Someone who is in jail and is able to light Channukah candles, can/should he make a bracha?

I don't know if being in Jail is considered to be like having a home that someone would have a chiyuv to light candles in. This is a dira bal korcha (a forced living situation.) He definitely isn't paying rent in order to be there either. Is this like a "guest". Does the fact that he eats most of his meals there mean something as well?

Are there any poskim that discussed this issue?

Update: I later saw in the Beis Yosef in Siman 677 towards the end where he brings from the Mahari Abohav that someone who is in a boat or in the house of non-Jews may light with a bracha. Perhaps one may bring a proof from here to our case? Is the house of a non-Jew better/worse (in terms of being able to light with a bracha as he points out) than a jail?

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  • There would also be the question of his ownership of the candles, would there not? – Seth J Dec 10 '12 at 19:04
  • @SethJ Why? What's the question ("lechem"?!) Let's say they got them from an outside source and were given to them. – Yehoshua Dec 10 '12 at 19:06
  • @DoubleAA Very nice story...Although I don't understand why before this Yid came from South Africa he the Rebbe didn't push someone to organize Chanukah Candles in NY for the Prisoners? Without any success!? Surprising for Chabad and how persistent the Rebbe was. ZY"A... – Yehoshua Dec 10 '12 at 19:12
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    Isn't a guest also obligated to light candle? What exactly is your hava amina that the inmate would be exempt. – Double AA Dec 12 '12 at 20:15

Per Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul in an essay in Ohr Olam one in prison should light and make a Bracha on Chanuka candles.

See the conclusion of the essay here.

See also this, from a talk by R' Menachem Mendel Schneerson in 1978:

It is of particular importance to reach those Jews who are confined to hospitals and prisons, and to help them to light Chanukah candles.

  • Great source. How did you get to this? – Yehoshua Dec 12 '12 at 21:56
  • Your link to the Sichos in English is now dead, בד"א. Are they still online somewhere? – MTL Dec 9 '14 at 6:03
  • @Isaac Nice! How'd you find that link? – MTL Dec 10 '14 at 4:15
  • @Shokhet I googled the quotation. – Isaac Moses Dec 10 '14 at 4:16
  • @IsaacMoses Ah. Good move! – MTL Dec 10 '14 at 4:19

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