A poor person lighting Chanukah Candles
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
This article pertains to a person who doesn’t have enough money for Chanukah candles.
If One Doesn't Have Enough for All Nights
- A person who only has only enough oil for one night, meaning, just enough oil to last a half hour, should light that amount of oil on the first night and not split it up for all the nights.
- On the second night, a person who only has two candles should light one that night and one the next, so that tomorrow he will also be able to light.
- On the eighth night, a person who doesn’t have enough for all eight candles should light the eighth one with the required amount and split up the rest of the oil between the other candles. 
- One who only has two candles on the third night or any case where he doesn’t have the right number of candles should only light one candle. 
- One who only has 9 candles should light two on the second night and one the rest of the nights. Similarly, if one has 10 candles, one should light two on the second night and one the rest of the nights and not light two on the third night. 
If One Lit the Wrong Number of Candles
- Someone who accidentally lit two candles on the third night thinking that it was the second night should light the other candles without a bracha.
- On the second night, a person who only had 1 candle and lit it later got another candle should light the that candle without a bracha. Similarly, a person who lit one only one candle by mistake should light the other candles without a bracha. However, if by the time one gets more candles or remembers the candle(s) went out one can’t just light the extra candles, but rather should go back and light the right number of candles simultaneously without a bracha. 
Giving to Someone Less Fortunate
- If someone has enough oil to light the correct number of candles every night and his friend doesn’t have anything, he should give his friend enough so that he can fulfill his basic requirement. However, if your friend lives in a house that already is lighting one set of candles, one doesn't need to give up one's added candles in order for your friend to light extra candles.
Chanuka in Conflict with Other Mitzvot
- Someone who doesn’t have money for both Shabbat candles (the minimum is one candle) and Chanukah candles (the minimum is one candle) should buy Shabbat Candles. Some say that nowadays one can fulfill Shabbat candles with electric lights and so one who has electric lights should buy Canuka candles. 
- Someone who doesn’t have money for both Chanukah candles and wine for kiddish should buy Chanukah candles and make kiddish on bread. 
- Someone who doesn’t have money for both Chanukah candles and wine for Havdalah should buy Chanukah candles and make Havdalah in Shmoneh Esrei. 
- Sh”t Sadeh HaAretz O”C 3:34, Sh”t Lechem Shlomo O”C 117(5), Moadei Hashem pg 111c s.v. Kavaum, Sh”t Imrei Shefer O”C 5, and Sh”t Sheilat Yitzchak 3:58(2) hold one should use the required amount for the first night even at the expense of other nights. Netah Surak 73b says based on the Bet Yosef’s answer that the Chashmonaim split up the oil for the 8 days, that one is allowed to do the same since the minimum amount of a half hour isn’t Me’akev. Divrei Tzvi 671 agrees. However, Chazon Ovadiah (Mitzvah Hadlaka 4, pg 28) argues the Bet Yosef’s answer was only for the Bet Hamikdash where miracles are regular and that his answer wasn’t meant in a halachic sense. See Rav Ovadya’s Meor Yisrael (vol 3, pg 312).
- Chaye Adam 154:25, Ikrei HaDaat 35:6, Chazon Ovadiah (Mitzvah Hadlaka 5, pg 29), Torat HaMoadim (Chanukah 1:7)
- Magen Avraham 671:1, Eliyah Raba 671:3, Yad Aharon (Hagahot Hatur), Chaye Adam 154:25, Siddur Bet Ovad (Chanukah 4 pg 158a), Aruch HaShulchan 671:10, Mishna Brurah 671:5, Chazon Ovadiah (Mitzvah Hadlaka 5, pg 29), Torat HaMoadim (Chanukah 1:9)
- Chaye Adam 154:25, Sh”t Katav Sofer 135, Sh”t Shevet Sofer 26 s.v. Elah, Aruch HaShulchan 671:10, Mishna Brurah 671:5, Kaf HaChaim 671:10, Bet Halevi on Torah (Chanukah pg 29b), Mishpat Cohen 95, Sh”t Rivavot Efraim 4:181(11), Sh”t Mishnat Halachot 6:84, Moadim BeHalacha pg 166, Chazon Ovadiah (Mitzvat Hadlaka n. 7, pg 31), Torat HaMoadim Chanukah 1:8 all hold that since the mitzvah is to light the number of the night lighting the wrong number isn’t a hiddur and may be a violation of Bal Tigra against the Avi Ezri (Chanukah 4:1).
