Where Does a Guest Light Chanuka Candles?
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
According to Ashkenazim
- Someone who is a guest at another person’s house on Chanukah, according to Ashkenazim, should light one’s own Chanukia (see footnote for background). 
- Some say that one may not light at a person’s house unless he stays there for all eight days of Chanukah. If one stays there for less time, he should give the host a prutah to fulfill his obligation. However, some say that as long as one stays there one ‘day’ one may light there. 
According to Sephardim
- According to Sephardim, one who has someone lighting for him such as his wife or parent is exempt from lighting. Therefore, a Sephardic yeshiva student fulfills his obligation with his parents’ lighting. Similarly, a orphaned Yeshiva student fulfills his obligation with the lighting of the Yeshiva. 
- A guest, who has no one lighting for him, should give his host a prutah to join. According to Sephardim he is not allowed to be stringent and light himself if he is a guest that is staying over for free.
- According to Sephardim, a guest who is not independent of the homeowner (such as where one doesn’t pay for expenses or he only pays for some expenses but not for every need) should give his host a prutah to join with his lighting. He may not have intention not to fulfill his obligation with the owner’s lighting and then light himself with a Bracha, however, he is allowed to light by himself without a Bracha. 
Staying Over for Shabbat
- If a person (and his family if he's married) is staying over at his parents (or in-laws or the like) for Shabbat, according to most poskim, he can light there on Friday afternoon. According to some poskim he should join with the lighting of his parents by giving them a prutah. According to Sephardim if he is staying at his in-laws or parents he should fulfill his obligation with the lighting of his parents or in-laws and not light himself. It is preferable to give them a prutah to join with them. 
- If a person was at his parents or the like for Shabbat he can light there or join with his parents' lighting on Motzei Shabbat as long as he stays there for 30 minutes after the candles are lit.  Sephardic poskim hold that he should light when he gets back home.
Eating Over for Friday Night
- If a person is staying home for Shabbat and is just eating the Friday night meal somewhere else he should light at home before Shabbat (after Plag Mincha) so that the candles stay lit for a half hour after Tzet Hakochavim.
- An unmarried yeshiva bachur who is invited out Friday night can join in the lighting of his host if he's there when they're lighting, even though he's going to go back to the dorms to sleep that night.
Giving a prutah to the host
- If one is fulfilling one’s obligation by giving the host a prutah (a few cents) one should make sure to
- Some say that the host should add a little oil because of the guest. 
- The host can give the guest the oils and wicks as a gift (and the guest doesn’t have to give the host a prutah). 
- If a person is staying over at someone's house for free, some say that he doesn't need to actually give a prutah since the homeowner is going to light for him for free (as a gift).
If someone is lighting at home
- A married man who is away from home during Chanukah and his wife is lighting at home, according to Ashkenazim, there is what to rely on light with a Bracha as long as one has in mind not to fulfill one’s obligation with one’s wife’s lighting. However, it’s preferable to either hear the Bracha from someone else and then light or make sure to light before one’s wife. According to Sephardim, one is exempt with one’s wife’s lighting and if one wants to be strict and light one may only light without a Bracha, even if they have in mind not to fulfill their mitzvah with one’s wife’s lighting. 
- Someone in a city that’s totally not Jewish, some say that even if his family is lighting for him at home he should light with a bracha, while others disagree. 
Other laws of a guest
- A guest who is relying on the home owner and the home owner asks him to light, he can light for everyone with a bracha. 
- A guest of a motel or hotel which is just for guests and not a home owner, needs to light for himself (unless there is someone lighting for him at home). 
- Two people who live in a one apartment if they eat together and pay for the food together, they should light one set of candles (in which they both have a potion) and switch off with who should do the Bracha. If they pay for their own food separately even if they are family members they should light separately. 
- Someone who doesn’t have a house and isn’t a dependent of someone’s house, can’t light candles. If he eats at someone’s house, he can light without a bracha or join in the lighting of the owner (by paying for a portion of the candles). However, he can make the Brachot HaRoeh for seeing the candles (She’assa Nisim and Shechianu on the first night). 
