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Selling Coat for Chanukah/Shabbos Candles

Someone who doesn’t have any money to buy neros Erev Shabbos Channukah, however he has a coat he could sell. When he sells it and is able to buy a ner should he use it for Shabbos or Channukah (since the halacha is that neros for Shabbos comes first, however the person wasn’t machuyiv to sell his coat for neros Shabbos.)


This is a famous question, which has been asked by the Rav of Ponavitz and others.

It stands to reason that if one sells one’s coat for Chanukah candles, one does not have to spend the money for Shabbos candles. The obligation to spend the money for Shabbos candles will mean that there is no obligation to sell the coat. Therefore, it is considered as though the money is specifically reserved for Chanukah.

I have not looked up sources, because I don’t image this question was asked because of practical considerations. I leave finding the sources to the learned questioner!

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1 Comment

  1. The shailo is brought in Halichos Shlomo (b’shem the Ponvitzer Rov) and R’ Shlomo Zalman offered a teretz that since the obligation to sell ones coat for candles is only by Channukah and not by Shabbos then one should use the candles for Shabbos. They point out over there in the footnotes (Chapter 13 note 35) that in the Rambam it says one must go out collecting money or sell his coat to buy Channukah candles. By Shabbos though the Rambam only mentions going out to collect money (and *not* selling ones coat). In the SA it is paskened like this as well, by Channukah it mentions both and by Shabbos only one…However the learned questioner would realize that the Biur Halacha over there in Shabbos Siman 263 will see that not only going out to collect money but also selling ones coat. His makor is from the Pri Magadim (Siman 263 A”A sif-katan 5.) If one looks there you’ll see that it’s not so clear that the Pri Magadim means to say also by Shabbos one needs to sell his coat, but it’s certainly how the Biur Halacha learned the Pri Magadim. With all of this in mind it stands to reason that even l’halacha l’maseh if one would be in the situation and sell their coat that they should use the money to buy candles to be used davka for Shabbos (since Shabbos comes before ner Channukah.) However we are still left with a question, why didn’t the Rambam and SA (and others) say that not only one must collect money to buy Shabbos candles but also sell his coat? Because having a coat for Shabbos is also a mitzvah! (A nice savarah I heard from a one of the gedolei haposkim.)

    A Freilechen Channukah!

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