When should one light the Neiros Chanukkah, in the event that he will be away for the beginning of the night and would like to set out as early as possible?
Rav Yisroel Chaim Jankelewitz, Rosh Kollel of our Semicha Chaburah responds: There are four possible options (1) Light immediately after plag even before shkia (2) one should make sure not to light until shkia and only set out thereafter (3) one should appoint a shliach to light for him at the proper time (4) wait until he returns later in the night
The Mishna Berurah in the beginning of Siman 672 brings a Machlokes Rishonim as to when is the proper time for neiros chanukah. Some are of the opinion that it is at the first shkia, others say it is at the beginning of second shkia and yet others hold that one should light after Tzais Hakochavim.
The mechaber says that some believe that one can light from plag hamincha and on when necessary, given that there is enough oil for it to burn for a half hour after the correct zman. The Poskim say that regardless of which zman one intends to follow, one can always light 15-30 minutes earlier or later.
The zman known as ‘Rav Aron’s zman’ which is approximately 25 minutes after shkia is based on this idea. Since by lighting at that time you can be yotzei all shitos.
Assuming Tzais Hakochavim is 50 minutes after shkia, by lighting at the midpoint between shkia and tzais one in turn has lit within a half hour of either zman.
In our case where someone must leave his home early, he should rather light when he returns than light through a shliach since that would put them in a dilemma over the Bracha, and lighting at plag is very b’dieved.