Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 671:8 rules that if one has a courtyard with two entrances on different sides, one lights Chanukah lights at both entrances, to prevent passersby from suspecting that the owner has not performed the mitzvah.

However, Rema writes that:

בזמן הזה שכולם מדליקין בפנים ממש ואין היכר לבני רשות הרבים כלל אפי' יש לחצר או לבית הרבה פתחים לארבע רוחות אין מדליקין אלא פעם אחת בפנים כנ"ל וכן המנהג פשוט:‏

Nowadays, when everyone lights properly indoors, and those in the street cannot notice at all, even if the courtyard or house has many entrances to all four directions, one lights only once inside (as mentioned above). Such is the widespread custom.

Is this ruling of Rema applicable nowadays in Israel, where, it seems to me, many do have the custom to light outside by their doorways?

At first glance, it would appear that Rema's ruling would not be applicable. However, there a couple of points which could mean that it still applies:

  1. Many people in Israel, while still ensuring that their lights are visible from the street, will light at a window, rather than outside a door. Maybe that fact is enough to remove the suspicious appearance of a door without lights?

  2. Even if the vast majority of people now light by the door in Israel, the fact is that for hundreds of years people lit inside. Maybe this means that anyone seeing a door without lights would not necessarily suspect the inhabitants of not performing the mitzvah at all, but would instead presume that they had lit indoors?

  • 2
    Is lighting at a window considered "מדליקין בפנים ממש ואין היכר לבני רשות הרבים כלל"? I wouldn't think so. Maybe your question applies even where people light at windows: they should need to light at windows on all publicly visible sides of the house.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 9:16
  • Note that some have the custom nowadays l'chat'chila to light indoors and not necessarily at a window. That bolsters your #2.
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 9:16
  • 1
    Re your first comment. I agree that Rema is presumably discussing lighting completely indoors, and not at a window. However, I would assume that no-one requires lighting in all the windows of a house. People are presumably aware that houses have windows on multiple sides, and would therefore not be suspicious when seeing a window without lights. On the other hand, most houses tend to have only one entrance, and therefore a door with no lights does look suspicious.
    – Joel K
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 9:29
  • I don't know if this helps you, but according to the 'Guidelines' book by Rabbis Elozor Barclay and Yitzchok Jaeger shlita which is checked and verified by the Rav of Kehillas Kamenetz / Neve Yaakov, Yerushalayim and is a leading posek, it writes that the act of lighting outside the door is still a prevalent custom in Israel. The only reason why those in chutz la'aretz don't is because: 1) non-Jews may become antagonistic 2) Menorahs maybe extinguished or stolen by non-Jews 3) The winter weather conditions don't make it practical to light outside.
    – Dov
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 13:09
  • @Dov I agree that "the act of lighting outside the door is still a prevalent custom in Israel". My question is whether this means that the Rema's ruling to disregard the requirement to light at both entrances is not applicable in Israel
    – Joel K
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 13:40

2 Answers 2


R. Eliezer Melamed in Peninei Halakha Zemanim ch. 13 fn. 2 (writing for an Israeli audience) rules as follows (emphasis mine):

The Sages state that if one’s home has two entrances on different sides, he should light at both entrances, so that household members are not suspected of neglecting the mitzva (Shabbat 23a; sa 671:8). However, as we saw in the previous note, nowadays many people light inside. Therefore, it is not necessary to light at both entrances, because there is no concern that neglecting to do so will arouse suspicion. A number of Rishonim write this, as do many Aĥaronim including Rema 671:8.

Thus he appears to believe that Rema's ruling is indeed applicable in contemporary Israel.

This is also reported to be the ruling of R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (brought in Halichot Shlomo Mo'adei Hashanah Tishrei-Adar, ch. 13, para. 11 and fn. יט, which can be seen here). This is notwithstanding his personal practice to indeed light at both entrances, as discussed there (ibid. fn. 52) and in Danny Schoemann's answer.

R. Yitzhak Yosef in Yalkut Yosef Mo'adim Chanukah 671:27 also concurs with this ruling.


It was well known that the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach זצ"ל who used to live on Rehov Porush 11 in Jerusalem used to light his Chanuka Menorah at his front door and a single candle at the window of his house facing Rehov Usishkin, as I already wrote here.

That said, I recently asked a local Posek why nobody lights on all sides, and he answered that people walk around and can see for themselves that you lit somewhere.

  • Was RSZA's practice because of the Mechaber's ruling regarding lighting at both entrances due to חשד? Or because of a ספק as to where the correct place to light was? The questions of where to light (doorway to building, doorway to apartment, window facing the street) and what the definition of a חצר is, especially in modern apartment buildings, is very much debated
    – Joel K
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 9:34
  • 2
    Re your second paragraph. How does that fit with the classical ruling to light at both entrances?
    – Joel K
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 9:35
  • I regret that I don't remember the details, but there is a special Jerusalem minhag that they light downstairs at the entrance (as R' Auerbach). This makes me wonder whether the conditions of the Rema still apply in Israel. (cc @JoelK) Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 10:24
  • @JoelK - RSZA was not the "not sure what to do" type of Posek - he would never tell us "well, just in case you should also do....". So I doubt that was his reasoning. Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 12:48
  • @JoelK - my second paragraph is precisely that - some Rabbis seem to think that some aspects of "reality" have changed. (I'm not even sure which Rov this was, or I'd ask him for more details.) Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 12:50

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