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Do the flames atop the chanukiya need to be a certain size to be valid? At the extreme, are tiny (but sustained) balls of blue flame sufficient?

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I would be so surprised if the answerer actually gives a source. This is a good question, but I don't see it being mentioned in any Sefarim. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. – Hacham Gabriel Dec 22 '11 at 4:11
I bet it's just about how much/what type of pirsumei nissa you are going for. At a window, a little ball is pointless, but on your table it could be fine. – Double AA Dec 22 '11 at 4:24
@double aa I would go as far to say that based on what you said this is probably a Miswa Min HaMuvhar but not MeIkar HaDin. – Hacham Gabriel Dec 22 '11 at 4:33
AFAIK, as long as you can see the flames it's ok... – Shmuel Dec 22 '11 at 6:02
@ShmuelL and as long as you are not putting your house at danger of fire breaking out because of the too big fire. – user1117 Dec 26 '11 at 9:06
up vote 7 down vote accepted

A fire is a fire is a fire - See OH 673(1)

ואע"פ שאין השמנים נמשכים אחר הפתילה ואין האור נתלה יפה באותם הפתילות

Even though the wicks don't absorb the oil well and the light [fire] doesn't attach well to those wicks (--translation mine)

(i.e. even if your lights are poor, your still yotzeh the mitzvah).

That being said, the מצוה מן המבחר is to use materials that will give off a light that is "pure and clean" (Rama, ibid.). The Mishna Berura also something along the lines of what @doubleaa said: The goal here is Persumei Nisa. Hence, if people can't see them, you may have an issue at hand.

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Mbrevda, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this source and insight! I look forward to seeing you around. – Isaac Moses Dec 29 '11 at 12:57
Thanks! </bows humbly> – Mbrevda Dec 29 '11 at 13:12

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