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The Systems of the Jewish Year

The Right Way to Light the Menorah

By Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber

When it comes to lighting the Menorah, there are several common scenarios that can cause confusion. I’d like to discuss some of these situations.

Where to Light When Attending a Chanukah Party

Often, one attends a Chanukah party at which the host lights the Menorah. The correct thing for the individual guests at the party to do would be to light the Menorah at home, preferably at the correct time (50 minutes after sunset in the US) and then go to the party. If they have to leave earlier, then they should light at home with a bracha when they get back, as long as it isn’t too late – there are still people outside.  If it will be too late then they should light the Menorah right before they leave the house, and make sure they will last until 80 minutes after sunset.

Someone Who Lives In an Apartment Building

A little background is necessary. Ideally the Menorah should be placed outside on the street for maximum Pirsuma Nisa (publication of the miracle). This is still done in Israel, but outside of Israel the minhag is to place the Menorah indoors. The Rema explains that the proper place indoors is by the door opposite the Mezuzah so that one is surrounded by Mitzvos. However, the Magen Avrohom and others say that if one has a window that faces a public thoroughfare one should place the Menorah in the window.

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