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In the Al Hanisim that we add on Chanukah we say:

V'hidliku neirot b'chatzrot kodshecha Translated as kindled lights in Your holy courts

It sounds as if the Menorah from the temple was lit outdoors is that the case and Why?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Chasam Sofer says that it means that they actually lit the Menorah outdoors in the courtyard, because the Heichal was still full of idols.

In an alternative explanation, he says that the actual Menorah was lit in its usual place inside the Heichal, but that they also lit a makeshift menorah (made of iron poles) outdoors (using regular oil), to publicize the miracle.

In a somewhat similar vein, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l says that this phrase refers to other lights which they lit outdoors, throughout the courtyards (hence the plural) of the Beis Hamikdash, as a display of gratitude and honor to Hashem. (He analogizes these to the large candelabra that they lit during Simchas Beis Hashoeivah.)

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