Countdown to Chanukah 19: The Ran
The Ran (Rabbeinu Nissim, Pesachim 4a, “U’mihu”) answers the Rosh’s question (Pesachim 1:10) of why is the blessing over the Chanukah candles “l’hadlik” and not “al hadlakat,”
as in “al Netilat Yadaim.” (See Countdown 20) The Ran explains that since we are taught that a guest must contribute to the cost of the Chanukah candles of his host, we see that the Mitzvah is on the person, not that the candles should be lit. Therefore the blessing was formulated as “L’hadlik,” he, each person, must light the candles.
It is interesting to note that this same guest, if he were at home and someone else was lighting the candles, would not have to contribute. It seems that the person’s obligation is to make sure that a candle is lit in the house where he is. The Mitzvah is how the person relates to his house and home.
Our Service on Chanukah is to commit ourselves to creating an environment of light of Mitzvah and illumination of Torah wherever we are. It is not enough to achieve inner light; we must nurture an environment of light all around us. (Vayechi Yosef 32:3)