Field menorahs: Flashlights instead of candles

Military rabbis discuss lighting Hanukkah candles during field operations, say flashlights may be used instead of candles if need be.

Uzi Baruch ,

Rabbi Ben Zion Hacohen Kook
Rabbi Ben Zion Hacohen Kook
צילום: עצמי

Dozens of military rabbis from the IDF's Division 319 participated in an educational day focusing on the various challenges of military rabbis.

The event was held at the initiative of Division 319's Major Rabbi Uriel Shmidov, and included rabbis from every unit, from the troops to the commanders.

Division 319 is a combat reserve division which constantly trains its soldiers to deal with various scenarios.

Topics included how to deal with life-threatening issues on Shabbat (Sabbath), kashrut (dietary laws), and dealing with corpses. Rabbi Ben Zion Hacohen Kook of Beit Horaah Clali Yeshiva in Jerusalem spoke about life-threatening situations on Shabbat and kashrut issues.

Rabbi Kook noted that the previous day saw him ask leading haredi Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky about several issues in halakha (Jewish law), receiving his permission to rule the way he did.

At the end of his lesson, Rabbi Kook held a question-answer session with the military rabbis, one of whom asked how soldiers should light Hanukkah candles while in the field. Rabbi Kook answered that if necessary, the soldier can use an electric flashlight and say the candle lighting blessings.