Sunday, 9 December 2018

Silver Menora

Question: I have a nice silver menora though it takes a lot of effort to clean. Is there an advantage to using this over a cheap disposable one?
Answer: When the Bnei Yisrael sang shira after crossing the yam suf, they said “zeh eli veanvehu, this is my G-d and I will glorify Him” (Shemos 15:2). The Gemara (Sukka 11b; Nazir 2b) writes that this passuk teaches us that we should not just perform mitzvos in their most basic manner, but we should make extra effort to build a nicer sukka and spend more money on our lulav and esrog, etc. Similarly, the Gemara (Shabbos 23b) teaches that one who is particular about lighting their Shabbos candles will merit having children who will be Torah scholars. The Tur (OC 263) and Bach (OC 263:1) qualify this to those who make beautiful lights. Rashi writes that this applies equally to the Chanuka menora.
Thus, the Shulchan Aruch (OC 673:3) writes that earthenware dishes should not be reused as they are not nice when used again. The Mishna Berura (673:28) adds that one should go the extra mile to ensure that they have a beautiful menora. Likewise, the Chida (Birkei Yosef OC 673:7) and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (139:5) write that one who can afford to, should buy themselves a silver menora.
Similarly, the Kaf Hachaim (OC 673:60) writes that according to the Chessed Avraham, there are fifteen levels of how nice a menora can be. The very best is a gold menora followed by a silver one and then various other semi-precious and regular metals, followed by glass, wood, bone, and various earthenware ones, etc.
R’ Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi 8:157) notes that even though the actual oil may be placed into a small glass cup, this does not detract from the hiddur mitzva of using a silver menora.
In conclusion, it is most appropriate to use a beautiful menora rather than a cheap one. This is particularly apt on Chanuka, when we are particular to perform the mitzva of lighting the menora in the very best manner, mehadrin min hamehadrin.

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