Shabbat 22a says that the halacha is that we should place the chanukiyah outside, within a hand-breadth of the door, to the left. In Israel I've seen people do this, placing the chanukiyah in a glass box (to protect from wind) just outside the door. I have never seen this done in the US. Why is that? I understand if you live somewhere where you can't (like you don't have a front porch), but for those of us who live in houses with porches, where we could do this if we wanted to, why don't we (usually)?

  • It does happen occasionally in the Diaspora. My father lights outside the front door in the USA, for instance.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 3:20
  • Duplicate?: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/44
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 5:02
  • 1
    @msh210 I don't thing so as this tries to justify a common practice, whereas that is looking for the ideal practice. Compare to "Q Is Chodosh forbidden in the Diaspora A Yes" and "Q Why does nobody keep Chodosh A (insert long story here)".
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 5:06
  • @DoubleAA, right, okay, fair enough.
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 5:07
  • @msh210 How 'bout this one? judaism.stackexchange.com/q/3956/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 19:25

2 Answers 2


Many explain that because there was a time when it was dangerous to light outside the requirement was rescinded and was not re instituted since.

The Aruch Hashulchan (671:24) explains that in the countries Jews lived in then the climate did not permit for lighting outside unless they would close the Menorah in a glass box which is an extra burden the Sages did not place on him and would additionally not properly allow for publicizing the mitzvah.

The Tzafnas Paneach (Chanuka Chapter 3 Halacha 3) explains that there were two miracle that occurred on Chanuka - the miracle of the candles and the salvation from the Greeks. Nowadays that we no longer observe the festivals of Megillas Taanis there is no longer an element of publicizing the Chanuka candles.

The Nimukey Orach Chaim concludes that he found no satisfactory explanation for not light outdoors (although that was his practise).

(Based on "Yemei Chanuka" pg. 54 footnote 3)

  • +1 although החוש מכחיש our experience questions the AH's logic because we see the weather in Israel requires some sort of case too (as opposed to sleeping in the Sukkah where we see the weather turns out just fine in Israel).
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 5:12
  • Does the book Yemei Chanukah not mention the Mordechai quoted by the Mishnah Brurah (which I brought in my answer), or did you just omit it to not repeat my answer?
    – b a
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 5:16
  • @ba The Mordechai is the first answer, he brings several Rishnonim who say such; I didn't quote them all for lack of time and because you had already brought one in your answer
    – Michoel
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 8:00
  • @DoubleAA, I wonder if the AH would have considered the expense of a glass box to be a burden, while nowadays, with mass-production and easy distribution, it's not such a burden? Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 12:59
  • @MonicaCellio I think he would say that strictly speaking any burden is enough to not be able to force the matter, but from a spirit-of-the-law perspective it would depend on the person's financial abilities. At the same time I find it doubtful he would ever reprimand anyone for lighting outside, particularly in a location where such is commonly practiced. This is a justification for those who don't light outside, not a reason to start not lighting outside.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 21:51

The Mishnah Brurah (671:27) writes that nowadays the world relies on the Mordechai who says that now that the practice is to put it inside there's no problem. However, careful people shouldn't rely on the Mordechai and should put it outside.

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