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We would be happy to give some reasons for not being able to light Chanukah candles.

Please know that this is not an exhaustive list. The reasons we didn't list are just as valid.

Trauma connected to fire

Being unhoused

Working evenings and night shifts

Living in a building that prohibits candle lighting

Being in a place where it’s unsafe to display Judaism publicly

Not being able to afford a chanukiah and candles

Being in the hospital during Chanukah

Not having an accessible chanukiyah

Trauma around Chanukah

Light or other sensory sensitivities

Disability affecting arm mobility and/or gripping candles

Needing to spend Chanukah alone and finding the idea of candle lighting by oneself too painful

Being in a residential treatment facility

What did we miss? Please comment below.

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Question: Is A Mitzvah to Eat basically for people with eating disorders? Why else would someone need to eat on a fast day?

Answer: Having an eating disorder is just one of many reasons why someone might need to eat on a fast day or relate to mitzvot differently. These reasons include, but are not limited to, a variety of physical and mental health conditions, trauma, and disabilities.

Whatever your reason for needing to relate to mitzvot differently, you are part of our community. We see you, we support you, and we welcome you as part of the communal space we are building and growing together.

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Answer: We would be happy to explain the general concept. We are choosing not to name specific conditions however, because there are many circumstances in which someone would be required to eat chametz. We can't list them all, and we don't want to imply that only the ones listed are valid.

It's important to know that many (but not all) people have enough flexibility and choices around eating that they can eliminate chametz for Pesach, and still get enough nourishment. Many Ashkenazi Jews are able to get enough nourishment when eliminating both chametz and kitniyot, while others may either choose to, or be required to, eat kitniyot in order to be fully nourished.

Other people may have chronic conditions or disabilities where they have very little or no flexibility around food. In fact, they may require very specific foods or meal replacements year round. If these foods contain chametz and they are required in order to survive, they are not only allowed to be eaten, but there is actually a mitzvah to eat them.

Others may have acutely dangerous conditions but more flexibility with foods, however, if there is even the possibility that changing their foods for Pesach would be detrimental, we do not risk endangering them.

We would like to close by thanking the people who asked us this question. We are committed to raising awareness and providing education around issues of health and mitzvot centered on food and eating. Your questions help guide us in this process.

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