My office wants to light Hanukkah candles.

Who should/can light the candles? Should a beracha be recited?


Generally, the mitzva is ner ish uveiso -- lighting for your home. It appears that at some point an additional enactment was made to light in synagogues, and whoever's appointed by the synagogue lights there, with a bracha. (He then lights again at home, with a bracha.)

Lighting in other places -- offices (I'm really not sure what to call that), public spaces -- is a more-recent phenomenon. Chabad-Lubavitch is big on the practice, and often recites a bracha. A few years ago I was planning on attending some event at a big sports arena where they would begin with a Chanukah-lighting on the field. A Lubavitch friend of mine said that his practice would be to make a bracha in such a case, but whether to make a bracha would be a good question to ask my posek (I'm not Lubavitch).

My first inclination, quite honestly -- unless your office is truly a public space -- is that if someone wants to do it because it makes them feel good, great, but I'm not sure it's a technical mitzva and I'm very, very iffy about the bracha. In that case I'd say give the lighting to whomever gets the most spiritually out of it -- is there a less-observant Jew who'd like to do it?

But please consult with a rabbi about the particulars of your situation.

  • 2
    I also thought of offering someone who is not likely to light it at home at all...
    – Nathan H
    Nov 27 '13 at 13:23
  • @nute Lighting in the office would in most cases (generally unless the person sleeps there) not 'count' anyway, so I'd think there's no point. But ask a rabbi.
    – msh210
    Nov 27 '13 at 15:04
  • 1
    And if there's no point (halachically) and it's just a feel-good thing, then it might be a bracha made in vain -- so not only not needed but actively bad. Definitely consult a rabbi. Nov 27 '13 at 15:09

It would appear from this article http://dinonline.org/2015/12/07/lighting-chanukah-lights-in-public-places/ that the answer is yes if you're of sefardi descent, and mostly no otherwise:

"In conclusion, it is clear that according to the great majority of halachic authorities one should not recite a berachah over lighting in public places other than in Shul."

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