I live in chu”l and I light the menorah inside. Is it still important to light the menorah at shkiah, or can I light the menorah much later, also because people are on the streets until late at night? What is l’chatchila?
Thanks for your reply
The Rema (672:2) writes that today, when we light inside, there is no need to light at the time of shkiah or tzeis hakochavim, and one can light later. The Mishnah Berurah (10) writes that one should light at the time when it is possible to gather the family together.
Nevertheless, where it is possible one should try to light at the first possible opportunity, because of the virtue of zeruzus in mitzvos, and because it is forbidden to begin other activities before lighting the candles.