I have always been taught that lights in a chanukiah should be inserted from right to left. So on the first four nights, only lights to the right of the shamash are lit (assuming a shamash in the center). But the mitzvah of lights is persumei nissa - publicizing the miracle - so we are to light a chanukiah in the window.

Regarding the chanukiah(s) in the window, is this right-to-left order with respect to the lighters in the house or the viewers on the street?


1 Answer 1


The lighters. This is clear from (for example) Mishna B'rura 676:11 ("he turns and continues toward the right", "he should position himself on the left side at the time of lighting"). It's also what I've always seen done.

That said, this answer addresses your question precisely, which asks about lighting in a window, not in a doorway, and which assumes the halacha is that we light the rightmost lights, which is itself a matter of dispute.

  • Just our of curiosity, is there a different Sephardic minhag? Dec 10, 2012 at 15:06
  • Beats me. Check Kaf Hachayim.
    – msh210
    Dec 10, 2012 at 16:27
  • So the view from the street would be different depending on whether you stood insight to light, or stood on your porch and lit through the open window? (Which you will then probably close because of wind and, probably, cold.) Dec 10, 2012 at 21:16
  • @MonicaCellio ...I suppose. Why would anyone stand on his porch and light through the window??
    – msh210
    Dec 11, 2012 at 0:16
  • @msh210 just speculating, but I could see the following reasoning: the g'mara tells us to put the chanukiyah outside, meaning from the street the lights start on the right. We're also told to light from right to left, so if doing it from inside it'll be backwards wrt the street. But wait! I can stand on my porch, light in the way that best publicizes the miracle, and then close the window so the lights don't blow out -- surely that would be the best approach to satisfy all the requirements! (I'm not saying it's right, just that I can see the reasoning.) Dec 12, 2012 at 1:22

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