Q. When you travel or go camping and can’t light Shabbat candles because of the hotel restrictions or the wind that will turn them off, can you use glow sticks? Can you se them in Chanuka?
(A glow stick is a ‘self-contained, short-term light-source. It consists of a translucent plastic tube containing isolated chemical substances that when combined, create light).
A. In question 667 of this forum we mentioned “that in regards to electric lights Beis Yitzchok (Y.D. 1: 120) opines that they could be used instead of Shabbos candles but not as Chanuka lights since they lack pirsumey nissah. Poskim offer other reasons why electric lights do not qualify. One being that there is no actual fuel present at the time of lightning; it is constantly being generated at the power stations (Pekudas Elozor O.H. 23, Shmiras Shabbos Kechilchoso 43 n.22, et. al.) Accordingly they would permit the use of a battery powered incandescent light bulb. However, some Poskim do not regard the tungsten filament as a wick (Maharshag 2: 107, Levushey Mordechai 3: 59). Most Poskim would not sanction the commonly used fluorescent and LED lights for Chanuka use. Lehoros Nossan (11: 17) permits battery powered incandescent lights when in need and no other option is available, such as one hospitalized. Nitey Gavriel (Chanuk,a Teshuva 1) quotes Be’er Moshe’s opinion, that one should light the incandescent light without a brocho.
Although as mentioned, there are Poskim who are stringent, but the more prevalent ruling is to allow lighting incandescent bulbs even with a blessing (Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchoso 43:4).
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is also not to recite a brocho even on battery powered incandescent filament lights on Chanuka, but permits to do so on Shabbos.
If battery operated incandescent bulbs are not available, other types of bulbs, such as fluorescent or LED, could be lit but without a brocho.
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that the same would apply to glow sticks. See next question.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a