Halachot of the Army for Chanukah

Halachot of the Army for Chanukah

Chanukiyah in a field
Question: Should we light the Chanukiyah if we are sleeping in an open field?
Answer: The Meharsham rules that one has to be in a house, even a temporary one, to be obligated to light (Shut Meharsham vol. 4 #146). Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Eliezer Waldenberg gave a "chiddush" (innovative ruling) that it is permissible to light in a field (Shut Tzitz Eliezer 15:29), but this is a big "chiddush." Therefore, one should not light in a field.

Chanukah lights at a party
Question: Should we kindle Chanukah lights with a blessing at a Chanukah party in the army?
Answer: If the party is in the mess hall, it is like the residence of the soldiers and it is permissible to light with a blessing. But if it is just a hall, one should not recite the blessing. We also light with a blessing in a shul in order to publicize the miracle of Chanukah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 671:7), and this would seemingly also to apply to a hall, but the custom is that we only do so in a shul and we do not add to this custom. Thus, if the soldiers are davening minchah or maariv in the hall, it can be considered a shul and it would be permissible to light with a blessing (Yalkut Yosef – Moadim p. 204 note #43 and Hilchot Chanukah of RavHarari p. 98 note #23).

Chanukah lights in a tent
Question: Is there an obligation to light Chanukah lights in an army tent?
Answer: Chanukah lights require a house. A tent is a house. A house does not have to be made of wood and stones; it can also be made of fabric, and a temporary house is also considered a house (Yalkut Yosef – Moadim p. 208). A tent for shelter, however, is not considered a house since it does not have the minimum size of 4 amah by 4 amah (6 feet x 6 feet). It is too small and it cannot function as a house. Therefore, if a soldier is sleeping in a tent for shelter, he is exempt from lighting for Chanukah and he has three options: 1. His family can light for him at home. 2. He can light in the army mess hall. 3. He can light in the army shul.

Chanukah lights with an electric flashlight
Question: When there is no choice, it is permissible to use an electric flashlight for Chanukah lights? For example, in a tent when there is a fear of it lighting on fire.
Answer: Regarding Chanukah lights, an electric flashlight is not considered a light because it does not possess oil or a wick, and it is possible that it does not contain the minimum amount of power that it must be lit (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1, p. 199). Therefore, if there is a question, do not light at all.

Chanukah lights in a guard house
Question: Should someone on guard duty light in his guard house?
Answer: Yes. It is his temporary residence (Yalkut Yosef – Moadim p. 208). It is also a nice way of publicizing of the miracle.