Friday, December 18, 2009

One Chanukkiah per family

1st of Tebet, 5770
Rosh Chodesh Tebet

Unlike most Mitzvot, Chanukah is not an individual Mitzva like Tefila or Tzedaka but a family Mitzva. In some ways, similar (but not identical) to the Mitzva of lighting Shabbat candles. So, as we have already explained, according to our Sepharadic Mashadi tradition we light one Menorah per family, not per individual.

For example, if one’s son or daughter lives overseas, and still depends financially on his or her family he/she does not need to light his own candles. In both cases, if those who are away from home still want to light the candles away from home, they could do it but without saying a Berakha. To this effect, a son or daughter is considered part of the immediate family while they are financially dependent on their parents (somekh al shulchan abiv). However, if they live on their own home and file their own Tax return, they should light their own candles.

If you are spending Shabbat in your parents or in-laws’ home, your immediate family (husband, wife, children) is considered part of the extended family of your parents, since you also partake the same food, house, etc. So, when you go to your parent’s house for Shabbat they should light the candles and your family is included in their Mitzvah without further requirements. However, if you and your family are going to arrive at your parent’s house after Shabbat has begun, then you should light Chanukah candles at your own house. In case the Chanukkiah is left lit at your house, you have to take extreme precautions to avoid any fire hazard!

DON’T FORGET to light Chanukkah candles before Shabbat candles!

Shabbat Shalom!