Sunday, 18 October 2015

A Seven-Branched Candelabrum

Question: Can I buy a seven-branched candelabrum made out of glass?
Answer: The Gemara (Rosh Hashana 24a; Menachos 28b) writes that it is assur deoraisa to create a seven-branched candelabrum as the Torah (Shemos 20:20) forbids imitating any of the kelim of the mishkan.
The rishonim debate whether this applies to all seven-branched candelabra or just exact replicas of the original menora. The Bechor Shor (Rosh Hashana 24a) holds that any seven-branched candelabrum regardless of its size or shape, etc. is assur while Meiri (Rosh Hashana 24a) writes that if it is even slightly different from the original menora, then it is permitted (See Chacham Zvi 60). The Shulchan Aruch (YD 141:8) follows the Maharik (75) who writes that if it would be kosher bedieved in the mishkan then it is assur.
R’ Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (Salmas Chaim 272) writes that one shouldn’t even make a model of a menorah for educational reasons. R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe YD 3:33), however, disagrees, writing that Rambam (Beis Habechira 7:10) allows one to make a seven-branched candelabrum out of wood or earthenware as such candelabra would not be fit as a menora in the mishkan (ibid 1:18).
R' Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 3:411) writes that there is no issue with an electric light fitting with seven lights.
Based on this, one would be able to buy such a candelabrum made out of glass.

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