If someone wants to light the menorah for an elderly lady in their home, what should they do?

1) Would they light the menorah in their own home first and then go to the home of the elderly person and light for them?

2) Would they make the berachah in the home of the elderly person?

3) Do they need to stay in their own home for half an hour before they go to the home of the elderly person?

Answer:

1) He should first light in his own home, and then in the home of the elderly person. A person’s first responsibility is to take care of his obligation, and then to his fellow’s obligation. Another reason is because of the berachah, as explained below (2).

2) If the elderly person is there, and can hear his berachah, he should make the berachah for her. However, if she is not there, and cannot hear the berachah, he does not make a berachah (Bach and Magen Avraham 676:4, based on Maharach Or Zarua and Shiltei Giborim; see Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2, 57:4, who tries to explain this ruling).

It is therefore best to make the berachah at home, to light for oneself, and to have in mind the lighting at the elderly lady’s home, too. This means that one should light in one’s house, and proceed straight away to light in the neighbor’s (the elderly lady’s), so that the berachah will apply.

3) No, there is no need to stay at home, and on the contrary, one should hurry to light at the elderly lady’s ASAP, both in order to light at the right time, and (based on the end of (2) for the berachah to apply to her lighting.

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