Rabbi Menachem Pearl, head of the Tzomet Institute, approached hotels in Eilat this week to find a place for holiday makers to light Chanukah candles according to Jewish law. Pearl says that he "received many requests from those planning to take a Chanukah vacation in Eilat.
"The vacationers are concerned that the hotels will not allow candles to be lit in places that are halachically appropriate. It is well known, according to Jewish law, candles should be lit at the entrance to the courtyard, or the entrance to the house or windowsill in front of public domain. In the hotel, you can not light candles in the doorway or in the window, for fear of a fire. Therefor, there are those who were ordered to light in the dining room, but there too, the hotel does not permit lighting, for other reasons.
Most of the hotels now have tables for lighting in the lobby. But the lobby is not the entrance to the house, it is not a bedroom or a dining room that is defined as a central place in the house. Lighting in the lobby does not make it clear who lit the candles, nor who publicized the miracle."
Rabbi Pearl called on hotels to allow the public to light candles in the dining room near the table.
"In the event that this is not possible," the Rabbi says, "Those who stay in a hotel on Chanukah and cannot light ordinary candles, even in the aquarium (a glass box ordinarily used to light Chanukah candles) or in the dining room next to their table, will light a flashlight in their room that illuminates its surrounding, not just one side [of the room] or an electrical candlesticks in a respectable manner worthy of the publications of the miracle. [they] may even recite the blessings over this fire."
Rabbi Pearl notes that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rabbi Elyashiv instructed the soldiers to light and connect an electric Menorah to a vehicle's battery. Rabbi Mashash also ruled similarly in the past. Rabbi Pearl added that he had examined the matter with Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, who also rules that way.