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A common setup get a beautiful "lighting Chanuka candles" picture is to use only the light of the menorah to illuminate the photograph, including the menorah and the hands and face of the person lighting the candle. The face, hands and arms of the person lighting it are an essential part of the picture.

I know one is not allowed to benefit from the light of the menorah. Would deliberately using the menorah as the sole illumination in a photograph transgress this prohibition? Does it change anything if someone specifically waits for the later nights of Chanuka when there are more candles on the menorah and therefore more light?

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This is the psak of Rav Eliyashiv

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    It would be nice if there were some logic to explain how this isn't considered using. – Double AA Dec 27 '19 at 18:52
  • @doubleaa ,many poskim will not give reasoning,I have asked gedolim questions and rarely are reasons given. You can pester ,but not sure how productive that is,a rebbi is different ,since you are learning lomdos from them – sam Dec 27 '19 at 19:13
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    I am not a rabbi, but here is my reasoning. The candles should be lit shortly before sunset, so there should be enough ambient light to take a photo without them. You are not using the candles to see, heat, etc. You are allowed to look at the candles which requires "using the light" (but not for a beneficial purpose except to fulfil Hanukkah), so taking a visual record (a camera works in much the same way as your eyes) should be allowed. – CJ Dennis Dec 28 '19 at 3:09
  • not everyone agrees that you light before sunset. – Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 28 '19 at 20:24
  • @CJDennis except on Friday, no one says you should light before sunset. – Double AA Dec 29 '19 at 0:02
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The light of the Hanukkiah is said to be an extension of the light of the Menorah in the Beit Hamikdash. Therefore one is not allowed to use the light of the Hanukkiah for normal secular matters such as reading or in our times taking a picture. However, our practice is to have an extra light (often called a Shamash by Ashkenazim) to be a source of "secular" light to prevent issues of using the Hanukkiah as a source of light. This was enacted because it would be difficult not to use the light of the Hanukkiah at all and so we have an extra "secular" light that intermingles with the "holy" light so that way you cannot tell which is the holy and which is the secular and you are not guilty of using the wrong light for the wrong purpose.

If one is overly concerned about using the holy light then one should add even more "secular" lights around so that way less of the "holy light" is used.

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  • Sounds very reasonable. But please tell what authority do you have for the "extension of the light of the Menorah in the Beit Hamikdash. Therefore " part? or is it your own opinion. – Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 28 '19 at 20:27

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