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Dec 6, 2023

Interesting Psak: taking oil from a tank to light Hanukkah candles

Another interesting psak from Rav Zilbershtein regarding the issue of celebrating Hanukkah while fighting a war in Gaza is the following:

If someone in the army wants to light menorah but has no oil to do so, would he be allowed to take some oil/grease form an Israeli tank and then light it with a wick in a house they took over and are stationed in temporarily or wherever else they might be sleeping?

Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, rav of ramat Elchonon neighborhood of Bnei Braq, paskened that he can definitely take some oil form the tank for lighting the menora. He should only take enough oil for one candle, as that is all he needs, and it is worth a very small amount and the IDF also wants the soldiers to have the segula of the Hanukkah candles and to get strength from them so they are definitely ok with him taking a small amount of oil for that.. 

This psak actually is what led Rav Zilbershtein to the psak yesterday I posted about no obligation for lighting menora in Gaza due to the security issues and it not really being his home. Rav Zilbershtein does not seem to say that one should NOT take the oil form the tank because there is no obligation to light, but he does say one can light without a bracha, so I guess one can still take the oil from the tank to light a candle without a bracha and not fulfill a mitzva. It does probably give them energy, and excitement, and lift morale, so I have no problem with that.

The question that does come to mind is if it is ok to take a bit of oil form the tank, what Rav Zilbershtein says makes sense, but only when it is one soldier doing it. If ten thousand, or a hundred thousand soldiers, are all taking a bit of oil from the tank to light, that is going to be a significant dent in the tanks oil reserves and a nice amount of money altogether that the IDF might care about. 

I actually do not think it is practically a big deal as 1. the army is probably ok with it. I dont understand why they cant ask a commander if it is ok or if someone might ask a higher up and they might make a policy that it is fine. and 2. civilians will almost definitely be sending Hanukkah supplies to soldiers, and the IDF itself also might. It seem unlikely to me that most soldiers will be stuck with nothing available for lighting.

source: Hamechadesh

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1 comment:

  1. I'm just pleasantly surprised that Rav Zilbershtein is still answering questions given he can no longer end them with "And then I asked my father-in-law" or "brother-in-law"


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