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Are there any halachic limitations on materials that can be used (l'chatchila) to make a Menorah?

For example, can one fulfil the mitzva on a Menorah of ice? How about one of cans, potatoes, or bottles?

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the only limitation is earthenware which gets burnt and looks ugly –  simchastorah Dec 13 '11 at 4:50
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AFAIK, you can use anything, or even just bare candles. Ice might melt too fast, posing both safety and kashrut problems. –  Shmuel Dec 13 '11 at 7:16
    
@simchashatorah source? –  HodofHod Dec 13 '11 at 8:15
    
Chabad on 5th Ave in Manhattan often has an ice menorah outside their building. But no one is yotzei with that one, but it does look pretty. –  geoffc Dec 13 '11 at 14:10
    
I saw @simchashatorah's point in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. I would be surprised if it's not in earlier sources, too. –  Isaac Moses Dec 13 '11 at 15:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=50452&st=&pgnum=57

See note 132. Per Rabbeinu Yitzchok the son of the Raavad and the Chesed L'Avraham there are 15 types of Chanuka Menorahs and the order of preference is as follows.

  1. Gold
  2. Silver
  3. Copper metal in the color of gold or other metal with such a color
  4. Actual copper which is reddish
  5. Metal which is called copper
  6. Tin
  7. Lead
  8. Stone
  9. Glass
  10. Bone
  11. Earthenware covered in lead
  12. Earthenware (may be used for 1 year only)
  13. Pomegranate shells
  14. Coconut shells
  15. Oak tree shells

However if you look in note 131 - even if all you have is oil and a wick you are Yotzei the Mitzva.

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It sounds like he is just listing things that look nice for hiddur purposes. –  Double AA Dec 13 '11 at 17:48
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As you can see from the last line in my answer anything is good, however the level of Hiddur is based on the list. –  Gershon Gold Dec 13 '11 at 18:01

From here it sounds like a menorah made of eggshells or hollowed-out vegetables is not permitted. The full quote:

One may not use eggshells or hollowed-out vegetables to make the menorah, since this disgraces the mitzvah.

Otherwise:

In order to enhance the mitzvah, one should try to obtain as beautiful a menorah as possible according to his ability. The order of preference for different materials is: silver, copper, other metals, glass, wood and china.

[...]

A menorah enhances the mitzvah but is not essential. A person wishing to light with oil could use several glasses or cups placed in a straight line. If candles are being used, they may be fixed in a row onto a tray or similar surface.

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Whats their source? –  HodofHod Dec 20 '11 at 5:14
    
@HodofHod I actually saw this offline in a sefer. Will have to look it up when I get a chance, and post that source. But I definitely have seen it. –  yydl Dec 21 '11 at 19:12
    
Ok, thanks. Whenever you get a chances, I'd appreciate that. –  HodofHod Dec 21 '11 at 19:48

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