Placement of the Chanukah Candles

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Placement of the Chanukia/Direction of Lighting

  1. [All left and right’s are for someone standing inside the house looking at the doorway.] The Chanukia should be placed within a tefach of the right side of the door, opposite the post with the mezuzah. The first night the candle should be placed on the right most side of the Chanukia, furthest from the door. The second night the two candles should be placed on the right most spots and be lit from left to right (the way English is written), moving your hand away from the door, always lighting the new candle first. [1]
  2. If there’s no Mezuzah on the door, the Chanukia should be put within a tefach of the left side of the door (where the mezuzah usually goes). The first night the candle should be placed on the right most side of the Chanukia, closest from the door. The second night the two candles should be placed on the right most spots and be lit from left to right (the way English is written), moving your hand towards the door, always lighting the new candle first. [2]
  3. If there’s a courtyard in front of a house it should be put by the doorway of the courtyard and not the doorway of house. But one who lives in an upper floor without a doorway to the public, should light by a window or porch facing the public. [3]
  4. In an apartment building some say that the stairwell is a courtyard and one should light at the entrance to the stairwell towards the public domain [4] while others say that nowadays we don’t use the stairwell like a courtyard thus light in the apartment itself. [5]
  5. Nowadays one doesn’t have to light a Chanukia for a door on a side of the house for which there is no Chanukia. [6]
  6. Nowadays many have the practice to light indoors even not when it’s dangerous to light outside. Still it should be put to the left of the door (opposite the mezuzah) within a tefach of door. However if there’s a window facing the public, one should light by the window. [Some are strict to light outside with a covering.] [7]
  7. Someone who lives in a yeshiva or college setting where one eats in a different building than he sleeps, some have the Minhag to light by the place he eats and some have Minhag to light where he sleeps. [8]
  8. One must light in the place where the Chanukia is going to stay. Thus, one shouldn’t light indoors and then move the Chanukia outside or light it in one’s hand and then put it down. If one did so, one should extinguish the candles and relight without a bracha. Consequently, a sick person should light while in bed and then have the Chanukia moved but rather should let another household member light. [9]

Windy place

  1. In a place where it’s windy (which would blow out the candle) one is allowed to light inside. Some are strict to light outside with a glass covering. However one should be careful to light with the glass covering on and not that after lighting one covers it with the glass. [10]
  2. One shouldn’t light in a place where it’s windy. If one did so and it gets blown out within a half hour one doesn’t fulfill one’s obligation, therefore one should relight without a Bracha. [11]
  3. If one lit in a windy area and the candles last a half hour so say that retroactively one fulfilled the mitzvah, while others say that one didn’t fulfill the mitzvah and should relight without a Bracha. [12]

Glass cases

  1. Some achronim say that one shouldn’t light with the glass case doors wide open when one lights and then close them after lighting if it’s a windy place, while most others argue that one may be lenient. [13]
  2. Having two Chanukiot in one case can be an issue of lacking recognition of the day of Chanuka and so one Chanukia should be raised so that the flames are seen separately. [14]

Heights of placement of Chanukia

  1. The Chanukia should be placed between 3 and 10 tefachim (between 24 and 80 centimeters) from the ground of the house. If it’s placed above 10 tefachim, one fulfilled the obligation. [15]
  2. If it’s above 20 amot (9.6 meters) one doesn’t fulfill the obligation and should extinguish the candle and relight it in the proper height without a bracha. [16]
  3. Similarly someone who lives an upper floor apartment, should light by the door of the apartment and if they want they can light at the window even if it’s above 20 amot. Some have the custom to light by the apartment building entrance. [17]
  4. The measurements are measured to the flame of the candle. [18]
  5. If one is lighting in a window, preferably the candles should be within 10 Tefachim from the floor, however, the there’s no issue of lighting in the window above 10 Tefachim. [19]
0 Rav Chaim Noeh Chazon Ish
3 Tefachim 24 cm 28.8 cm
10 Tefachim 80 cm 96 cm
20 Amot 9.6 meters 11.52 meters
  1. Some say that regarding this law one can follow the more lenient of the two measurements. [20]

