19. [The following rules apply] when a person is not at home [during the
Chanukah festival]: If he knows that his wife is lighting the candles at
home, he should light in the place where he is located without reciting a
blessing (1). Preferably, he should listen to the blessings from someone
who is lighting in that place with the intent of fulfilling his obligation,
answer "Amen", and then light without reciting the blessings.
A person whose wife does not kindle [Chanukah lights] at home and
similarly, students who are boarding with a family, must light [the
Chanukah lights] and recite the blessings. Alternatively, they may become
partners with the head of the household, by paying him a minimal amount
("Peruta" (2)) for a share in the oil and wicks. The head of the household
should add some extra oil for the sake of the partners. They should,
nevertheless, do their best ("Le'hader") to kindle their own [Chanukah lights].
A person who is in his city, but away from his home at the time when the
[Chanukah lights] should be kindled, is required to return home and kindle
(1) The Ramah (677:3) states that such a person should have the specific
intention not to fulfill his obligation with the candles lit by his wife.
In such an instance, he should recite the blessings before lighting the
candles himself. Many authorities accept this rationale (See Mishnah
(2) A "perutah" was the coin of lowest value in times of the Talmud. By
contributing a minimal amount of money, the person acquires a share in the
oil or candles (it is not necessary to contribute half the value). The head
of the household will then light and say the blessings on his behalf, and
he will answer "Amen."