From the Rav’s Desk: 1) Mourner lighting in shul on first night; 2) Child lighting with oil versus wax candles

  1. Question: [Wednesday, 23rd Kisleiv 5781]

I am in the year of mourning for my mother r”l and regularly pray for the Amud. I would like to know if I should be the one to light the Hanukkah candles in shul after Mincha or not. Is there any issue for mourners to do so?



There is no issue for you to light the candles with exception to the first night, due to the blessing of Shehechiyahu of which a mourner is not to say publicly, and thus although you are certainly to say it when you light at home on the first night, you should not be the one delegated to saying it publicly by the first lighting in shul.

Sources: See Maharam Mintz 43; Taz 671:8; P”M 671 M”Z 8; Machazik Bracha 671:9; Chayeh Adam 154:17; Derech Hachaim 4; M”B 671:44; Shaareiy Teshuvah 671:7; Kaf Hachaim 671:73; See also regarding Megillah: M”B 692:1; Derech Hachaim 2; Kaf Hachaim 692:7

Other opinions: Some Poskim permit the Avel to recite Shehechiyanu even by a public lighting. [Olas Shmuel 106 that he has not seen the world be careful in this matter; Teshuvah Meahava 2:286; Mishmeres Shalom ibid; Gesher Hachaim 23:4; Beis Yitzchak Yoreh Deah 2:158; Minchas Elazar 2:32; See Nitei Gavriel 37:4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 692:6]


  1. Question: [Wednesday, 23rd Kisleiv 5781]

My son is six years old and will be lighting his own Menorah. Should we have him light using olive oil or can he use wax candles?



You may choose that he use wax candles although it is best to educate him to use olive oil

Explanation: While wax candles are valid even for an adult, and certainly for a child who according to many opinions is not even obligated in lighting even after reaching the age of education, nonetheless certainly it is proper to be scrupulous in Mitzvos and educate children according to the most Mehadrin manner of fulfilling a mitzvah and therefore it is proper for them to also use olive oil, in a safe setting under supervision.

Sources: See Rama 675:3; M”A 677:8; M”B 677:13; Biur Halacha 675:3 “Uledidon”; Kaf Hachaim 677:22; Likkutei Sichos 12:251

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