Question:

How does a shamesh solve the problem of benifiting from the light of the menorah, that although the shamesh produces some light if some does various functions in a room with a menorah that has a shamesh the majority of the light is coming from the shamesh.

Answer:

Here are some of the rules regarding benefiting from the candles when you have a shamash.

  1. Even if  you don’t have a shamash you are allowed to walk into the room  the candles are in and you do not have to specifically close your eyes. It is not considered having benefit from them unless you are looking for something specific.
  2. If there is a shamash lit, you may do things next to the Shamash, but not next to the light of the other candles.
  3. If there is a shamash lit, l’halacha you are allowed to do other activities there even though some of the light is from the candles. The reason for this is because, the reason we don’t benefit from the candles is because it is disrespectful to use them for anything else but their mitzvah, and if there are other candles there it isn’t disrespectful. However the opinion of the Magen Avrohom is like you are saying, and therefore l’chatchila it is better not to do work even if there is a shamash, unless there is another light  there is a second light on. Since we have electricity, it is better to turn a light on, and then doing anything in the room is l’chatchila.

Sources:

O:CH 673-1, M:B ibid 20, Biur Halacha D:H Yihiyeh Lohr Nosaf.

Tags: chanukah candles

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