Sunday, 17 December 2017

Waiting for Spouse to Light Menora

Question: I can’t leave work every night in time to light when it gets dark. Should my wife light for me?
Answer: The Gemara (Shabbos 21b) writes that the time for lighting the menora is when everyone from the market has left. Thus, Rambam (Chanuka 4:5) writes that the latest time to light is half an hour after lighting time.
Nonetheless, the Rema (OC 672:2) follows Tosafos (Shabbos 21b) who writes that as nowadays we light indoors, we have more time. Thus, the Magen Avraham (OC 672:6) and Elya Rabba (672:2) write that providing one’s family members are awake, one can light all night up until dawn (See Aruch Hashulchan OC 672:7). The Mishna Berura (672:11) writes that one should even wake up their family members if necessary so that they can light with a beracha (See Rivevos Ephraim 4:159). However, R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 4:105:7) disagrees, writing that while it is ideal for others to see the lights, one would perform the mitzva regardless of there being any witnesses.
While ashkenazi practice is that every adult lights their own menora, married women typically do not light their own. The Chasam Sofer (Shabbos 21b) explains that this minhag developed because women didn’t light in the olden days when people lit outdoors (See Elya Rabba 671:3). Nonetheless, the Mishna Berura (675:9) writes that if they do want to light their own, they can do so with a beracha.
R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 3:51) and R’ Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 4:170) write that if a married man is going to be home late, he should ideally ask his wife to light on his behalf at tzeis.
Nonetheless, R’ Yaakov Kaminetzsky (Emes L’yaakov OC 672:n586) writes that one’s family need not light at the first possible opportunity, but should rather wait for one’s husband or wife to return from work, as they would be upset if they weren’t included.
In conclusion, if one’s husband is going to be a few hours late, it would be ideal for his wife to light on his behalf. If he isn’t going to be too long, she should ideally wait. Alternately, she may light for herself, and he lights again when he gets home, though he must intend not to fulfil his obligation with her lighting.

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