Lighting in Shul

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Lighting Chanuka Candles in Shul

  1. The practice is to light Chanuka candles in Shul between Mincha and Mariv with a bracha since it’s a very old Minhag so there’s Pirsume Nisa to those in Shul during Mariv. [1]
  2. The congregation should light Chanuka Candles between Mincha and Mariv even at sunset (Shkyah) because the congregation would leave right after Mariv and there wouldn’t be Pirsume Nisa for the candles. [2]
  3. By the Kotel, the congregation lights with a bracha between Mincha and Mariv because there’s Pirsume Nisa. [3]
  4. One doesn’t fulfill his obligation with the lighting in Shul even if one did the lighting and so one can light at home for his family with all the Brachot. However if he lives by himself and he lit in Shul for the congregation, when he lights at home, according to Sephardim, he should only say the Bracha of LeHadlik Ner (and not SheAssa Nissim and Shecheyanu). Ashkenazim, however, can say LeHadlik and SheAssa just not Shecheyanu. [4]
  5. On a Friday afternoon if one already lit at home before coming to Shul (as will everyone else) he should light in Shul without the Bracha Shechiyanu. Sephardim say that one shouldn’t say the bracha of She’assa Nisim either but just the bracha of LeHadlik. [5]
  6. One can light in Shul even if he lit at home and can light for another congregation that has an obligation of lighting. [6]
  7. Some say that the lighting of the candles in Shul doesn’t need to be lit for a half hour rather just as long as the congregation is there finishing Mariv. However it’s better to be strict to light it for a half hour. [7]
  8. There is a practice to light candles with a bracha at Chanuka gatherings where there are Divrei Torah. It’s preferable to say Mariv there right afterwards but isn’t necessary. [8]
  9. The Chanukia in Shul is put to the right of the Aron HaKodesh, which is the south side of the Shul. Some align it in the direction of South-North and some in the East-West direction. If there’s no set Minhag one should align it in the East-West direction. [9]
  10. The person lighting should stand to the south of the Chanukia and light on the first night the right-most candle, closest to the Aron and on the following nights one should light in the direction of left to right. [10]
  11. One shouldn’t light with a bracha until 10 people are present in Shul even if the rest of the group is going to come while the candles are burning. [11]
  12. If there’s a case of need such as on Friday afternoon when one can’t wait until Shabbat to light, and there’s not 10 people one has what to rely on to light with Brachot. If it’s easy to get 10 people for the Bracha it’s preferable to arrange a group of 10. [12]
  13. Some have the Minhag that the Shaliach Tzibbur should light and some have the Minhag that the Shamash should light. [13]
  14. Preferably a child shouldn’t light in Shul for Pirsume Nisa of the congregation. [14]
  15. There’s a practice to light in shul by Shacharit without a bracha. [15]


