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In determining the preferableness of fuel and wick types, the שולחן ערוך and רמ"א refer to light "hanging on wicks nicely" and the possibility of candle light being "clean" and "clear". What physical states of burning wick/fuel do these phrases describe?

Is a comparison of light "clarity" or the other parameters listed above relevant with the modern home pyrotechnology of today or is it a moot point because the standard materials used automatically exceed the necessary threshholds?

(This question is motivated by a cryptic but direct פסק I got recently from a prominent American פוסק that, as far as the רמ"א's opinion is concerned, wax candle flames are not clearer than oil flames.)

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Maybe the wax candles today are improved compared to those in the times of the Ramah? – Gershon Gold Nov 29 '10 at 5:29

My understanding is that the goal is for the light to be fairly steady, and not constantly flickering because of impurities in the fuel or wick.

I think that (assuming you use standard store-bought ingredients) the light will definitely meet or exceed the necessary threshold.

If you are making your own, I guess you should avoid making candles out of discarded flax scraps and gourd oil. Although even if you do, you will fulfill your obligation.

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Shoot! Now what I am supposed to do with all my gourd oil? – Double AA Feb 3 '13 at 18:31

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