A Guest On Motza’ei Shabbat Chanukah

Question: If one is staying as a guest at one’s parents’ or in-laws’ home for Shabbat Chanukah, where should one light Chanukah candles on Motza’ei Shabbat?

Answer: Regarding a married individual who is staying as a guest at his father’s home, according to the Sephardic custom that only the head of the household lights Chanukah candles, the son (and his family) will have fulfilled his obligation with his father’s lighting, for the son is staying as a guest and eating at his father’s table. According to the Ashkenazi custom, every member of the household lights Chanukah candles regardless.

Our question is, on Motza’ei Shabbat, whether according to the Sephardic or Ashkenazi custom, where should the son light Chanukah candles? Should he light in his father’s home (or fulfill his obligation with his father’s lighting according to the Sephardic custom) where he has stayed and ate until Motza’ei Shabbat or should he light in his own home when he arrives later on during the night since he intends to sleep there?

The fundamental question here is: Is the determining factor regarding the place one must light Chanukah candles where one eats or where one sleeps?

Hagaon Harav Yaakov Kamenetzky zt”l writes in his Sefer Emet Le’Yaakov (Chapter 677): “One who stays as a guest in the home of one’s father-in-law or someone else during Shabbat Chanukah and plans on returning home on Motza’ei Shabbat must light Chanukah candles in the home where one was a guest on Shabbat, for this is considered one’s home until one leaves it.”

This means that since this individual lodges and eats in the home of his hosts, there house becomes his and one must therefore light Chanukah candles in their home as opposed to in one’s own home at a later hour. Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l rules likewise in his Halichot Shlomo (page 279).

Nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l (in his Chazon Ovadia-Chanukah, page 155) quotes the words of one of the great earlier Acharonim, Rabbeinu Yosef Katz (head of the rabbinical court in Cracow, brother-in-law of the Rama and close confidant of the Maharshal) in his Responsa She’erit Yosef (Chapter 73), as follows: “If one is eating a meal at a friend’s home and the time to light Chanukah candles arrives, it would seem that the primary obligation to light Chanukah candles is not determined by the place one is eating, even if one is eating a meal of a settled character. Rather, it is determined based on the place one sleeps.” Maran zt”l quotes several other Poskim who discuss this matter and continues to support this view. Maran therefore concludes that if one is staying at another’s home during Shabbat Chanukah, one must light Chanukah candles in one’s own home on Motza’ei Shabbat Chanukah, even if one returns home very late and one must not rely on the lighting being performed in the host’s home.