- #Rav Sheshet in Gemara Shabbat 23a states that a guest is obligated to light Chanukah candles. The Gemara then quotes Rabbi Zeira, who states that when he was a guest he used to contribute a prutah. After he got married, he no longer contributed a prutah because his wife lit the Chanukah lights at home. Accordingly, Shulchan Aruch 677:1 rules that a guest must contribute a prutah to the host’s lighting.
- Tur and Shulchan Aruch 677:1 rule that a guest must contribute a prutah to the host’s lighting. The Darkei Moshe 677:1 quotes the Sefer HaMinhagim (Rabbi Yitzchak Tirna, Chanuka, pg 143, cited by Darkei Moshe 677:1) who says that even nowadays, a guest may fulfill his obligation by giving a prutah to the host.
- On the other hand, the Mahari Veil 31, also quoted by the Darkei Moshe, argues that since the minhag is that everyone in the house lights his own candles, if the guest doesn’t light on his own, there will be a suspicion that he didn’t light. Sh”t Maharil 145 agrees with the Mahariv. Mishna Brurah 677:3 rules that in order to satisfy the opinion of the Mahariv it is better for a guest to light on his own rather than contribute a prutah to the host. He adds (677:7) that this would be true even if he has someone lighting for him at home. According to Rav Soloveitchik (cited in Bi’Ikvei Hatzon 20:2) one cannot light as a guest unless one has been there for 8 days because the obligation is to light in one’s own house.
- The Rif (Shabbat 10a), (Chanukah 4:11), and Rosh (Shabbat 2:8) add that if the guest is staying in his own house with a separate doorway he must light by himself and can’t join with the host’s lighting because people seeing his doorway without Chanukah candles will suspect that he didn’t light. The S”A 677:1 rules that a guest must contribute a pruta to the host’s lighting and if he sleeps in separate house and eats with the host he should light by the doorway of the separate house. The Rama 677:1 comments that since nowadays we light inside one should light where one eats (meaning, if he eats with the host, he doesn’t have to light by the separate house where he is sleeping).
- The idea of suspicion is based on a later statement of Rav Huna in Shabbat 23a who says that if one has a house with doorways on two sides of the house one must light in both of them so that people don’t suspect that he didn’t light Chanukah candles. Rama 671:8 writes that since nowadays we light inside there’s no concern of suspicion and one does not have to light by both doorways. The Rama is accepted by many achronim including Mishna Brurah 671:54 and Yalkut Yosef 671:24.
- The Magen Avraham 677:3 (as explained by the Beiur Halacha s.v. LeAsmo) says that we only strict for the opinion of the Mahariv when the guest eats and sleeps in a separate house.
- Mishna Brurah 677:3 rules that in order to satisfy the opinion of the Mahariv it’s better for a guest to light by himself than to contribute a prutah to the host. This is also the opinion of the Nitei Gavriel (Chanukah 12:6). However, the Kaf HaChaim 677:11 comments that the suspicion introduced by the Mahariv doesn’t apply to Sephardim who don’t have the minhag that everyone in the house lights. The Aruch HaShulchan 677:2 also questions this stringency.
- Mishna Brurah 677:16 presents a minority opinion in the achronim that if one's wife already lit at home, he shouldn’t recite a bracha. Therefore, he says one should listen to someone else recite the brachot and then light.
- Beiur Halacha 677:1 s.v. BeMakom quotes the Pri Chadash 677:1 who says a guest and his whole family who stay at someone else’s home for all eight days of Chanukah should light at the place they are staying. Rabbi Hershel Schachter (oral communication, Halachipedia Article 5772 #4, B'ikvei Hatzon chapter 20 footnote 2) holds one must remain there all eight days in order to have some connection to that house to allow him to light there. When one stays for a shorter period, one should fulfill his obligation by giving a prutah to the host. However, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichot Shlomo 14:18, 19) rules that if a guest stays at a person’s house for one day, he may light at that house. For example, if a person sleeps and eats at a house for Shabbat he can light there Friday afternoon. Chazon Ish (Shevut Yitzchak pg 110), Rav Vosner (Kovetz MeBet Levi Kislev 5757), Rav Shternbuch (Teshuvot V’Hanhagot 1:391), and Rav Navinsal (BYitzchak Yikra 677 Biur Halacha Bmakom) agree. This is also the opinion of Halachos of Chanukah by Rabbi Eider p. 38.
- Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daat 6:43, and Chazon Ovadia Chanukah pg 144). Rav Ovadyah Yosef in Sh”t Yachave Daat 6:43, Chazon Ovadyah (Chanukah pg 144) rules a Sephardic yeshiva student fulfills his obligation with his parent’s lighting. He adds that even if one wants to light, he would not be allowed to say the bracha. Rav Shlomo Zalman (Shalmei Moed pg 204) adds that this is true for Sephardim even if there is a time difference. Rav Ovadia (Chazon Ovadia pg 150, see also Yalkut Yosef Chanukah pg. 161) says that in a case where the son will light before his parents, such as if he is in Israel while his parents are in the United States, the son can light with a bracha if he so desires. The Torat HaMoadim 2:8 adds that an orphan Yeshiva student fulfills his obligation with the lighting of the Yeshiva, but a guest for whom no one is lighting should give his host a prutah to join with his lighting. For more background see Lighting_Chanukah_Candles#A_Yeshiva_Student.
- Torat Hamoadim 2:12 writes that even though many rishonim imply that even though it is an option to join with a prutah it is a better option to light oneself that is only true if one is paying for staying there. However, if one is staying there for free potentially one automatically fulfills one's obligation and as such one can't have intention not to fulfill one's obligation.
- Torat Moadim 2:12 writes that for Sephardim since some authorities hold that he is included in the household members even without giving a prutah and so he is exempt with the owner’s lighting, one shouldn’t light independently because of Safek Brachot. Yalkut Yosef 677:10 (English edition) seems to agree. However, Torat HaMoadim 2:8 points out that this is only for a regular guest but an orphan Yeshiva student fulfills his obligation with the lighting of the Yeshiva.
- Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichot Shlomo 14:18, 19) rules that if a guest stays at a person’s house for one day, he may light at that house. For example, if a person sleeps and eats at a house for Shabbat he can light there Friday afternoon. Chazon Ish (Shevut Yitzchak pg 110), Rav Vosner (Kovetz MeBet Levi Kislev 5757), Rav Shternbuch (Teshuvot V’Hanhagot 1:391), and Rav Navinsal (BYitzchak Yikra 677 Biur Halacha Bmakom) agree.
- Rabbi Hershel Schachter (oral communication, Halachipedia Article 5772 #4, B'ikvei Hatzon chapter 20 footnote 2) holds one must remain there all eight days in order to have some connection to that house to allow him to light there. When one stays for a shorter period, one should fulfill his obligation by giving a prutah to the host.
- Torat Hamoadim 3:11, Yalkut Yosef 677:10 (English edition). Yalkut Yosef (5773 edition, 677:10-11) writes that someone staying at their parents or in-laws should not light themselves. Even though some say that if they have their own room they can light themselves, that isn't the case nowadays. The only reason to require lighting if someone has a private room is because of the concern that others will suspect him of not lighting candles. Nowadays we don't light for that concern because people light inside. Even if a person wanted to light in their private room or have intention not to fulfill their mitzvah with the lighting of their parents or in-laws they may not light with a bracha.
- Rav Shternbuch (Sh"t Teshuvot Vihanhagot 1:394) adds that if on Motzaei Shabbat one will not arrive home before “tichle regel” one can even light in the house that one was at for Shabbat, but should try to stay there for a half hour. Rav Nevinsal (BYitzchak Yikra 677 Biur Halacha Bmakom) quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach held that on Motzei Shabbat one can't light in the house one was at for Shabbat unless one is going to stay there for a half hour.
- Chazon Ovadia Chanuka p. 155, Yalkut Yosef 677:11 (English edition), Or Letzion 4:47:5
- Magen Avraham 677:7, Taz 677:2, Yalkut Yosef 672:11.
- Orchot Chanuka p. 186 quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman that an unmarried yeshiva bachur eating out Friday night can join with the lighting of the house he's eating at if he's there when they light. This isn't similar to Magen Avraham 677:7 who writes that one cannot join a host if he's just eating there one meal. In that case, his home is his primary dwelling place, but a yeshiva bachur doesn't really live in the dorm. So when he's away for the Friday night meal he can join in their lighting.
