Shabbat 26 - Oils for Shabbat lamp

Although Rabbi Ishmael prohibits using the malodorous oily residue of pitch ("itran") - out of fear that one may not be able to stand the smell and leave the room, which would diminish the honor due to Shabbat - the Sages allow all oils for the Shabbat lamp. This includes sesame oil, nut oil, radish oil, fish oil, watermelon oil, the aforementioned "itran", and naphtha, another derivative of pitch.

In addition, one should not kindle the Shabbat light with balsam. It is volatile, and should not be used even on weekdays, but on Shabbat there is a danger that he will use some of it from the lamp, thus indirectly extinguishing the light.

There was one a mother-in-law who hated her daughter-in-law. She told her, "Go anoint yourself with balsam oil." She then told her, "Go and light the lamp." The girl dutifully went to lit the lamp, the fire leapt out and consumed her.

Rabbi Tarfon wanted to declare only olive oil valid for Shabbat lamp, but Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri rose to his feet and said to Rabbi Tardon, "What shall the Babylonians do, who have only sesame oil? And what shall the Medians do, who have only nut oil? And what shall the Alexandrians do, who have only radish oil? Rather, do not add to any oils that are already prohibited by the Sages."

Art: Theo van Rysselberghe - Portrait of Madame Monnon, the Artist's Mother-in-Law