Related Pages

  1. Lighting Chanuka Candles

References

  1. S”A 676:5, Arizal (Shaar Kavanot pg 108c), Nagid VeMitzvah (26:72), Mahari Kolon 183, Mordechai (Shabbat 2:268), Maharil (quoted by the Magan Avraham 676:5), Trumat Hadeshen 106, and Bet Yosef 676 hold that one lights from left to right so that “all your turns are to the right”. However Levush and Taz (676:6) say if there’s a mezuzah one sets the first night’s candle on the left most side, closest to the door. The second night the candles are put in the left most spots and are always lit from right to left. So hold Maaseh Rav 232, Sh”t Panim Meirot 1:98, Sh”t Semach Tzedek O”C 67. However Pri HaChadash, Bear Sheva (Sotah 15b), Nezirut Shimshon (Sotah 15b), Sh”t Chatam Sofer O”C 187, Chazon Ovadiah (Chanuka pg 33) argue on the Levush and hold like S”A. A third approach is that of the Gra who says that instead of lighting the newest candle first one must light the same candle first every night. Thus if there’s a mezuzah one set up the candles closer to the door on the left side of the Chanukia and lit from left to right. Mishna Brurah 676:5 quotes the Bet Yosef and the Gra and concludes one can do like either one. However the follow hold like S”A against the Gra: Kovetz Hamoedim (Moriah pg 61), Evan Israel (9 pg 129a), Sadeh HaAretz O”C 3:33, Nehar Mitzrayim Chanuka 7, and Kaf HaChaim 676:31.
  2. S”A 671:7 rules if there’s no mezuzah the candles should be put on the left side where the mezuzah usually goes, so says Sefer HaManhig, Ravyah 843, Hagot Maimon (Chanuka 4:8) in name of Rabbenu Simcha, Mordechai (Shabbat 2:266) in name of Rabbenu Yakar, Or Zaruh (2:323) in name of Rabbenu Efraim, Sh”t Maharam MeRotenberg (defus prag 66), Likutim Mehilchot Amarchal 24b, Hagot Rabbenu Peretz to Smak 280, Ran (Shabbat 22a), Tur 671, and Sh”t Maharil 40 against the Orchot Chaim (Chanuka 3), Kol Bo 44, and Sefer HaMeorot (Shabbat 22a) who say even without a mezuzah it’s still put on the right. [Note to reader: the right and left used in this footnote is the reverse of the language found in the sources brought in this footnote because the sources are looking from the perspective of someone walking into the house with the mezuzah on his right, however the sources by the directions of lighting discuss it from the perspective of someone standing inside or outside (by the entrance) facing the public domain [for example: the newest candle is the one closer to the door and it’s lit first so that one’s hand is moving left to right so that “all your turns are to the right” (Bet Yosef)]. For conformity, the directions here are all set to the directions of lighting (which are more easily confused).]
  3. Rashi (Shabbat 21a D”H Mibachutz) says the chanukia isn’t put in the reshut harabim but in the courtyard. The Rashba and Ran explain this to mean that it should be put at the doorway to the house and not the doorway to the courtyard. So holds the Smag (Chanuka) in name of the Ri (not the same one as tosfot, see Bach 671:5), Hagot Maimon (Chanuka 4:30) in name of Ri, Riaz(Shabbat 21a), and Shiltei Giborim(Shabbat 21a). However Tosfot (Shabbat 21a D”H Mitzvah) writes it should be put outside the entrance to the courtyard. So holds Piskei Rid, Rashba, Tur, and S”A 671:5. Rashi (Shabbat 21b D”H im haya dar ba’aliya) writes that one living in an upper floor only puts it by the window if he has no place to put it in the courtyard (this fits with his opinion of putting it in the courtyard not on the entrance). Similarly, the Tur says one puts it by the window only if one doesn’t have a doorway to the public. Implying that if one has a courtyard or door facing the public, that’s preferable to a window. [However Bet Yosef 671:5 comments on the Tur that only if the door to the public or a entrance of a courtyard but if the doorway to the apartment goes into the house itself, putting it by the doorway to the public or courtyard won’t be recognizable that it belongs to the apartment and so it must be put in the window. Nonetheless, Torat HaMoadim 3:2 based on Ritva (Shabbat 21b) says that the Bet Yosef’s concern doesn’t apply to the stairwell because it’s known that all the tenants have rights to the stairwell an upper floor apartment can still put a chanukia there.]
