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Chapter 139:19

19. [The following rules apply] when a person is not at home [during the Chanukah festival]: If he knows that his wife is lighting the candles at home, he should light in the place where he is located without reciting a blessing (1). Preferably, he should listen to the blessings from someone who is lighting in that place with the intent of fulfilling his obligation, answer "Amen", and then light without reciting the blessings.

A person whose wife does not kindle [Chanukah lights] at home and similarly, students who are boarding with a family, must light [the Chanukah lights] and recite the blessings. Alternatively, they may become partners with the head of the household, by paying him a minimal amount ("Peruta" (2)) for a share in the oil and wicks. The head of the household should add some extra oil for the sake of the partners. They should, nevertheless, do their best ("Le'hader") to kindle their own [Chanukah lights].

A person who is in his city, but away from his home at the time when the [Chanukah lights] should be kindled, is required to return home and kindle them.


(1) The Ramah (677:3) states that such a person should have the specific intention not to fulfill his obligation with the candles lit by his wife. In such an instance, he should recite the blessings before lighting the candles himself. Many authorities accept this rationale (See Mishnah Berurah 677:15-16).

(2) A "perutah" was the coin of lowest value in times of the Talmud. By contributing a minimal amount of money, the person acquires a share in the oil or candles (it is not necessary to contribute half the value). The head of the household will then light and say the blessings on his behalf, and he will answer "Amen."


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