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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

Hilchos Kriyas Shema 61-62 (page 191)
מסעיף כא עד סימן סב סעיף ב

Fulfilling the Obligation of Kriyas Shema Through Shomea K'oneh
Enunciating Words Correctly
Fingering the Tefillin When Reciting Shema

Fulling the obligation of kriyas Shema through shomea k'oneh
According to most poskim, the rule of s homea k'oneh (hearing is like speaking) allows a person to fulfill his obligation to recite Shema by listening to someone else read it. The poskim discuss whether someone who has already fulfilled his obligation can read it for someone who has not. According to the Mishna Berura, it is possible to be lenient in times of need. There is an opinion which holds that every individual must recite Shema independently. According to this opinion, the rule of shomea k'oneh does not apply to Shema because the Torah says vedibarta bom (and you shall speak of them) about Shema and because it is appropriate for every individual to accept Hashem's sovereignty independently.
(סימן סא, ס"ק מ; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 29; וראה שם, 30)
Enunciating the words correctly
When reciting words from Tanach -- whether as part of davening, for a mitzva or during Torah study -- it is important to pronounce every word correctly. Likewise, one must be careful not to slur one word with its preceding or succeeding words, particularly where it might change the meaning of those words. Additionally, one must be careful to pronounce the words according to the rules of dikduk, including the dagesh, sheva na and sheva nach. Chazal specifically emphasized proper pronunciation with respect to the words of kriyas Shema, which is the acceptance of Hashem's sovereignty and acknowledgement of His oneness.
( סימן סא, סעיף כא-כג וס"ק לד-לה)

Fingering the tefillin when reciting Shema
The Mechaber writes that a person should touch the tefillin on his arm when reciting the words [ u'keshartam/u'kesharteim l'os al] yadecha/ yedchem, and that he should touch the shel rosh when reciting the words [ v'hayu] l'totafos. Some people kiss their hand after touching their tefillin because some of the kedusha from the tefillin passed to the hand. Alternatively, there are people who touch the tefillin with the retzuos or with their tzitizs [which already have kedusha] and kiss those.
( סימן סא, סעיף כה וס"ק לט; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 28)

  • Chazal instituted the recitation of the verse Baruch Shem in an undertone after the pasuk Shema Yisrael.
  • If Baruch Shem was recited without proper kavana or was omitted, it should be inserted at the point where the person remembered about it.
  • Someone who hears two berachos at once [or within toch k'dei dibbur of each other] may respond with one Amen to both berachos. Alternatively, he may respond with two consecutive Amens, intending one for each beracha. In this case, it is proper that he add a vav before the second Amen (i.e. Amen v'Amen).

  • Reciting Shema in a loud voice in a noisy area

  • Reciting berachos by means of hirhur (thought)

  • Davening in languages other than Lashon Hakodesh



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.