  4. Maadei Shlomo pg 110, Halichot Shlomo 14:1, Shevut Yitzchak vol 5 pg 7 in name of Rav Elyashiv, Kol Bo Chanuka (pg 98) in name of the Griz and Rabbi Yosef Kahenmen
  5. Orchot Rabbenu (vol 3 pg 3) in name of the Chazon Ish (similar to Chazon Ish OC Eiruvin 65:52) and Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 198; Rav Ovadyah in Kol Torah 5725)
  6. Shabbat 23a Rav Huna says because of suspicion if a house has two doors (to the outside) he should light by both, and Rava explains that’s only if the doors are on separate sides. So holds Rambam (Chanuka 4:10), Tur and S”A 671:8. However nowadays one doesn’t have to light because of suspicion. So holds Sefer HaTruma 228, Smak 280, Orchot Chaim (Chanuka 13) in name of Rabbi Yehuda MeKorvin, Hagot Maimon (Chanuka 4:30) in name of Rabbenu Simcha, Sh”t HaRashba 1:541, Ritva (Shabbat 23a), Meiri, Mordechai (Shabbat 2:266), Sefer HaMeorot (Shabbat 23a), Shibolei HaLeket 185, Ohel Moed (Chanuka 5, Rama 671, Sh”t Maharshal, Hagot Maharikash, Pri Chadash, Sh”t Bet David O”C 472, Torat HaMoadim 3:8.
  7. Seemingly the only exemption to lighting outside is a time of danger as in Shabbat 21b. Rashi and Tosfot (D”H Ubeshat Sakanah) explain that it was outlawed by the king to light. Thus Or Zaruh 2:323 asks, now, when there isn’t danger, why don’t we light outside. However Itur 2 pg 114d, Shibolei Leket 185, and HaOhel Moed (Chanuka 5) say that once there was a Minhag not to light outside because of danger, the Minhag stayed in place. Another reason to be lenient is the Ritva (Shabbat 21b), and Rabbenu Perachya who say a prevention to light outside such as wind is also called “time of danger”. Similarly, Rabbenu Yerucham 9:1, Siddur Rav Amram Goan, Hilchot Kesuvot Min HaGoenim, Darkei Moshe 671:9, Bach 671e hold that since thieves come (which is also called “danger”), they would light inside. [Sh”t Imrei Noam 2:29, Sh”t Minchat Yitzchak 6:66 quotes Megilat Taanit 1 says because of fear of scoffers the practice is to light inside.] Nonetheless Meiri (Shabbat 21b), Tosfot (Shabbat 45a D”H Makmi) in name of Ri, Rid, Riaz, Ran, Pri Chadash implies from S”A 671:5 that a “danger” is when it’s forbidden to light (and not just a fear of thievery). Still Raavad, Rashba, Sefer Trumah, and Ritva (against the Rambam) hold that if one lights inside not at the time of danger one fulfills his obligation after the fact. Others who defend the practice to light inside include: Tzafnat Pane’ach (Chanuka 3:3), Yaskil Avdi O”C 7:46, and Torat HaMoadim 3:4. Mishna Brurah 671:35 writes [Sh”t Dvar Yehoshua 1:40 says nowadays one can only light indoors and it doesn’t fulfill the mitzvah to light outside. However Yalkut Yosef (Moadim 231-2) quotes Rav Ovadyah’s response to this that it’s better to light outside but one is allowed to light inside.]
