THE SHULCHAN ARUCH DIRECTORY (under construction)

 

The Halachos of Chanukah back to the "Chanukah" page

Siman 671 - The Basic System of Chanukah Candles (and Their Location)

 

"Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman

English Translation of the entire siman [besides ours (above)]: at ShulchanArach.com, at en.wikisource.org

Mishnah Berurah for the entire siman: at www.mishnaberura.com

 

NOTE: This is a temporary page. We apologize for the lack of proper "design".

 

 

Siman 671, se'if 1

 

(a) Should one be especially serious regarding the Mitzvah of the Chanukah candle? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): Yes.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 23b.]

 

(b) How serious are the lengths one must go to, so that he will be able to afford to light a Chanukah candle?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: Even a poor person supported by tzedakah "asks [of others]" or sells his garment, and [thereby] purchases oil to light.

          [Classic sources: See Pesachim 99b and 112a.]

 

 

Siman 671, se'if 2

 

What is the correct amount of candles to light each night of Chanukah? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: On the first night one lights one, [and] from then on one constantly increases [the amount by] one "candle" each night, to the point that on the last night there will be eight; and even if the members of the household are many, they do not light more.

          The Rema writes: [However,] some hold that each member of the household should light, and that is the established [Ashkenazi] minhag; and they should take care that each [person] light his candles in a distinct place, so that it will be recognizable how many candles are being lit [by each person].

          The Mishnah Berurah writes (put simply): All this is for one who can afford it, but the "basic" Mitzvah is just one "candle" [per night] for the entire household.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 21b.]

 

 

Siman 671, se'if 3

 

If one lights a lamp with two openings on Chanukah, how many candles does it count as? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): Two.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 23b.]

 

 

Siman 671, se'if 4

 

(a) If one filled a dish with oil and placed wicks in it all around and lit that on Chanukah, how many candles does it count as? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): None, because this is like a "significant fire"; however, if he covered the dish then each wick counts.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 23b.]

 

(b) Is a straight line the correct orientation for the arrangement of Chanukah candles (as opposed to a circle)?

          The Rema writes (put simply): Yes, for a circle is like a "significant fire", unless each candle is "very separate", as they are in the case of candelabra branches.

 

(c) May one attach wax Chanukah candles to each other for lighting?

          The Rema writes (put simply): No, because this is like a "significant fire", and the same goes for Shabbos and Yom Tov candles [if it is done in such a way that the candles heat each other and drip and bend over and fall (Bi'ur Halacha)].

 

 

Siman 671, se'if 5

 

(a) What are the basic guidelines for the proper location of a Chanukah candle? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): (1) In "a time of danger" it's enough to put it "on his table"; otherwise, it belongs (2) at the entrance by the public domain on the outside (i.e. if the house opens into the public domain - at that entrance, and if there is a courtyard - at the courtyard's entrance); but if he lives in an "aliyah" [i.e. an upper floor "apartment"] which does not have an entrance that opens into the public domain - (3) then he puts it by a window which is "near" the public domain.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 21b.]

 

(b) When is there an obligation to light an extra "shamash" candle for Chanukah?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): If there is no "significant fire" present (or in the case of an "important person" who doesn't use this).

          The Bi'ur Halacha writes (put simply): Even then it is only obligatory if he lights "on his table", for if he lights by an entrance then it is just the minhag to light a "shamash" [see below 673:1].

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 21b.]

 

 

Siman 671, se'if 6

 

(a) What is the minimum height [off the ground] for a Chanukah candle? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): Above three tefachim [i.e. "handbreadths"].

 

(b) What is the maximum height [off the ground] for a Chanukah candle (initially)?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: It is a Mitzvah to put it below ten tefachim [above the ground].

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 21b.]

 

(c) What is the maximum height [off the ground] at which a Chanukah candle can be valid (i.e. even bedieved)?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): If someone puts it above ten tefachim - he was yotzei [his obligation]; but if someone puts it above twenty amahs [off the ground] - he was not yotzei.

          The Rema writes (put simply): Even if he [then] took it [while it was] still lit and [then] put it [down] below twenty [amahs] - he was not yotzei, since "the lighting is what accomplishes the Mitzvah."

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 21b.]

