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. Are you saying that had we not had the halacha that ner Shabbos takes priority over ner Chanuka that sholom bayis wouldn’t be important and that one shouldn’t wait for one’s wife? There’s so much time to light, it would seem we would make a s’vara to be able to maintain both halachos regardless. Therefore, it seems to me that the halacha you mention is simply a monetary-priority halacha, and the reason our gedolim used it to promote sholom bayis is for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t come to the s’vara on their own.

  2. Did you not read the first Halacha? If a husband is returning home late it is better for him to appoint his wife to light before he comes home.

    Why would that same Halacha not apply if the wife is not home? Presumably, it is only because of Shalom Bayis that we differentiate between the husband not being home and the wife not being home.

  3. #1,

    You are incorrect. The time to light is at the begining of the night /darkness. Lighting later, is not doing it completely properly.
    A little respect is in order here

  4. Yes, we have to follow halacha.

    Yes, we have to consult with our Rabbanim – that is when we have shailos.

    However, we must have saichel and USE it.

    Who would think to light without their wife?


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