I have learned that, to publicize the miracle, the Chanukah candles must be within 20 amot of the ground. Yet when I was in Jerusalem during Chanukah some years ago, I saw chanukiyot in windows of upper floors in buildings, leading me to wonder how people with upper-story apartments (or hotel rooms, for travelers) are supposed to fulfill the mitzvah. This question about eating out during Chanukah suggests that publicizing the miracle to the members of one's family "counts"; is that correct?

If lighting on an upper floor of a building fulfills the mitzvah, does this also apply to temporary residences, like a hotel room, or only to one's permanent home? Must a traveler during Chanukah ensure that he gets a first-floor hotel room? (Perhaps we are more willing to tell a traveler to do this than to tell a resident to move house.)

(This question arises out of the same consideration as this one.)


1 Answer 1


My understanding is this:

  • The ideal is to publicize the miracle to people outside. (However, Lubavitch custom varies.) This is accomplished by placing the m'nora just outside an outside door, or just inside a door or window so it is visible from the outside. However, as noted in the question, visibility is restricted to twenty amos up, so this doesn't work if the window is higher than that. (People's looking at it from windows across a courtyard may help, though: I don't know. As always, consult your rabbi.) In that case, you'd need to use a less-than-ideal way of publicizing.
  • A less-than-ideal way of publicizing is to the few passersby who happen to be in your hallway. (I base my placement of this bullet point — below the ideal but above the following bullet point — on Mishna B'rura 671:23, who implies that visibility to a courtyard is better than visibility indoors but worse than visibility to the outside, and on the prevalent custom that a window is as good as a door. Again, please consult your rabbi for practical guidance, as I admit that this is a chidush.)
  • Or, least ideally, publicize it only to people in your own room. If you're the only one there, light without saying the b'racha. (Mishna B'rura 672:11.)

And I can't address "Must a traveler during Chanukah ensure that he gets a first-floor hotel room?" (though I certainly don't see the harm in his attempting to do so). Note, though, that the second floor's windowsill will usually be within twenty amos of the ground, and the third's will often be.

  • Re: your second bullet. I'm not convinced that in the case where you have an attic with an entrance directly to the courtyard that Mishnah Berurah is saying you should light at the entrance to your attic from the courtyard, such that it is only visible to those in the courtyard. I think he is saying that you would light at the entrance of the courtyard so that it is seen in reshut harabim (and seemingly that that would be better than lighting at a window, even if it is lower than twenty amot and visible from the reshut harabim).
    – Joel K
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 11:16

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