Religion Magazine

Interesting Psak: Lighting Hanukkah Candles in Gaza

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
I have seen a couple of interesting questions come up from the battlefield with Hanukkah approaching while at war.. here is one of them...
A question presented to Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, rav of Ramat Elchnonon neighborhood of Bnei Braq, is if soldiers in Gaza need to or should light Hanukkah candles. Some of them even take over houses of Gazans as they clear the area of terrorists - they then sleep in these houses while using them as bases as they prepare to advance to the next area.
Rav Zilbershtein said that soldiers in Gaza, not knowing at any time if and when and from where a terrorist might come crawling out of a hole, are exempt from the obligation to light Hanukkah candles. Even if they are located in a Gazan house at any given time, that is not called living in a house - the soldier might sleep there but that isn't sleep, the soldier is constantly on the watch for terrorists, sleeping with one eye open, scared and busy with war. Every moment there is a danger to his life.
Hanukkah candles were meant for praising God and thanking Him for the miracles but while in gaza one is not in a situation for praise and thanks but is in constant danger and fear, davening to remain safe and alive. 
Rav Zilbershtein says if one really wants to, a soldier can light Hanukkah candles while in Gaza at war, but only without a bracha.
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