Tuesday, 27 December 2011

HHH: Review of R Shimon Eider's Halachos of Chanukah

Note: HHH = Hagahot, He'arot, Hassagot.
Halachos of Chanukah by R Shimon Eider Z"L
Published by Feldheim, Compact Edition October, 2002
ISBN 1-5330-584-x
During the last several years l've been learning various "Kitzur Halachah" S'farim. I have found most of them useful, some have been better than average, and nearly all omit points or have questionable "judgment calls" in a few cases.

Some Comments About the Author's Halachic Series

Around the late 1970's before the Artscroll Revolution took off, I anticipated that R Shimon Eider's Halachah S'farim would soon dominate Anglo Halachic literature.
Even today, his Laws of Passover are IMHO the best of its kind on the subject. However, his other major works on Niddah and Shabbat have since been equaled or even surpassed.
I'm not sure what slowed R Eider Z"L's output down. He seemed prolific enough to become a dominating presence, before he practically stopped publishing.

First of all, I really enjoy his Halachos of Chanukkah, although I would have called it Hilchos Haukkah instead :-). It is quite comprehensive, clear, and his footnotes are quite useful.
I'm only going to "nipick" in order to suggest some improvements that would make it even better from my perspective.

1. R Eider omits little. One case I would have liked to see is a more explicit treatment of the Maftir of 2nd Shabbat of Hanukkah. OTOH, the Haftarah is mentioned [section VI C around p. 50].

2. Another case I cannot figure out is EG if one eats dinner out-of-town and then goes home to sleep. When one eats in-town, he requires going home first to light. Out-of-town remains fuzzy to me. [Section IV A 7 P.36 does discuss the case of a wedding. Section IV A 10 discusses the same city]

3. He recommends lighting in shul AFTER any speech between Minchah and Maariv [Arvit]. [P. 39 Section IV C 2]. From what I've heard, ipcha mistavra, i.e. let the pirsumei nissa in shul start earlier and therefore last longer

4. His case in favor of lighting on an airplane [p. 37 Section IV A 16] disturbs me because this seems to me as clearly lacking "beito". Lighting on a train with a private compartment or a boat/ship with a private cabin or state room OTOH could make sense to me. But an airline seat, or a seat on a train or bus, makes no sense to me as "beito". To be fair I should check out his sources in fn 37. However, if the Shu"T M'harsham cited there is specifically dealing with a train that has a private compartment, then I will stand pat on my Sheetah

Overall, the book is well-written, well-foot-noted, and a great resource for the average Observant Jew to go a step beyond EG Kitzur Shulchan Aruch on this topic.


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