From the Rav’s Desk: May an Avel/mourner light the Shul’s Menorah

  1. Question: [Sunday, 24th Kisleiv, 5782]

In our Shul we usually have a custom that the Chazan of Mincha lights the Shul’s Menorah before Aleinu. I am actually within the year of morning and will be leading the prayers throughout Chanukah and I would like to know is there any issue if I light the shuls candles?


On the first night of Chanukah, an Avel is not to light the Shul’s Menorah, as he may not recite a public blessing of Shehechiyanu. He may, however, light the Shul’s Menorah from the second night and onwards without any issue.

Explanation: Although there is no restriction whatsoever for a mourner, even during shiva, to recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu, nonetheless, the Poskim writer this only applies to a private recital of the blessing of Shehechiyanu, however, for the morning to sin on behalf of the congregation in public should be avoided due to it being too joyous of an occasion. This is similar to the Chabad custom for the mourner not to lead the prayers for the Hallel during Hanukkah despite him being able to say it privately to himself. Now, although some Poskim permit the Avel to recite Shehechiyanu even by a public lighting, practically, in my opinion and certainly based on the above Chabad custom, one is to be stringent

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 Lenient opinion: 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

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