Having a kosher Chanukia
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
Which Chanukia is Kosher and which is preferable
- One should beautify the mitzvah by using a nice Chanukia. The types of materails in order of their importance are:1)gold 2) silver 3)polished copper 4)red copper 5)iron 6)tin 7)lead 8)glass 9)wood 10)animal bone 11)glazed earthenware 12)unglazed earthenware that’s new 13)shell of a pomegranate 14)coconut shell 15)oak tree bark. 
- Unglazed earthenware that was used for lighting candles once shouldn’t be used again because it becomes old looking. However if there’s nothing else it can be cleaned out and reused. Glazed earthenware, glass, and metal don’t need to be cleaned in order to be reused. 
- The floating wick even though the wick is floating on the oil with wax one can use it Lechatchila. 
- A Chanukia bought from a goy doesn’t need a tevilah. 
- A vessel used to sample urine (for medical purposes) isn’t allowed to be used as a Chanukia but rather as the vessel holding the Shamash. 
Possible Chanukia Arrangements
- One can fill a bowl with oil and surround the edge with wicks as long as it’s covered by a vessel so that the wicks stay separate in order not to appear like a bonfire. If it the candles are lit while covered each wick counts as another candle, if it’s not covered then all the wicks don’t even count for one candle. 
- If one lit without covering the bowl (with wicks surrounding the edge) one should extinguish the candles and relight without a bracha. 
- Even if one separates the wicks an Etzbah (2 centimeters), one doesn’t need to cover the candles. However, some say that one should cover it even if it’s separated. 
- A chanukia with branches in a circle with an etzbah separation between each candle are Kosher for lighting. 
- One shouldn’t arrange Chanukah candles in a circle (not in any permanent holders) since it looks like a bonfire. If one light this way one should relight without a bracha. If one separated the candles by an etzbah one doesn’t need to relight at all. 
- One shouldn’t light with wax candles attached to each other because it looks like a bonfire, rather they should be separated an etzbah (2 centimeters). 
- The candles should be set up in a line and not a zigzag. 
- The candles should be set up all at the same height level. 
- Ideally, one should have a chanukia, rather than simply melting wax candles onto a table and lighting those. If one doesn't have a kli to set it up in, he can still fulfill his obligation.
- Chanukah Candle lighting
- Placement of the Chanukah Candles
- Earliest and Latest time to light Chanukah Candles
- Lighting Chanukah Candles on Friday afternoon
- Lighting Chanukah Candles in Shul
- Doing an activity before lighting Chanukah Candles
- Leftover oil and wicks
- Kosher oil, wicks, and candles for Chanukah Candles
- A poor person lighting Chanukah Candles
- Chesed LeAvraham (2:58 pg 25b), Sh”t Sadeh HaAretz O”C 41, Ikrei HaDaat 35:11, Sadei Chemed (Chanukah 7), Kaf HaChaim 673:60 and Torat HaMoadim 5:16 record this list of importance.
- Masechet Soferim 20:3 says one can’t use an old vessel, if there’s nothing else one can clean it out and reuse it. Mordechai 2:268 in name of Maharam, Hagahot Maimon (Chanukah 4:1), Tur 673, Likutim MeHilchot Amarchal 24b, Shibolei Leket 185, Kol Bo44, and S”A 673:3 say that a metal vessel doesn’t get the status of an old vessel. Torat HaMoadim 5:17 adds glass and glazed earthenware to the list of vessels that don’t get the status of an old vessel.
- Yalkut Yosef (kitzur Shulchan Aruch 673:3), Sh”t Shevet HaLevi 8:157, Sh”t Lehorot Natan 6:45, Halichot Shlomo pg. 285.
- Chazon Ovadia pg. 35, Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 671:16)
- Sh”t Kol Gadol 92 and brought down by Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 671:17), Chazon Ovadia pg. 35
- Shabbat 23b explains that a bowl with wicks needs to be covered to look like candles and not a bonfire. Rambam (Chanukah 4:4), Tur, S”A 671:4, Sh”t Ginat Veradim (Gan Hamelech 151), Yad Aharon (671 Hagahot Tur), Pri Megadim (A”A 671:3), and Mishna Brurah 671 bring down this Halacha.
