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It's been common practice for a very long time (perhaps as early as 60 years after the Chanukah miracle) to use a menorah (aka "chanukiyah") to light the Chanukah candles with.

Do I need a menorah to light Chanukah candles? Or can I just plop my candles or oil cups down on the table, and light them there?

  • This question came partly from starting to ask a different question, and partly because I heard a story about the Rav, who used to commute to YU from Boston, and would occasionally forget his menorah. When that happened, he would melt some candles into the windowsill of his apartment, and light them there. .....apparently, he held that you do not need a kli for Chanukah lights. – Shokhet Dec 21 '14 at 4:18
  • ....anyhow, I've asked and answered my own question, but I'd love to get more answers, particularly those with a better look at the issue than the one I provided. – Shokhet Dec 21 '14 at 4:22
  • There is a difference in using candles and oil – sam Dec 21 '14 at 4:23
  • @sam yeah....I can't just drop my oil on the table without a cup to hold it :P ....but more seriously, thanks for that info! Where might I find more information about that? – Shokhet Dec 21 '14 at 4:24
  • I meant candles don't need a menorah but oil does – sam Dec 21 '14 at 4:27
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The Avnei Nezer 2:500 quotes several opinions that state that one needs to have the candles lit in some sort of kli (vessel) and not just stuck onto a table. (h/t: DoubleAA) R. Shmuel Kamenetsky (Kovetz Hil. Chanukah pg. 29) also writes that one should be careful to use a kli, even if one is using wax candles that can stand by themselves.

However, R. Hershel Schachter (Nefesh Harav pg. 226) quotes that R. J.B. Soloveitchik would make fun of those who were machmir regarding this issue, saying that there's no reason to require a kli.

For further discussion: http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/823353/Rabbi_Aryeh_Lebowitz/Is_a_Menorah_Necessary_for_Ner_Chanukah

  • Can't we quote the ramma and mishna berurah who discuss putting candles on the wall or on the table too? – user6591 Dec 21 '14 at 4:49
  • @Matt In the case of R' Shmuel Kamenetsky, would he then argue against lighting candles and saying the brachot if one does not have a kli? I mean, if one is unfortunate enough not to have a menorah or kli of any time, would it be considered a wasted bracha to try to do the mitzvah with just candles? – rosenjcb Dec 21 '14 at 14:50
1

Apparently, you do need a menorah, according to some opinions brought by the Avnei Nezer (2:500), cited in this answer by Double AA.

( I found this answer while doing research for this question :P )

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