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Laws of Chanukah!

Nov 30, 2010 by Rabbi Pesach Siegel

Hallel is recited after the Shacharis prayers each day of Chanuka
The Al HaNissim prayer is recited in Shemoneh Esreh and in Birchas HaMazon.

If one forgot to say the Al HaNissim prayer, one does not repeat the Shemoneh Esreh or Birchas HaMazon. 

There is a mitzvah to rejoice by way of a seudah on the days of Chanuka. Divrei Torah and prayers of thanks should be incorporated into the seudah. 

Talmidim of Ashkenazic descent should light their own Menorahs with a bracha. 

Talmidim of Sephardic descent, whose parents light on their behalf (if their parents are overseas), should light their own Menorahs. Instead of making their own bracha, they should light at the same time as an Ashkenazic student, and say amen to his bracha.  

One lights one light the first night, two the second night, etc. 

On the first night, the light is placed all the way to the right side of the Menorah. On the second night, the additional (second) light is placed to the left of the first light. The additional (second) light is lit first. 

There must be sufficient fuel present at the time of lighting to last the entire required duration. (From the time of lighting until one half hour after the stars can be seen - 5:42 p.m. in TJ). 

If one lit, and an unexpected cause extinguished the lights, e.g. the Menorah was knocked over, one has fulfilled the mitzvah. 

If one lit, and an expected cause extinguished the lights, e.g. an ordinary wind, one has not fulfilled the mitzvah. 

One should not become engrossed in any activity a half hour before the time of the lighting. 

If one has already begun an activity more than a half hour before the lighting, one may continue. 

There are three opinions as to the proper time to light. (All times are TJ Standard Time)

1) Sunset (4:40)    2) Fifteen minutes after sunset (4:55)     3) When the stars can be seen (5:12) 

The minhag in Yerushalayim is to light by sunset. (Approximately 4:40 P.M.) 

If one cannot light by any of the above times, one should endeavor to light before the time when the market place empties out.  (Approximately 7:30 P.M.) 

If one has failed to light by then, one may light with a bracha as long as a single Jewish person is awake to view the lighting. 

If this is no longer possible, then one should light without a bracha. 

There are different opinions whether one should light inside or outside. If one chooses to light inside, one should light either in the beis medrash or in the designated areas of the dormitory. 

If one lights outside, like minhag Yerushalayim, one should do so in a container that will block an ordinary wind. It should be lit within one tefach (3 – 4 inches) of a doorway, opposite the mezuza. 

If one is planning on sleeping in the dormitory and eating dinner elsewhere, he should light in the yeshiva, preferably before leaving. If he failed to do so, he should light when he returns, as long as it is still early enough for someone to see the lighting. If it’s too late, then one should light without a bracha. 

If one is in the dormitory/yeshiva at the time of lighting (nightfall), and is planning on being elsewhere for dinner and sleeping over there, he should still light in the yeshiva 

If one leaves the yeshiva before the time of lighting (daytime), and plans on sleeping elsewhere as a guest, he should light where he is sleeping. 

In the above case, he cannot fulfill the mitzvah with the lighting of the host. There are two options. He may either light a Menorah himself (preferable), or purchase a share in the owner’s wicks and oil. After becoming a partner with the host, the host may light for his guest.
If one is attending a party, and is planning on returning to the dormitory to sleep, one may not fulfill the mitzvah by lighting at the party. 

If one is sleeping by one host and eating by another host, one should light by the place where he sleeps. 

If the main host is the one where one eats, e.g. he invited you for Shabbos, and found a nearby place for you to sleep, then, one should light where he eats.  

If the place where one sleeps is distant from where one eats (e.g. one is eating in Har Nof and then walking to Ramat Eshkol to sleep), one should light where he sleeps. 

One who is a guest by someone for Shabbos, and is intending on returning to the dormitory on Motzai Shabbos to sleep, should preferably light in the yeshiva. This is in a case where he will be able to light before 7:30 p.m. If this is not possible, he should light at the home of his host. It is preferable that he should stay by his host at least a half an hour after lighting or eat Melave Malka by his host.  After a half an hour, it is permissible to extinguish the lights and take the Menorah. It is preferable to verbalize at the time of lighting that one is only intending to perform the mitzvah for a period of half an hour. 

One must light in a designated dwelling place. Examples of places one may not light:

a) On the beach

b) In a hotel room that one has not legally paid for. 

One may light in a tent. In this case, it should be lit in a glass box directly outside the tent. If this is not possible, one may light inside the tent. But it is highly dangerous and not advisable. According to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, one may use a battery-powered flashlight to fulfill the mitzvah. This would be the preferred method in a dangerous situation.

 

A Freilichen Chanukah!!

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