  1. S”A 671:7. Many Achronim ask on S”A how could S”A say that one can make a bracha for such a lighting which is only a Minhag [Because of this question the Pri Chadash says to light without a bracha]. Further the Ravyah quoted by the Bet Yosef 671 (the author of S”A) says that since it’s only a Minhag we (Ashkenazim) only make a bracha because it’s a Minhag and Ashkenazim make a bracha on Minhag. However Sephardim who don’t make Brachot on a Minhag, how can S”A rule to make a bracha in Shul? One answer (brought by Yalkut Yosef 671) is that it’s meant to fulfill the obligation (by saying Birchat HaRoah) of those who don’t have a house and can’t light. Secondly, Sh”t Rivash 111 says it’s done to fulfill the obligation publicly since nowadays we light inside and that this is a strong Minhag that’s done for the purpose of Pirsume Nisa and requires a bracha. [A third answer that we clearly don’t pasken like is that the Sherit Yosef who says that by Chanuka candles we go Safek Brachot LeHachmir.] Rashba (Shabbat 21a), Ritva (Shabbat 21a), Ran (Shabbat 21a), Orchot Chaim (Chanuka 15), and Bach 672 say that one can light earlier than the proper time to light (Tzet for Sephardim, Shekiah for some Ashkenazim) because if one delayed lighting in Shul until after Mariv people would leave and there wouldn’t be Pirsume Nisa.
  2. Rashba (Shabbat 21b) says that if one wants he can light at Shkiah because there’s also Pirsume Nisa then. Orchot Chaim (Chanuka 15), Ritva and Ran on Shabbat 21b. Bach 672 says in Shul the Shaliach Tzibbur can light at Shkiah. Sh”t Shev Yacov 22 pg 28a says it’s established to light between Mincha and Mariv (and so says Avudraham 54d) and the reason is that if they light after Mariv the whole congregation would leave. Sh”t Zivchai Tzedek (O”C 2:29,3:112 pg 213) writes that that was the Minhag of Bagdad based on the Yesh Omerim of S”A 672:2. So rules Chazon Ovadyah pg 69 and records that such is the Minhag Yerushalayim. Sh”t Shraga HaMeir 7:44 says that if the congregation forgot to light in between Mincha and Mariv they should light before Alenu so there’s a minyan still there. See also Yeraim 102e.
  3. Yalkut Yosef (kitzur S”A 671:3)
  4. Sh”t Rivash 111 says that one doesn’t fulfill his obligation with the lighting in Shul. So rules Rama 671:7. Sh”t Zera Emet 1:96 says that once one said the Bracha of Shechiyanu in Shul one doesn’t repeat it at home unless one is fulfilling the obligation of his family. So rules Shaarei Teshuva 671:11 and Mishna Brurah 671:45. Sh”t Igrot Moshe O”C 1:190 argues on Zera Emet that there should be no difference between Shechiyanu and SheAssa Nisim (and thus one should be able to repeat all the Brachot even by oneself). Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 200), Halichot Olam 1 pg 66, Taharat Mayim, Sh”t Hitorerut Teshuva 1:103, Leket Yosher 151, and Sh”t Yechva Daat 2:77 say that if one is only lighting at home for himself and he made the Brachot in Shul he should only make the Bracha of LeHadlik Ner.
  5. Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 13:69 based on the Bach says that even if one said the Bracha of Shechiyanu at home one can still say it at Shul on Fruday afternoon when everyone there already lit with Brachot. However Sh”t Chatom Sofer O”C 55 and Shaarei Knesset HaGedolah argue on the Bach. Sephardim should not even repeat She’assa Nisim as brought down by Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 200 note 37) and Ben Ish Chai Vayeshev 11.
  6. Shaarei Teshuva 671:11 quoting Sh”t Zera Emet 1:96 and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 671:6) say that one can say Shechiyanu for another congregation like one can say Birchot HaTorah when getting an Aliyah even though one already said it. However on Friday afternoon when the entire congregation already said Shechiyanu one shouldn’t repeat it as in previous note.
  7. Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 202)
  8. Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 204 note 43; Kitzur S”A 671:9), Sh”t Mishnat Yacov (Chanuka 260), Az Nidabru 5:37, 6:75, 11:32,34, Sh”T Bet Mordechai 41, Sh”t Yad Natan 2:25, Sh”t Mishnat Sachir 202 say that it’s sufficient that ten people are present for there to be Pirsume Nisa.
  9. Bava Batra 22b says that the menorah was on the south side of the Bet Mikdash. So too the practice is to light the Chanukia in Shul to the south. S”A 671:7 says that one light to the south of the Shul. There’s a dispute in the Rishonim whether the Menorah in Mikdash was aligned along the south-north axis or the east-west axis. Magan Avraham says that each congregation should keep their Minhag. So rules Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 204). However, Rama 671:7 in name of Trumat HaDeshen 104 rules that preferably one should align it along the east-west axis. So rules Mishna Brurah 671:42.
  10. Mishna Brurah 671:43 in name of Sh”t Chatom Sofer 186.
  11. Magan Avraham 671 rules that it’s considered Pirsume Nisa if the Shul lights before there are 10 people as long as they come later. [He is discussing the case of Friday afternoon but Mishna Brurah (Shaar Tzion 671:54) says that it can even apply to the weekday]. Mor Ukesiah 671e argues that there’s no Pirsume Nisa unless all 10 are present (even if there’s a need such as on Friday afternoon). Chaye Adam rules like the Magan Avraham, however, Machzik Bracha 671:7, and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 671:13) rule like the Mor Ukesiah. Yalkut Yosef (Moadim 203 note 43), Sh”t Yabea Omer 10, comments on Rav Poalim 2:62 writes that women also count for the minyan needed for Pirsume Nisa since they are also obligated in the mitzvah of candle lighting. Similarly, the Ran (Megilah 19b), Ritva (Megilah 4a), Nemukei Yosef (Megilah 4a), and Meiri (Megilah 5a) say that women count for a minyan for megilah reading because they are obligated in that mitzvah.
  12. Mishna Brurah 671:47 (and in Biur Halacha D”H VeYesh Nohagin), Mekor Chaim, Minchat Elazar, Pri HaSadeh, Sh”t Maharshag, and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 671:14).
  13. Sh”t Maharam Minz 43 and Taz 671:8 write that the Minhag was that the Shaliach Tzibbur would light and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 671:11) says that the Minhag of Morocco was that the Shamash would light.
  14. There’s a dispute in the Rishonim whether a child who is at the age of Chinuch can fulfill the obligation of others. Many Achronim hold a child shouldn’t fulfill the obligation of others concerning Chanuka including Sh”t Kol Gadol 100, Chelko Shel Yedid pg 58b, Sh”t Olat Shmuel 105e, Pri Chadash 675:3, Ben Ish Chai Veyeshev 19, Mishna Brurah 675:13, Torat HaMoadim 2:19, and Yalkut Yosef Moadim pg 203. The Yashiv Moshe pg 86 in name of Rav Elyashiv says that if a child lit one should extinguish it and relight with a bracha. However, Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 671:16) says that by the lighting in Shul there’s room to be lenient since it’s only for the purpose of Pirsume Nisa and it’s only preferable that an adult light. Nonetheless one shouldn’t relight with a bracha because of Safek Brachot.
  15. Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 205).