In Eretz Yisroel, many people light outdoors. Why in Chutz Laretz don't we not do the same, which is ideal? (besides of course if your Menorah will get stolen But I dont believe thats the reason) And why is it certain Chassidm light completely indoors by their door?

Update:It seems the Or Zaruah(Hilchos CHanukah Ois Shin Chuf Gimmel) asks the question and doesn't answer.

  • It's really two separate questions. Why don't we light outdoors in Chutz Laaretz, and why do Chassidim light by the door.
    – chortkov2
    Dec 26, 2019 at 8:30
  • Lighting outside and lighting by a door are not mutually exclusive.
    – Double AA
    Dec 26, 2019 at 12:55
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    I have no source for this, but it seems obvious that this is because back then windows weren't made of transparent glass, so you had to choose between Pirsumei Nissa for people outside or inside. Nowadays in a window you can accomplish both so arguably it's actually preferred. (When the gemara talks about lamps in a window it means on the outer sill, not clearly visible from inside. You had a big wooden or leather shade/plug protecting you from the cold (cf. OC 313).)
    – Double AA
    Dec 26, 2019 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


About not lighting outdoors - Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 671:24) says:

והנה עתה אין אנו מדליקין בחוץ. ואף שאין סכנה אצלינו, מכל מקום כמעט הוא מהנמנעות, מפני שבכל המדינות שלנו ימי חנוכה הם ימי סגריר, גשם ושלג ורוחות חזקים. ואי אפשר להניחם בחוץ, אם לא להסגירם בזכוכית. וכולי האי לא אטרחוהו רבנן. ועוד: דבזה לא יהיה היכר למצוה כל כך. וגם לא בכל המקומות יניחו לעשות כך.

Nowadays we don't light outdoors. Even though there is no danger in our areas, nonetheless it is almost impossible to do so, since in all our countries Chanukah is during the wintry season, when it's rainy, snowy, and there are strong winds. It would be impracticable to put them outdoors unless they were enclosed in glass; our Rabbis did not want to burden one to that extent. Also, the mitzvah would be less noticeable that way. Furthermore, they [the local authorities?] may not allow one to do so in all places.

About lighting by the door - there is the advantage (mentioned in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 671:7) of being "surrounded by mitzvos," with the mezuzah on one side and the menorah on the other.

In one of his letters, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l points out that lighting at the window has a couple of disadvantages: (a) frequently the window is over 20 cubits from ground level, in which case it's anyway not noticeable by people outdoors, and for the people in the house it would be more visible at the doorway; (b) many Chanukah menoros have a back panel behind the lights, and in that case, there's no way to place it on the windowsill such that both the passersby and the dwellers in the house will be able to see them.

  • Its funny because in Eretz Yisroel they do put it in a glass, and I have seen it sold in America.Also why is it less noticeable I notice all of the Fish tanks looking Menorahs in Israel. Rav Eliyashiv uses it and Rav Kanievsky use it outdoors and we don't have the Issue with authorities and as Usal the Aruch Hashulchan to My understanding defends the way things are but it dosent mean its optimum and this would at least to me seem optimum lighting out doors. The Rebbe illustrates an answer I have heard that Today the Main Pirsumay Nissah is for the people of the House and for the otside I Nov 14, 2010 at 13:16
  • would like to Know where the is from that Pirsumay Nissah is for the people of the house and Why it changed? Nov 14, 2010 at 13:17
  • An update on What I think are Weak answers The Imrie Noam says we are afraid of Leitzim as it uses this Loshon in Megillas Tannis(why we are afraid of them I would love to Know,and who cares and since when do we listen to Meggilas Tannis ,Another attempt at an answer once we change a Minhag it becomes established that way and we stay with the Changed Minhag .WHY this would be is beyond me if there is the best way and the Mediocre way of do somthing one we did the Mediocre way we stay that way. Dec 5, 2010 at 18:59
  • Another answer I heard Bderech Drush I think The Bnei Yissocher said in His times already that originally The Greek Influence was On the Outside so you had to light there to bring the Light of Chanukah there today its in Our homes already so we have toi light indoors its nice and Right but does it change the Halacha I dont know any solid Halachic or other wise answers would still be appreciated. Dec 5, 2010 at 19:02
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    Ok.lets take it to the next level how do you say window in Hebrew? חלון now how many lights do we light? ל"ו Now What are we Lighting? נרות חנוכה which is נח the Leftover letters. Dec 5, 2010 at 21:17

Originally, the mitzva of lighting the Menorah was specifically outdoors. The Gemara (Shabbos 21b) writes that during times of danger, one may light indoors.

Numerous answers are given to why today, when we have a right to practice 'Freedom of Religion', many still light indoors.

  1. Or Zarua (Chanuka 323), Ittur (2, Aseres Hadibros Hil Chanuka), Shibolei Haleket (185) - Chazal made a takanah during times of danger to allow lighting indoors; this takanah was not limited to times of danger. Even though now it may be safe, the takanah stayed.
  2. Rabbeinu Yerucham (תורת אדם וחוה, נתיב התשיעי) - Although their is no religious persecution, we light indoors because we are worried for thieves and bandits.
  3. Orchos Chaim (Chanuka 15) - We are worried that the gentiles will extinguish the candles. [R' Elyashiv (quoted in Shevus Yitzchok pg. 42) understood that this is still considered 'danger', because it can escalate into violence when Jews try to prevent the Gentiles from extinguishing their candles].
  4. Aruch HaShulchan (671:24) - We are worried that the wind and rain will extinguish the candles. (See Ritva Shabbos 21 that this is considered a valid reason to light indoors)
  5. Rogotchover (Tzafnas Paneach on Rambam Megilla 3:3) explains that there were two takanos - 1. To light a Menorah, 2. To publicize the miracle. After the nullification of megillas taanis (see Rosh Hashono 18), the second takanah became obsolete, leaving only the main mitzva of lighting the Menorah. This can be done indoors.
  6. R' Shlomo Miller (Shoshanas Yisroel) explains that due to Health & Safety regulations and Fire Restrictions, we would not be permitted by any local authorities to light outside - if everyone lit outside, there would be undoubtedly be a fire.

  7. Megillas Taanis (Ch. 9) - We are worried from 'leitzim'. There seems to be a dispute among the Poskim what leitzim refers to. Some understand it to mean people who will extinguish the flames (Oz Nidbaru V10:24, Moadim VZmanim 2:140); others (Mekadesh Yisroel 45, Minhag Yisroel Torah) write that the word 'leitzim' was added because of the censors, and it refers to gentiles.

  • Some of my sources come from סוכת דוד, הלכות עניני חנוכה.
    – chortkov2
    Dec 26, 2019 at 10:26
  • I don't know where you found a place with "freedom of religion" where any of this applies. What location are you talking about? Certainly not USA where this is all clearly irrelevant. Bandits? Fire danger? Harrasing gentiles? Is Megillat Taanit more nullified now than in the days of the Talmud? The Takana of what to do in a time of danger obviously still applies, but is inapplicable in the USA.
    – Double AA
    Dec 26, 2019 at 12:51
  • @doubleaa, I agree with your comment, but about your edit, I never saw anyone in chutz l'aretz light outside. Have you?
    – Mordechai
    Dec 26, 2019 at 17:59
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    @Mordechai my dad has for decades. Surely there are others, though I don't deny it's relatively rare.
    – Double AA
    Dec 26, 2019 at 18:00

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