Hilchos Chanukah: Waiting for Your Wife


menorahIf one will not be home to light at the proper time, but plans to return at night while members of the household are still awake, according to Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rav Chaim Kanievsky, it is preferable for one to appoint (a son over bar mitzvah or, if not possible) his wife as a shliach to light for him, rather than waiting to light when he returns home late at night (Shulchan Aruch w/ Mishnah Berurah 675:3, Kuntras Halichos Vehanhagos, Sefer Chanukah 13:14b).

Upon returning home, one should ask his wife if she understood that she was acting as his agent. If she is unsure, then one should light without the brachos (Kuntras Halichos Vehanhagos – Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Sefer Halichos Yosef 672:1).

If one is prepared to light at the proper time, but his wife is not ready (or home yet), the p’sak of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l and ybl”c Rav Shmuel Wosner is that one should wait for his wife even if this means that he will not be able to light at the preferred time. (We learn this from the fact that expense for ner Shabbos has priority over ner Chanukah because of shalom bayis.)

(Sefer Emes L’yaakov 677, Kovetz M’beis Levi Kislev 5757).

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  1. I would rather wait for my wife and light with the family. It shows her that she is the important to me and my Yiddishkeit.

  2. What about when the family is having a mesiba at another location. By the time I get home from work, the mesiba will be under way. Do I first have to go home & light, then wait a 1/2 hour & then go to the mesiba? Or can I go straight from work to the mesiba & light the menorah when I get home later – after the mesiba? Please respond.

  3. I don’t understand. If shalom bayis is the major consideration in the husband’s waiting to light until his wife comes home, then it should work both ways. Shalom bayis is a two-way street. If the husband comes home late, the wife should wait for him to light because of shalom bayis as well. Remember, it is the woman who brings in shalom bayis with the lighting of Ner Shabbos. Not to wait for one’s spouse can cause problems of shalom bayis. Unless, of course the husband comes home in the early morning when his wife is sleeping.

  4. To # 6: It’s not about the donuts. It’s about Shalom Bayis. My wife doesn’t wan’t me showing up as they get ready to bench!

  5. Answer to Question:

    There is no obligation to wait 1/2 an hour in your house, since the candles do that fine by themselves. Some people like to watch the candles to feel dvaikoos.
    If it is inconvenient to go home first to light, and you finish work more than half an hour after dark, when it is no longer the l’chatchilo time for lighting anyways, it might be O.K. to push off lighting until after the party, if you have a reminder like an alarm clock which says “Light Candles” for instance.
    Of course, if possible people should come home at nightfall to light at the proper time, since there are opinions that you cannot light more than half an hour after sunset/nightfall.

  6. to number 2< i would tell you for shalom bayis reasons and simcha of chanuka go enjoy the mesiba and have fun lighting with your family when u go home. do yourselfa favor and realize you are a better jew and can use your menthlechkeit to make your decisions and not every little tiny question has to be asked to rabbis. such as this case. you enjoy and will see that this is right