Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A common Chanukah question

A common chanukah question:

Question: If my spouse lights a chanukiah in our home on time, and I will not come home until later that night, do I light when I arrive at home?

One's spouse may light on his behalf at home, exempting him from his obligation to light. However, there may be a separate obligation to see a chanukiah, personally. Therefore, assuming someone will be awake to see his chanukiah when he lights, the person who comes home late should state that he is not relying upon the lighting taking place in his home, and he should light upon arriving home.

[I used male pronouns to simplify the language, but I believe this applies equally to men and women.]

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 676:3, 677:3; Mishneh Berurah 677:14; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 676:7; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 5:43:1; Mishneh Halachot 15:207:1)


  1. and if the person can see someone else's chanukiah, or the one that the other person in the house lit?

  2. This is a common question, but I think a more interesting question could be - if a husband (or any other member of the family) is coming home an hour after candle lighting time, should the family wait so that they can light candles together.

    I know that the Halacha seems to say that it is more important to light on time, but from a Shalom Bayit perspective, isn't it nicer for everyone to be present when candles are lit (assuming that everyone will be home at a reasonable time while people are still awake and there is foot traffic outside).

  3. I saw you posted the Technion Chanukia lighting device ( ) . So everyone knows about "Purim Torah" - here's a shaileh a la Chanuka Torah! Since this device is initiated by a physical action, could you make bracha and light candles this way? :-)

    1. I mean a physical action by a person who is obligated in the mitzva . .

  4. Anonymous 3:42 AM-
    I think he can fulfill it that way, yes.

    Michael S-
    Per R' Eider (Halachos of Chanukah, pg 28), the family may wait in this case, since we do value publicizing the miracle to the household.

    Michael M-
    I think not... Good to hear from you!