Q: As my usual Chanukah candles do not burn for long I decided to use tea lights for Friday night. [This is necessary because we light Chanukah candles on Friday at the same time as (or earlier than) Shabbat candles (3:44 pm in London this year). Yet the Chanukah lights need to burn for 30 minutes after dark, ie until ~5:20pm.] In the shop just now I saw that there was a selection of scented tea lights that I thought might be pleasant but only after having purchased them did it occur to me that these might fall foul of the rule not to derive any benefit from the Chanukah lights.
The point I suppose is whether it is only the light which one mustn’t use or whether it is any form of enjoyment/benefit, for example, the aroma.
A: TY for your interesting and practical Q. I am inclined to think it is permitted, as long as one does not explicitly do something (hard to think what this might be) to demonstrate that s/he is deriving benefit from the aroma. However I have found that some posekim say one may not derive benefit from the heat/warmth of the candles, ie the prohibition of hanaah [benefit] is not limited to the light alone. Nevertheless, I feel that aroma may be different as the benefit is subtle and completely passive.
I would like to look into this more closely. In the meantime, I think you are fine to use them, as the reason for the prohibition is so that it will be apparent that the lights you have kindled are for the mitzvah, not merely to illuminate the room. The fact that your candles also happen to be aromatic will not by itself promote any such confusion.
Rabbi Rashi Simon