The common version of the Bavli, Shabas 21 amud 1, says:

Rami bar Chama taught: Wicks and oils that the sages said we don't light with for Shabas — we don't light [the m'nora] with them in the bes hamikdash….

This was apparently the version before Rabbi Akiva Eiger, too, for he asks (in his gilyon hashas):

It's difficult for me: What did it use "oils" for? After all, in the bes hamikdash we light nothing but pure olive oil!

(Other versions of the Bavli omit "oils".)

What answers exist to Rabbi Akiva Eiger's question?

  • 1
    Isn't "gilyon hashas" a proper noun?
    – Double AA
    May 12, 2014 at 3:59
  • 1
    @DoubleAA, is that what he named it? I thought it was just his marginal comments. But I guess that was an assumption in my part: I don't actually know.
    – msh210
    May 12, 2014 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


The Sefas Emes here says that a possible scenario would be where a small amount of other oil was mixed with olive oil, and this would be allowed to be used in the Beis Hamikdash since it is annulled in the large amount of olive oil, and so is considered as if it has been transformed into olive oil.

Hence, Rami bar Chama needed to teach that those oils which are forbidden to be used for Shabbos lighting because they do not light well are forbidden in such a scenario in the Beis Hamikdash, because of the concern that some of the inferior oil might remain by itself in the oil container and be used for lighting and not light well.

  • +1. Many thanks. He does comment on that answer v'adayen tzarich iyun baze, though. (And, note, he offers another answer also, immediately after the one you quote.)
    – msh210
    Oct 22, 2014 at 4:04

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