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Re-Kindling the Chanukah Candles

That which we pasken “kavsah ain zakuk lah” (there is no obligation to re-kindle the lights after they go out) by the neros of Channukah is somKavsaewhat difficult to understand. People go out of their way to light in the proper place and proper time in order that there should be the best kiyum of the mitzvah of pirsumei nisa as possible, yet if by accident or by an outside force the candles go out, “cavsa ain zakuk lah” … why is this? Surely the whole ‘mahus’ of the mitzvah is pirsumei nisa?


This is an interesting question.

It is possible that although publicizing the miracle is a central purpose of the lighting, the essential definition of the lighting is not publicizing the miracle, but only recalling it by lighting, as the words of al ha-nisim suggest (“they established the eight lights of Chanukah, to give thanks and praise”).

The wording of the Rambam (3:3) does not suggest this understanding, but elsewhere (4:13) the wording leans towards this explanation.

Alternatively, it is possible that the definition of the lighting is to publicize the miracle, yet like all mitvzos, Chazal wished to enact a deed, a “mitzvah act” that is not dependent on external factors. Therefore, the lighting itself, in a place and time that has the potential to make a pirsum to the public, is sufficient to fulfill the mitzvah.

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