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Menorah on the Road?

Menorah on the Road?

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Question:

I will be away from home for some days of Chanukah. Do I need to light a menorah of my own, or will the menorahs kindled by my wife and kids back home “cover” me as well?

Response:

Let’s say you would be staying at a Jewish home. Your family back home will be lighting for you, while you would see the candles lit on your host’s menorah. Then there would be reason for you not to light. Yet, even in that situation, the accepted custom would be for you to light the menorah, as the optimal practice is for each individual to light his own menorah.

However, since you plan on staying at a hotel, where no one else will be lighting the menorah, you should certainly bring a menorah along, recite the appropriate blessings and light it.

On a practical note, I suggest that you pick up some of those neat ready-made cups with oil and wicks that you can take with you with minimal mess. I also recommend that you request a smoking room, as you will be less likely to have problems with your lights there.

I also suggest that you get candle-lighting times for your destination and brush up on how to light the menorah so that you'll be ready to roll when you arrive.

Have a wonderful trip and a joyous Chanukah!


Source:
Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chaim 676.
Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for Chabad.org.
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Chelse Baraboo, WI September 3, 2011

Hotel Rules. . I don't know if this affects what the Rabbi said but . . . I work in the hospitality industry and so does my husband and a very close friend. In all the hotels we have worked, none of them have allowed guests to light ANYTHING, candles or otherwise in a room. It's sadly one of those things where 99% of people will be very very careful and respectful, but that awful 1% ruins it for everyone. In my hotel, depending on what the person was doing with the candles / fire, we would either issue a warning or make them leave. We have to take the safety of all our guests into consideration and sadly have to apply the rules to everyone, regardless of circumstance. Reply

Menachem Posner for Chabad.org December 1, 2010

Electric Menorah According to the contemporary halachic decisors, you need to kindle an actual flame in order to do the mitzvah. Electric menorahs are pretty and serve to remind everyone that it his Chanukah, but you need to light a real-live menorah with wicks and flames in order to celebrate the holiday properly.

In my personal experience, hotel staff have never had a problem with a properly supervised menorah. Reply

Leba SE, PA December 1, 2010

Electric... In a situation like this, where (as Anonymous said) smoking rooms are hard to come by anymore, would an electric menorah be appropriate/acceptable, halachally? Reply

Susan Fayetteville, NC December 1, 2010

Candles are better A great post. I however would disagree regarding oil cups--they have a way of leaking and they now could pose problems with airport security. If I or my family find ourselves traveling on Chanukah, we always bring a durable "travel-sized" menorah and small candles, and buy or request matches at our destination, and we've never encountered any problems. Reply

Anonymous Mequon, WI December 1, 2010

Smoking Room? B"H

Always double check with a rabbi...this is just my opinion:

There is a possible complication.

"Smoking rooms" are getting more difficult to find these days. Lighting in a hotel room might set off the fire alarm! That's not a good way to call attention to Channukah.

You may want to seek out a Chabad center or a Jewish family so you can light there.

Perhaps the hotel management, if you explain it properly, can arrange for you to light somewhere (especially if you stay right next to the menorah while it is burning). This might be a better option because others will see the menorah--"parsumeh nissoh"--publicizing Chanukah and strengthening other Jews. Reply

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