  8. Torat HaMoadim 2:5. If there’s a cafeteria(place to eat) and dorms(place to sleep) in one building one can light wherever in the building there’s more Pirsume Nisa (Publicizing the miracle) such as the entrance to the cafeteria, in the cafeteria, entrance to the dorms, or in the dorms. If the cafeteria and dorm are separate building is a dispute of the Achronim sourced in the Sh”t 1:542 who says that if one eats daily at someone’s house he must join in the lighting at that house. So the Rama 677:1 rules the main place for the Chanuka candles is where he eats. So holds the Taz 677:2 and Leket Yoshar. However Sh”t Maharshal 85 says the place where one sleeps is primary. So holds Sefer Yosef Ometz Yuzfa 1071, Sh”t Rivivot Efarim in name of Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe (Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe O”C 3:70(3), Y”D 3:14(5)), and Sh”t Minchat Yitzchak 7:48; Chazon Ish holds that the primary place is the place of eating but says as a stringency one should also light without a bracha by the place of sleeping.
  9. Shabbat 22b Rava’s statement, so rules Rambam (Chanuka 4:9), Tur and S”A (675:1). Pri Chadash says one shouldn’t make a bracha if one needs to light again, against Hagot Rabbi Akiva Eiger 675 who says to make a bracha. Because of Safek Brachot one shouldn’t make a bracha (in addition to the idea that perhaps one fulfills the mitzvah not it’s place if it’s recognizable that it’s lit for Chanuka- Sh”t Lev Chaim 3:146), so holds Torat HaMoadim 3:9 and Sh”t Hitorerut Teshuva 2:110. [Also, a sefek sefeka isn’t sufficient to allow a bracha- see Yechava Daat 5:21] Torat HaMoadim 3:9 quotes the ruling of a sick person from Sh”t Lev Chaim 3:146.
  10. Aruch HaShulchan 671:24 says our practice isn’t to light outside since in our areas it commonly rains, snows and there’s strong wind. Also the Rabbis didn’t impose such a burden of setting up a glass case for the Chanukia. Sh”t Shelit Yaavetz 149 writes that one should light outside with a glass covering, implying if there’s wind me’ikar hadin one doesn’t need to light outside. Torat HaMoadim Chanuka 3:3 requires with the glass covering on is because otherwise it’s like lighting a candle that can’t last a half hour which S”A 675:2 renders the lighting unfit even if more fuel is added later. So too Shiltei Giborim (Shabbat 21b), Piskei Riaz, Rivta, Rabbenu Perachya, Back 673, Magan Avraham 673:12, Taz 673e, Pri Chadash, and Eliyah Rabba 673:14 write that one can’t light in a place where the wind would blow it out. Mikrei Kodesh (Chanuka 17) writes that the Mahril Disken would light with the covering on so that at the time he lit he could leave it and it’d stay lit without closing the covering, however he defends the Minhag to light and then put on the cover.
  11. Mishna Brurah 673:25 writes that just like one shouldn’t light without sufficient amount of oil, one shouldn’t light in a place that’s windy. If one did so and the wind blows it out one should relight it without a Bracha.
  12. Sh”t Har Tzvi Siman 114 writes that if the wind doesn’t blow it out certainly one fulfills the obligation retroactively. Rav Shlomo Zalman in Halichot Shlomo (16:6 pg 301) agrees. However, Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Nassim Karlitz quoted in Kovetz Shemuot (Chanuka pg 123) who argue that since it wasn’t light properly even if it doesn’t get blown out one doesn’t fulfill the mitzvah and one should relight without a Bracha.
  13. The Maharal Diskin (quoted by Mikrei Kodesh siman 17 and Moadim UZmanim vol 2 siman 142) holds that one shouldn’t light with the glass case doors open because at the time of the lighting the candles have to able to burn for a half hour and in this case at the time of lighting they were in a windy place. So held the Griz (quoted by Piskei Teshuvot 673:5). However, Rav Chaim Zonenfeld in Sh”t Shelmat Chaim Siman 261 disagrees with the Maharal Diskin. Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank in Sh”t Har Tzvi Siman 114 agrees with Rav Chaim Zonenfeld because one’s intention and completion of lighting was to close the doors. Rav Shternbach in Moadim UZmanim 2:142, Rav Shlomo Zalman in Minchat Shlomo 58:1 (and Halichot Shlomo 16:6), Rav Chaim Kanievsky in Taama DeKra Parshat Vayeshev, and Rav Ovadyah Yosef in Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 675:2) concur with the lenient position.