- Torat HaMoadim Chanukah 1:8 based on the sources in previous footnote.
- Orchot Chaim Chanukah 10
- The Bet Yosef 672:2 quotes the Orchot Chaim (Chanuka v. 1 n. 10) who says one who lit two candles on the third night should light a third candle without a bracha since the original bracha included all candles later to be lit. The Levush 672 and Magen Avraham 676 agree.
- Yet, the Magen Avraham 651:25 explains that the opinion of the Rambam is that if one lit the candles and only later on found more candles he should make another bracha. Eliyah Raba 672:7 agrees. Pri Megadim A”A 672:3 questions it. Machasit HaShekel 676 asks why one would have to recite a new bracha if one already fulfilled the mitzvah with the first candle. However, Birkei Yosef 671:3 explains that the Rambam just meant that if one is going to light in another house and didn't have it in mind originally, one must recite another bracha. This is also suggested by the Rambam in Sh”t Pear Hadur 11. Maamer Mordechai 676:1, Olot Shabbat 676:1, and Sh”t Pri HaAretz 3:2 agree with this explanation. Shaarei Teshuva 671:2, Sadeh HaAretz 3:42, Torat HaMoadim Chanukah 1:10, and Chazon Ovadiah (Mitzvat Hadlaka footnote 7, pg 30) concur.
- The above pertains to someone who lit one candle knowing the correct night but simply lit the wrong number of candles. Similarly, if one lit the wrong number of candles because one thought that it was another night, the Pri Chadash says one adds a candle without a bracha. Chaye Adam 154:29, Sh”t Yehuda Yaleh Assad O”C 205, Sh”t Nachlat Binyamin 133 s.v. Hen Emet, Katav Sofer O”C 135(3), Kol Sinai (Kislev 5725), Kaf Hachaim 672:20, and Torat HaMoadim Chanukah 1:10 agree. However, Erech HaShulchan 672:7 and Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Mehudra Tanina 13) write that one makes a bracha in such a case. See Sedei Chemed (Chanukah 18), Ben Ish Chai (Vayeshev 10), Sh”t Meishev Devarim O”C 153, Sh”t Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe O”C 190 pg 329a, and Sh”t Hitorerut Teshuva 1:103e.
- Magen Avraham 671:1 writes that it is better to fulfill one's basic obligation and also enable one's friend to do the basic mitzvah rather than just fulfill the mitzvah oneself in an enhanced fashion. Eliyah Raba 671:3 adds that if one's friend lives in a house that already has one set of candle and can fulfill his obligation with that lighting one shouldn’t give up from your enhanced mitzvah in order for your friend to enhance his mitzvah. Machsit HaShekel 671:1, Pri Megadim A”A 671:1, Chaye Adam 154:25, Mishna Brurah 671:6, and Kaf Hachaim 671:9 agree.
- Chemed Moshe argues on the Magen Avraham that one doesn’t need to give up anything in order to enable someone else to fulfill the mitzvah. Similarly, Torat Hamoadim (Chanukah pg 30-31) and Sh”t Machneh Chaim Kama (O”C 29, Y”D 3:55 pg 41a) argue that the Magen Avraham didn’t mean it as an obligation but as a kind activity. However, Sh”t Mechtam Ledavid O”C 6 and Sh”t Lev Chaim (1:91 pg 126d) understand the Magen Avraham that it is an obligation. Chazon Ovadyah (Chelek 1 Vol 2 Siman 47) concludes that one must give the candles. Nonetheless, Torat HaMoadim (Chazon Ovadiah’s son) argues that Chazon Ovadiah just meant it is preferable as a chesed.
- Shabbat 23b Rava says that Shabbat candles which are for Shalom bayit take precedence over Chanukah candles, but Chanukah candles which are for Pirsumei nisa (publicizing the miracle) take precedence over kiddish. Rambam (Chanukah 4:14), Tur and S”A 678 agree. Or Zaruh 2:326 implies this is only someone who only has one candle but someone with two would light one for Shabbos and one for Chanukah. Magen Avraham 678:1, Eliyah Raba 678:1, and Mishna Brurah 678:1 agree.
- Shulchan Aruch 678:1 writes that if a person doesn't have enough for Chanukah candles and Kiddush, he should light the Chanuka candles since they fulfill Pirsumei Nisa, publicizing the miracle of Chanuka. Mishna Brurah 678:6 explains that biblically one can fulfill Kiddush with speech without wine.
- Tur 296 and Rama 296:5 hold the Chanukah candles take precedence over Havdalah.