- Pri Chadash 671 and Piskei Moshe (Chanukah 3:4) quotes the above halacha (S”A 671:4) and says if one did light without a cover one should relight with a bracha. However, Kaf Hachaim 671:26, Sh”t Yabia Omer 4:52(5,6) and Torat HaMoadim 5:21 say since at the time the first candle was lit the mitzvah was fulfilled even though later on it became a bonfire it’s like lighting in an area where there’s a lot of wind (in which case according to some opinions one fulfills the mitzvah) and thus one should just relight without a bracha (Safek Brachot LeHakel). Perhaps that’s why the rest of the achronim (besides the Pri Chadash) don’t say that law that one should relight with a bracha implying that one should just relight without a bracha. Against Yabia Omer
- Sefer HaItur (Chanukah 2:116d) (quoted by Shibolei Haleket 185, Orchot Chaim (Chanukah 18), Kol Bo 44, Meiri and Ran (Shabbat 23b)) holds if they are separated and not covered the wicks don’t appear to be a bonfire. However the Tur 671 and Ritva (Shabbat 23b) argue that one still needs to cover the wicks. Bet Yosef answers the tur’s question on the Sefer HaItur. Nonetheless, Meiri and Sh”t Maharshal 85 say according to the Sefer HaItur if it’s not covered it can only count as one candle against the Pri Chadash who says it can count for as many candles as there are wicks. Torat Hamoadim 5:22 rules to be strict because it’s a dispute in the rishonim. Pri Megadim (M”Z 671:2), Mekor Chaim (671:4) and Piskei Moshe (Chanukah pg 74) say that the opinion of S”A is like the Tur. However Chazon Ovadyah (Chanukah pg 124) says that we hold like the Itur because that’s the majority of the rishonim.
- Sh”t Trumat HaDeshen 105 allowed circular Chanukia’s with permanent holders if there’s a separation between candles. This is also the opinion of Rama 671:4. Mishna Brurah 673:18 explains in name of the Buir HaGra that they need to be separated by an eztbah and have a separate holder. See at length Torat Hamoadim 15:24 and Chazon Ovadyah pg 124.
- Rabbenu Peretz (Hagahot Smak 280) and Rama 671:4 says that one shouldn’t arrange the candles in a circle. Piskei Moshe (Chanukah 3:6) says one relights without a bracha because of the Pri Chadash 671:4 who say one fulfills his obligation even if it’s in a circle [see similar idea in Torat HaMoadim 5:21]. Piskei Moshe 3:6 rules if one separated the candles an etzbah one doesn’t need to relight because of a Sefek Sefeka.
- Or Zaruh 326 says not to light attached wax candles. Darkei Moshe 671:2, Marahi Vil (Dinin VeHalachot 65), and Rama 671:4 bring down this law. Magen Avraham 671:4, Eliyah Raba 671:8, Chaye Adam 154:10 and Mishna Brurah 671:19 say it even applies to attaching 2 candles. Pri Chadash 671:4 argues that it’s okay that the candles are attached because it looks light a torch and not a bonfire. [However, Sefer Eshkol 21 and Maharal in Ner mitzvah say not to use a torch (of wax).] Pri Medagim A”A 671:4 says the candles can be separated just a little bit against the Mishna Brurah 671:18 in the name of Eliyah Raba that they should be separated by an eztbah.
- Maharil(Chanukah pg 405), Darkei Moshe 671:2, Rama 671:4, and Mateh Moshe 988 hold one should align them in a line. However, Pri Megadim A”A 671:3 says since the Rama left out part of this halacha he meant to arrange it in a line rather than a circle but a zigzag is okay.
- Chaye Adam 154:10 and Torat HaMoadim 5:23 says to set them up at the same height. However, Mahari MeBruna 39, Sharei Knesset Hagedolah (Hagahot Bet Yosef 673:1) and Eliyah Raba that the candle should specifically be set up so that each new candle is higher than the next.
- Chazon Ovadia pg. 34
- Chazon Ovadia pg. 55, Shu"t Avnei Yashphe OC 129