  14. Or Yisrael (Dardak pg 86), Kol MeHeichal (pg 520) in name of Rav Ovadyah Auerbach, and Or Yisrael (Blinsky pg 105)
  15. Shabbat 21b the statement of Ravina that it’s a mitzvah (preferable) to place it below ten; Ran (9b D”H Garsi) in name of Rabbenu Chananel and Rabbenu Yonah, Rashba (Shabbat 21b Amar Ravina), Rosh (Shabbat 2:5), Smag (Chanuka 250d), Smak (280,277), Tur and S”A 671:6 hold like Ravina even though the gemara questions him. Bet Yosef 671:6 says since the Rif and Rambam don’t mention this it means you can place it anywhere, but to fulfill everyone’s opinion one should put it below 10. Also Orchot Chaim pg 117d:3 and Kol Bo hold explicitly like Rambam and Rif that only after the fact can light under 10. [Moreover Seder Hayom and Gefen Poriah (Bava Kama 62b) that one doesn’t fulfill his obligation if less than 10.] The Bet Yosef brings the dispute of the Mordechai (Shabbat 266) who writes that since everyone lights indoors, one can light even above 10 and the Tur (671:6) who writes to place it within 10 not differentiating between indoors and outside. Tur 671:6 in name of Maharam MeRotenberg holds that one should place it above 3 tefachim. So holds Mordechai Shabbat 266, S”A 671:6. Birkat Yosef Yedid 3 pg 207, Sh”t Kinyan Torah 1:131(2) imply from Orchot Chaim that under three tefachim doesn’t fulfill the mitzvah. However most argue than if it’s lit less than 3, one still fulfills the obligation including. Yet, Pri Chadash 671, Pri Megadim A”A 671:6, Mishna Brurah 671:26, Kaf HaChaim 671:50, Torat HaMoadim 3:5, and Shaar Shlomo (51, pg 33d) who says someone on the road can even light on the ground.
  16. Shabbat 22a Rav says it can’t be above 20 amot. Tosfot (D”H Ner) says it can’t just be lowered since the mitzvah was already done incorrectly. Tur(671:6), Bach, Taz, Pri Chadash, Mishna Brurah (Shaar Tzion 671:33) says indoors it can be above 20 amot against the Rabbenu Yoel (Ravyah 843) and Rabbi Yitzchak Avuhav (quoted by the Bet Yosef). If one put it above 20 amot, Pri Chadash, Mishna Brurah 671:29 say to relight with a Bracha. Kaf Hachaim (671:53) limits the ruling of the Pri Chadash to only where one finished lighting and stopped thinking about it. However Chazon Ovadiah (Chanuka pg 35) and Torat HaMoadim 3:6 say to relight without a bracha because of the opinion of Rabbenu Yoel (Pri Megadim A”A 671:7), [and Hareri Kodesh who says that perhaps according to Meiri and Shiltot one should repeat Sh’assa Nissim].
  17. Ritva (Shabbat 21b D”H VeIm Dar) says someone living in an upper floor should light by the window that’s above 20 amot. Pri Chadash 671:6, Pri Megadim A”A 671:8, Machsit HaShekel 671:6 say to light it by the door of the apartment. Chazon Ovadiah (Chanuka pg 36) says that one living in an apartment on the fifth floor (just an example) should light inside his house by the door and if he wants he can light by the window that’s above 20 amot as it’s Pirsume Nisa for the household members and to those on the street according Rabbenu Yoel and for others in a building across the street at the same height (similar to Kol Bo Chanuka pg 99). The custom of lighting by the apartment entrance is sourced in halacha 17.
  18. Mishna Brurah (Shaar Tzion 671:33), Chazon Ovadyah (Chanuka pg 36b) say to measure from the flame of the candle like the Pri Megadim (M”Z 671:5) [However Leket Yosher (Chanuka pg 150) writes in name of a student of the Trumat HaDeshen that just the bottom has to be within 10 tefachim.]
  19. Mishna Brurah 671:27, Piskei Teshuvot 671:8
  20. Piskei Teshuvot 671:7