 

 

Siman 671, se'if 7

 

(a) How near to the "entrance" [mentioned above in question 5(a)] is the correct location for a Chanukah candle? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: The Mitzvah is to place it "within" the nearest tefach.

          The Rema writes: However, nowadays when "we all light indoors" [see above ibid.] - and [consequently] there is nothing recognizable to people in the public domain at all - [accordingly the accepted Ashkenazi ruling is that] one need not be so concerned if we do not light in the tefach nearest to the entrance; but nevertheless, the [correct (Bi'ur Halacha)] practice is to light in the tefach nearest to the entrance just like in the old days, and one should not deviate [from that], unless there are many members in the household - for [then] it is better for each [person] to light in a distinct place - rather than to mix [all] the candles together and have it be unrecognizable how many candles are being lit [by each person (as discussed above in se'if 2)]. In any case, people must be careful not to light in the same spot where candles are lit all year round, because even though nothing is recognizable to anyone but the household [i.e. and they know on their own what these candles are for] - nevertheless "a little bit" [of differing from the norm] to make it [inherently] recognizable is necessary.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 22a.]

 

(b) Which side [of the "entrance" mentioned above in question 5(a)] is the correct location for a Chanukah candle, under normal circumstances?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: The left [hand side], so that the Chanukah "candle" will be to the left and the mezuzah to the right.

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 22a.]

 

(c) Under what circumstances is the right hand side [of the "entrance" mentioned above in question 5(a)] is the correct location for a Chanukah candle?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): When the "entrance" has no mezuzah.

 

(d) Which side [of the "entrance" mentioned above in question 5(a)] is the correct location for a Chanukah candle which is being placed "by the door itself"?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: "From the halfway point of the entrance - to the left side."

          The Mishnah Berurah writes: The Magen Avraham explains that this means one can be lenient and consider the entire space of the entranceway - from the left "end" to halfway across its width - as "on the left". However, the Taz holds that in practice one should be stringent and place the candles all the way at the "leftmost edge" of the doorway.

 

(e) Which side of the synagogue is the correct location (and what is the correct orientation) for its Chanukah candle[s]? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: On the southern wall.

          The Rema writes (put simply): [In this way the "candles" resemble those of the Menorah. Accordingly, they should be] arranged from east to west.

          [Classic sources: See Menachos 98b.]

 

(f) What is the nature of the Mitzvah to light the Chanukah candle in the synagogue?

          The Shulchan Aruch writes (put simply): One does "say the bracha" over this Mitzvah; [the purpose is] to publicize the miracle.

          The Rema writes: [However,] no one is yotzei [his personal obligation] with the candles of the synagogue, and [therefore] one has to light again in his home.

 

(g) When in the evening is the Chanukah candle of the synagogue lit?

          The Rema writes (put simply): The minhag is to do so between Mincha and Ma'ariv; and on the eve of Shabbos some have the minhag to light before Mincha.

 

(h) Is the "chazzan" the one who should light the Chanukah candle of the synagogue (and how is that timed)?

          The Rema writes (put simply): [Assuming that he is in fact the logical choice,] if the people want to hurry and begin the prayer services, [then] the "chazzan" can say the bracha and light one of the Chanukah "candles" - and then the "attendant" can light the remaining ones while the "chazzan" proceeds to lead the prayers.

          [Classic sources: See Yoma 31b and 32b-33a.]

 

 

Siman 671, se'if 8

 

What is the Halacha regarding lighting the Chanukah candle in an extra location to avoid suspicion [of others]? ["Halacha Sources" presentation of this entire siman]

          The Shulchan Aruch writes: [In the case of] a courtyard which has two entrances [which emerge] from two directions, it is necessary to light by both of them because of [the [potential for] "suspicion"; but if the two entrances are on the same side [and they (emerge) from the same house (Rema)] - [then] it is sufficient for him [to light] by one of them.

          The Rema elaborates: If someone lights by two entrances - [then] he says the bracha only at [the light of] one of them; and at [the time of the lighting of] the second one, he lights without a bracha. However, nowadays, when everyone lights totally indoors, and [consequently] there is nothing at all which is recognizable to people in the public domain, [accordingly] even if a courtyard or a house has many entrances in many directions - one [still] lights only once, inside (this is what I hold - and it is [in fact] the accepted [Ashkenazi] minhag).

          [Classic sources: Shabbos 23a.]