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  1. What are the laws and customs appertaining to chanukat habayit?
  2. At what point, if at all, should you make a shehechiyanu; upon closing? Moving in?
  3. Should you make a chanukat habayit on a home that is not your main dwelling? What about a property purchased solely as an investment?
  4. Do you make a chanukat habayit if you purchase an apartment?
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

(I found all these sources in Nit'ei Gavriel on Aveilus ch. 32 footnote 1.)

A "Chanukas HaBayis" is an old custom first mentioned (though not by name) in the midrash (Tanchuma Bereishis 2 et. al.).

The Radak (Shorashim, חנך) writes that "it is a minhag to have a meal and happiness at the first eating that they eat in the new house."

The Maharshal (Yam Shel Shlomoh, Bava Kama 6:37 brought in Magen Avraham 568:8* and Shu"t Chavos Ya'ir 2), Shu"t Torah Lishmah 482, and Shu"t Divrei Malkiel 4:8 all say that a Chanukas HaBayis is a mitzvah if they say divrei Torah there. It is a mitzvah even in chutz la'aretz** (Sheiltus 1; Eretz Tzvi pt. 2, Shabbos 29).

The Shlah (Ner Mitzvah Torah Or Derech Chaim Tochachos Musar, Vayigash) explains that it is a mitzvah because you are choosing a place to learn Torah. Based on this, some authors (Shu"t Levushei Mordechai 1:101; Shu"t Ravaz 1:43; Torah Temimah, Devarim 20, note 22; Yedos Nedarim YD 246:11) mourn that the world makes the main thing secondary and the secondary thing main: The world is careful to make a meal, but not to set a place to learn Torah, which is the whole reason for the meal! However, Eretz Tzvi pt. 2 Shabbas 29 says (based on Targum Yonasan 20:5) that since you are putting a mezuzah up, which can't be done without a house, it is appropriate to have a meal even without a place to learn Torah.

None of these sources mention anything about a shehechiyanu. I personally think it is unconnected to the chanukas habayis.*** The Mishnah Brurah (223:15) says to make shehechiyanu immediately after acquiring the house. If you buy a house as a partner, you say "HaTov VeHaMeitiv" (MB there), but as an investment or secondary home, it seems as if you make a shehechiyanu. And for an apartment, why is it different than a house? Are you talking about a rented one?


*This is the source listed in Nit'ei Gavriel, but I think it is wrong; see for yourself.

**I later found the Magen Avraham elsewhere (568:5) who disagrees

***Rabbi Ari Enkin writes in his article "Chanukat Habayit" that you should make it specifically at the chanukas habayis. He is questioned in the comments, though.

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these are all excellent m'korot. Regarding an apartment my question is essentially do you need to own the whole building that you are living in or is it enough to own a portion? –  user1668 Jul 24 '12 at 21:27
    
@PM It seems to me that it would have the ruling — if not, where do you draw the line between buying an apartment and buying a house but not a whole block? –  b a Jul 24 '12 at 21:48
    
Just to be clear about a common case, a wife would seem to count as a partner for this matter. –  Double AA Nov 28 '12 at 3:19
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