah (Bereishit 1:4), “And God saw that the light was good, and God divided between light and darkness.” We see from the verse that God did two separate actions with the light, He looked at, and He divided it. Since the whole point of saying a Beracha on seeing the light during Havdalah is to commemorate the creation of light by God, as was explained above in Tosefta 32, note 4, it makes a lot of sense to do the same type of actions as God did when He created light. Based on this reasoning the opinion of Rava that he actually must see the flame and use the light makes more sense, because that would imitating God’s creation of light more directly. Rav however holds that since this is just a commemoration and not an actual recreation it is sufficient to just be able to see the flame and use the light and not actually do it.