In the Haneirot Halalu paragraph, said by many, after lighting the Chanukah candles, there is a phrase stating "we are not permitted to use them". I also understand that the candles must stay lit for at least 1/2 hour after darkness, or after the start of candle lighting, whichever is later.

I have some question regarding what is in the usage prohibition:

  • I have heard that you can't read by the candle lights (say in a dark room). What about warming yourself up by its heat?
  • After the half hour minimum is done, and say the candles are still lit, can one make any use of the flame or even draw out some of its oil?
  • Out of curiosity, is there anything wrong with either/both of the answers below? – Y     e     z Dec 15 '15 at 1:38
  • @yEz They seem fine. I upvoted both answers, though the 1st remains at 0, so someone else didn't like it. I guess this question hasn't gotten that much interest. – DanF Dec 15 '15 at 14:04

The Ran in Maseches Shabbos 9a of the Rif, s.v. אי נמי לשיעורא, cites a dispute between the Rif and some of the Geonim about your second question. The Rif held that after the time period of the mitzvah has passed, one could use the light, or take some of the oil. The Geonim disagreed, at least about taking the oil, and held that even if it went out on its own, you should save the leftover oil for tomorrow's lighting. The logic which the Ran brings for their opinion, namely that the entire volume of oil is dedicated to the mitzvah, should similarly prohibit using the light.

The Tur and Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim 672:2 go with the Rif. The Mogen Avrohom there #4 brings the opinion of the Maharshal that one may extinguish the flame but may not use the flame if it remains lit (because someone who sees you using the flame won't know how much time it has been lit). He also cites the Bach that both using and extinguishing are forbidden.

Mishneh Berurah 672:7 writes that if one wants to extinguish it after the time has elapsed, he should make the explicit condition that he is only apportioning for the mitzvah the amount of oil necessary for the mitzvah. In 672:8, he cites the opinion that one should not use the flame while it remains lit.

This doesn't answer everything but addresses some of what you ask:

Permitted and Forbidden Use of the Chanuka Candles It is forbidden to benefit from the Chanuka lights even for mitzva purposes like studying Torah or eating the Shabbos meal. Three reasons are given for this: 1) Not using them for personal benefit makes it clear that they are for the purpose of mitzva and persumei nisa. 2) Since the candles commemorate the miracle that occurred with the Menorah in the Beis Hamikdash, using their light is forbidden just as the general rules of hekdesh forbid people to benefit from the lights of the Beis Hamikdash Menorah. 3) Dedicating them completely to the mitzva accords honor to the mitzva. The Rosh writes, based on this third reason, that even temporary use of the Chanuka lights is forbidden. It is permissible to remain in the house while the candles are burning even if there is no other light. According to some poskim, walking around the house is not a violation of the prohibition of hana'ah. Likewise, Rav Chaim Kanievsky holds that they may be used as a night light for someone who is scared of the dark. According to Rav Nissim Karelitz and Rav Shmuel Wosner, it is forbidden to benefit from the heat produced by the candles. It is, however, permissible to enjoy the scent of the candles because the fragrance added to the candles is not designated for the mitzva. According to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, only unintentional pleasure is permitted from the fragrance. Improper use of the candles does not invalidate the mitzva. [שו"ע תרעג, א, משנ"ב ח-יא ושעה"צ יא; ביאורים ומוספים 'דרשו', 13-15 ו־17; ועוד בנוגע לשימוש

Taken from the email: Daf HaYomi B'Halacha Daily Email - 21 Kislev/Dec 3

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