20

Is it an issue to discard a menorah that has been used for the mitzvah of Neros Chanuka?

What if the menorah is made from something not usually used for a menorah? For example,bottles, cans, potatoes, ice?

  • I've seen people in yeshiva who forgot to bring a menorah from home use inverted Styrofoam cups, donuts (!), and bananas (!!!) for lack of a better alternative. – Shokhet Nov 6 '14 at 22:51
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Mishna B'rura to 21:1 says that once a thing used for a mitzva is no longer usable for the mitzva, it can be discarded, but should not be discarded in a degrading manner or used for a degrading purpose. He considers deliberately throwing it onto the garbage heap as an example of discarding it in a degrading manner. [I've heard recommended that such an object be put in a separate bag and then in the garbage.] [However, see comments to this answer regarding whether a m'nora is included in this category.]

[As I wrote, he only says this about something used for a mitzva and no longer usable. I conjecture that his not considering a still-usable object is simply because such things aren't generally discarded at all, but that, if bal tashchis is not an issue, the same rule will apply.]

[As Double AA notes in his answer, this does not apply to things like m'zuzos and t'filin.]

As always, for practical matters, consult your rabbi rather than relying on what you read here.

  • 1
    Thinking some more: Do you have evidence that a Menora is ever considered Tashmishei Mitzva? The Mishna Berura is referring to a specific category of objects, not just anything that was ever used for a mitzva (eg, the plate I ate Seuda Shelishit on last week). I know I can't prove it isn't from my answer's kol vachomer (because of dayo) but I wonder... – Double AA Dec 18 '12 at 18:51
  • Well, at least this sourceless website agrees with me. – Double AA Dec 18 '12 at 19:27
  • @DoubleAA, good point. I'll edit the answer. – msh210 Dec 18 '12 at 19:32
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You may discard it. The gemara (Megillah 26b) states:

תנו רבנן: תשמישי מצוה - נזרקין, תשמישי קדושה - נגנזין. ואלו הן תשמישי מצוה: סוכה, לולב, שופר, ציצית. ואלו הן תשמישי קדושה: דלוסקמי ספרים, תפילין ומזוזות, ותיק של ספר תורה, ונרתיק של תפילין ורצועותיהן
Our Rabbis taught: ‘Accessories of religious observances [when disused] are to be thrown away; accessories of holiness are to be stored away. The following are accessories of religious observances: a sukkah, a lulab, a shofar, fringes. The following are accessories of holiness: large sacks for keeping scrolls of the Scripture in, tefillin and mezuzoth, a mantle for a sefer torah, and a tefillin bag and tefillin straps’. (Translation from here)

A menorah is certainly in the former category, especially considering you don't actually need a menorah as you could light candles directly on a table! (Although see discussion here.)

  • I am curious as to why a menorah is "certainly" in the former category if a tefillin bag is in the latter. – SAH Feb 16 '15 at 6:09
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    @sah tefilliin bags service tefilin. Menoras service candles. Candles don't have the sanctity of tefilin – Double AA Feb 16 '15 at 15:28

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