- S”A CM 88:1 says a prutah is a half of a pearl of barley. Shiurei Torah (Rav Chaim Noeh pg 177) and Shiurei HaMitzvot (Chazon Ish pg 65) say a prutah is 1/40 of a gram of silver (which currently is about 2.3 cents). See Halachos of Other People’s Money (Rabbi Bodner pg 150).
- Beiur Halacha 677:1 s.v. LeHishtatef, Nitei Gavriel 12:2
- Shaar HaTziyun 677:9, Nitei Gavriel 12:3
- Mishna Brurah 677:4, Nitei Gavriel 12:5
- Mishna Brurah 677:3, Torat HaMoadim 2:1, Yad Aharon 677, Sh”t Ginat Veradim (Gan HaMelech 40), and Pri Megadim (A”A 677:1) rule that any amount is sufficient. This is in opposition to the opinion of the Eliyah Rabba (677:1,2) who says that one must chip in the amount of oil to burn for a half hour. Rav Nevinsal (B'Yitzchak Yikra 677:3) explains that the host should have thicker wicks to have a brighter light instead of adding oil to burn longer.
- Sh”t HaRashba 1:542, Magen Avraham 677:1, Pri Chadash 677:1, Eliyah Raba 677:2, Derech HaChaim 677:2, Mishna Brurah 677:3 say that the host can give the guest the portion even as a gift.
- Rav Nevinsal in BYitzchak Yikra 677:2
- Sh”t Trumat HaDeshen 101 writes that a married man who is away from home during Chanukah and his wife is lighting at home and his wife is lighting at home, he is still allowed to light with a Bracha to fulfill the mitzvah of Mehardin (performing the mitzvah in the best possible way). Rama 677:3 rules like the Trumat HaDeshen and writes that such is the minhag. See Agur 1036. However, the Bet Yosef 677:3 writes that not to rely on the Trumat HaDeshen because it is an unnecessary Bracha (Bracha Sheina Tzaricha).
- The Sh”t Maharil 145 agrees that one may light at the place one is staying even if one’s wife is lighting at home but adds that this is only where one has in mind not to fulfill one’s obligation with one’s wife’s lighting. This is also the ruling of the Levush 677:1, and Magen Avraham 677:9. See also Olat Shabbat 677:1, and Rav Shalom Mashash in Sh”t Tevuot Shemesh O”C 7 who agree with this approach.
- However, Sh”t Maharshal 85 argues on the Maharil saying that one fulfills one’s obligation with one’s wife’s lighting at home even if one has intent not to fulfill one’s obligation. The Taz 677:9 who doesn’t understand the Maharshal and defends the Maharil explaining why it’s not considered an unnecessary Bracha. The Chida in Birkei Yosef 677:2 explains the approach of the Bet Yosef saying that by other Brachot where there is a personal obligation one may have intent not to fulfill one’s obligation, however, by Chanukah the obligation is for the house to have lit candles and so one’s intent not to fulfill one’s obligation is useless. [See Pri Chadash 677:1, Mateh Moshe (Siman 983), Sh”t Zera Emet 1:97, Kaf HaChaim 677:25, Chaye Adam 154:33, Maamer Mordechai 677:5, Sh”t Sadeh Eretz O”C 42, Sh”t Chesed LeAvraham Alkelai O”C 24, and Sh”t Zivchei Tzedek 2:37 who agree with this approach of the Chida.] Sh”t Yechave Daat 6:43 quoting Rav Ezra Attiah, and Torat HaMoadim 2:6 rule like the Bet Yosef that one should not have in mind not to fulfill one’s obligation. Yalkut Yosef 677:8 rules that a married man fulfills his obligation with the lighting of his wife and if he wants to be strict to light where he is staying he should light without a Bracha.
- Mishna Brurah 677:15-6 writes that many achronim agree with the Maharil and there is what to rely on but because of those who argue it’s preferable that either one hear the Bracha from someone else and then light or make sure to light before one’s wife.
