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The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Chanukah Menorah, Shape

Allan Grant wrote

Dear Rabbi,

Where can I, a complete novice, find the rabbinic or halachic rulings on the construction of a chanukia (chanuka menorah)? I've enclosed a photo of a chanukia that I had custom-built for my wife and I can't find anyone to give me a straight answer.

I have been told that they've got to be in a straight line, that there is no variation from this style. But I've also been told that there can be different shapes and alignments as long as each candle is separate and can be viewed as such. Obviously, I'm confused.

I've been told that there are rules and regulations in the Talmud, Shabbat 23b, but I don't have a Talmud near me, and the closest shuls are more than 20 miles from here, so that's out.

What are the requirements? Where can a layman find them? How do the above opinions get resolved? Where do I go? HELP!! Please help with a good explanation, not just a one word sentence that doesn't tell me why.


Dear Allan Grant,

Traditionally and ideally, the chanukia is a straight line. The one pictured which you made is also OK, because each candle is distinct from the others.

The idea is, that the onlooker can see which night of Chanuka it is by looking at the candles, which is easiest if in a straight line. For the same reason, the shamash must be distinct, preferably a little higher than the other candles.

Sources:

  • Rema, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 671:4
  • Mishna Berura ibid. 17


 
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