Lighting Chanukah Candles on Motzei Shabbat: How does one light candles on Motzei Shabbat?
Rav Aviner: After Arvit, one returns home, makes havdalah, then lights Chanukah candles and sings “Hanerot Halalu” and “Ma’oz Tzur.”
Who Blesses on Chanukah Candles: In a family with several menorot, who makes the beracha on lighting candles?
Rav Aviner: It depends. According to Ashkenazi tradition, everyone blesses on their own menorah, or at least only the men. Every male in the home must light their own chanukia with a beracha, but if the women would like to also, there’s no problem with this. By the Sefaradim, only one chanukia is lit per home, even if there are many men living there, and only the father blesses. There are some communities of sefaradim where the father blesses on the first candle, because it is the main mitzva, and for every subsequent candle, another member of the household makes the blessing (Ben Ish Chai, Vayeshev). However, most Sefaradim only light one chanukia, except for those who were surrounded by an Ashkenazi culture and their children want to light their own menorot, in which case everyone may light for themselves, without a beracha.
Lighting Late: When is the latest time one may light candles and still make a beracha?
Rav Aviner: As long as people are still walking in the street, he may still light the menorah with a beracha; the exact time varies from place to place. For someone who lights indoors, he may still make a beracha on lighting the candles even later—as long as someone else in the house is awake as well.
Returning Late: If someone returns home from work late, and everyone is already asleep, should he light with a beracha?
Rav Aviner: He should light without a beracha; since everyone is already asleep, it’s not considered a residential home.
Lighting the Menorah at Work: May I light Chanukah candles at my work, in order to include non-religious Jews who might not light otherwise?
Rav Aviner: Yes, but without a beracha, since this isn’t a residential home, and the main obligation of Chanukah candles is on a home.
Lighting Candles in the Incorrect Order: When I lit Chanukah candles, I accidentally lit them from right to left, instead of the usual left to right. What should I do?
Rav Aviner: It doesn’t make a difference in terms of the mitzva; you fulfilled the mitzva this way and don’t need to light again.
Relighting Candles: If the Chanukah candles go out, must they be relit?
Rav Aviner: If the candles were filled with the proper amount of oil and the menorah was lit in the correct place, there’s no need to relight the extinguished candles. However, if the candles went out within the first half hour, it is proper to light them again. If the wind blew out the candles, they must be relit without a beracha.
Lighting Candles in a Hotel: For one who is sleeping over at a hotel (where it is usually prohibited to light any type of flame in the guest room), where should he light Chanukah candles?
Rav Aviner: If possible and permissible, he should light candles in his room, be present while they are lit, and extinguish them after a half hour. If this is not allowed, he should light either in a dining room or a window facing outside in the hotel lobby.
Lighting Candles on a Plane: I’m planning on traveling on an overnight flight on Chanukah, and won’t have a chance to light candles before I board. What should I do?
Rav Aviner: You should recite the berachot and then turn on an incandescent (not fluorescent) flashlight, and leave it on for a least a half hour.
Rav Shlomo Chaim Aviner is the French-born head of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in the Old City of Jerusalem. Shu”t SMS questions can be sent to Rav Aviner at
Translated by Tzvi Silver/JLNJ Israel