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Thought for the Day: Lighting Chanuka Lights as a Guest and in a Tank

I am looking forward to taking my grandchildren to a county fair.  I have very fond memories of visits to the Orange County Fair in my youth.  I am not sure why, as I don't particularly like pigs or quilts; none the less my memory of those visits all have a nice feel to them.  We didn't go on the rides (too dangerous), nor eat the food (too expensive), nor even play the games (all rigged);  I guess it was just fun to go as a family and see an eclectic bunch of stuff.  One thing I remember vividly was a real tank that we could go in and explore.  I use the word "explore" loosely; once you got in there really wasn't much wiggle room.

What brought this up was the cold weather; which reminded me that Chanuka is approaching.  Halichos Shlomo on hilchos Chanuka starts with various interesting cases regarding the obligation of light.  The basic obligation to light is one menorah per household.  A household, of course, needs a house.  Apparently the Israeli tank forces spend several days at a time in their tanks.  Even though they eat outside (during calm periods, presumably), Halichos Shlomo says that the tank constitutes a household vis-à-vis chanuka licht.  The licht must be lit inside, not on top of, the tank.  You can't just turn on a light, either, because that is not recognizable as "ner mitzvah".  In a difficult situation (not hard to imagine if you are living in a tank), one may use a flash light.

Somewhat more mundane, but also more relevant to most of use, is the case of being a guest in someone's house.  As is well known, it is standard for guests and/or boarders to contribute some token amount of money to own a share of the oil/candles.  The Halichos Shlomo notes that there is no requirement (nor even particular benefit) to owning the oil.  This is not like lulav where there is a drash of "lachem" that requires you to own the lulav (at least on the first day).  This is also not a matter of shlichus/appointing an agent.  As we see from the formulation of the bracha as "l'hadlik neir shel chanuka", not "al hadlaskas neir shel chanuka"; shlichus doesn't work.  Rather, you are becoming part of the household; buying your way in, as it were.  Note also that a boarder has to pay the ba'al habayis, not another boarder; it's not like subletting.

Just thought it would be nice to precede the cold weather with some warm thoughts of latkes, dreidels, and the gentle elegance of the chanuka licht.


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