- S”A 677:3 writes “some say to light with a bracha when in a city that totally not Jewish” based on Orchot Chaim (Chanukah 13,18) and Mordechai 267. So writes Sh”t She’erit Yosef 73e. The Pri Chadash 677:3 argues that one shouldn’t rely on this to make a bracha since it’s not an obligation. [This is similar to the Bet Yosef 677:1 who argued against the Trumat Hadeshen 101 who says that a guest who was married was allowed to light on his own for Hiddur Mitzvah because, says the Bet Yosef, one shouldn’t rely on this to make an unnecessary bracha.] Buir HaGra 677:3 argues similarly. Mishna Brurah 677:14 agrees. On the other hand, Chazon Ovadyah pg 158-60 says that the Bet Yosef 677:3 only quotes the Orchot Chaim and Mordechai without anyone who argues and then rules that way in S”A implying that no one disagrees. The difference between the a guest and this traveler is as the Mamer Mordechai 677:4 explains that the guest can’t light if there’s already a Pirsume Nisa and he’s fulfilled his obligation with his wife’s lighting, but a traveler has an obligation of Pirsume Nisa even if his wife is lighting because no one around is lighting. The Shulchan Gavoha 677:5, Chasidei David Chasan pg 61b, Chelko Shel Yedid pg 48b, Sh”t Besamim Rosh 343, Chazon Ovadyah, and Moed Kol Chai 27:49 agree. Why did S”A begin the halacha with words “some say”? Mamer Mordechai says it’s because S”A was unsure about this. Yet, Chazon Ovadyah responds that the S”A was concerned for those rishonim who disagreed with the Orchot Chaim and Mordechai and are quoted by the Meiri.
- Torat HaMoadim 2:13 quoting his father, Rav Ovadiah, based on the fact that one can appoint a Shaliach to light for him and all the more so if the Shaliah is a household member. This is also the opinion of Rav Elyashiv (Kuntres Halichot VeHanhagot, quoted in Halichot Yosef pg 244), Sefer Chanukah of Rav Kenievsky 13:14b.
- Torat HaMoadim 2:14 says a hotel guest doesn’t have the laws of a guest at his friend’s house because he’s not living with the owner of the house and he’s renting his own room. This is also the opinion of the Chovat Hadar 39. Implied from Piskei Riaz (Shabbat 23a), Piskei Rid (Shabbat 23a), and Shebolei HaLeket 185 that there’s an obligation on a renter even if it’s a just a room in a house.
- Sefer Pardes Gadol 199e, Sh”t Maaseh Geonim 44, and Shiboeli HaLeket 185 bring a dispute between Rabbenu David who hold that two people living in one house should light separately and Rabbotenu who said that they can light together. Torat Hamoadim 2:17 explains that this dispute concerns two people who have separate funds for food because otherwise it’s untenable why Rabbenu David requires separate lighting, however if they didn’t separate the cost of food everyone agrees that they can light together. Magid Mishna (Chanukah 4:4), Pri Chadash 677:1, Sh”t Shaarei Yehoshua O”C 7:4 agree with Rabbenu David. However, Sefer HaTrumah 229, Eliyahu Zuta 671:6 in name of Tosfot, Levush 677:3, Pri Megamdim A”A 678:3, and Ben Ish Chai Vayeshev 17 agree with Rabbotenu. Mishna Brurah in Beiur Halacha (677:1 D”H Imo) quotes this dispute and doesn’t rule on it. Torat HaMoadim 2:17 advises that since everyone agrees that one can light separately and it’s dispute whether one can light together one should light separately to satisfy all opinions.
- Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe Y”D 3:14(5) based on Rashi (23a s.v. HaRoeh) and Torat HaMoadim 2:18 based on Tosfot (Sukkah 46a s.v. HaRoeh) rule that someone who doesn’t have a house doesn’t light and can only make Brachot HaRoah. Chovat Hadar 2:1 writes that there's a personal obligation to light besides for the obligation linked to the house and if a person doesn't have a house or isn't at home he is obligated in the mitzvah of Chanuka candles. [It seems, Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 15:29 holds one should light even if he doesn’t have a house.] Bach 677 s.v. “U’Mah Shekatav HaRosh” implies if not for suspicion one can light in the place he ate. However, Taz 677:2 argues that one can not light in the place he ate. Thus one can only light without a Bracha (Safek Brachot Lehakel).