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Lighting Menorah: Pirsumei Nissa Not Fulfilled

12/11/2012 05:52:36 PM

Dec11

The question for this week comes from Shaya Lempel and others who ask.

"What is the halacha is in a situation in which one will not fulfill Pirsumei Nissa when they light. This would be the case if one comes home very late from work, or if one was in a conference in a location where no Jews lived."

Good question! We obviously know that pirsumei nissa (publicizing the miracle) is the driving force of the halacha of lighting the candles and its tentacles are reflected in many halachos. In the question that is under discussion there still is the possibility of fulfilling pirsumei Nissa in one of two ways. Either Pirsumei Nissa is fulfilled because the person lighting is witnessing and remembering past miracles even if he is standing alone in his hotel room. According to this position, which is espoused by the L'Horos Nassan and others, there is no obligation to publicize the miracle to non- Jews. That being said there is another opinion in the Poskim that claims that necessity to publicize the miracle is for Jews and Non- Jews alike and therefore no matter where one is for Chanukah there is a necessity to light the Menorah and say a Bracha. This is the position of the school of the Noda B'Yehudah. The obvious nafka mina (practical difference) between these positions is where one lights. According to the first position one doesn't need to light by a window if he is in a place where there are almost no Jews because he is in essence lighting for himself. If however the pirsumei Nissa is universal than he should always find a place that people can see the menorah. Either way one should always say a bracha when they light.

Next week's question:

'Can I drink a latte from Starbucks?'

Thu, March 21 2019 14 Adar II 5779