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For Chanukha Shulchan Aruch (תרעא:ו) writes:

...מניחו למעלה משלשה טפחים

To which the Mishneh Berura writes:

דכל למטה משלשה כאלו הניח בקרקע ואין ניכר שבעל הבית הניחו שם

"For anything below three tefachim its as if one placed it on the ground and it is not noticeable that the house-owner placed it there"

Is the three tefachim counted from the flame itself or from the base of the chanukiyah? If it is from the base then the flame could much higher than is acceptable (and no 'eye would notice it'). If it is from the flame then one could put your chanukiyah on the floor directly, as long as the flame is higher than 3 tefachim.

And finally, if the flame is the defining height would it need to be above 3 tefachim for the duration of the 30mins that the candle needs to be lit (i.e. as the flame burns the candle gets shorter) or as long as it starts above 3 tefachim then it's ok?

  • Do you have any reason to think either side may be right or not? – Double AA Nov 29 '15 at 22:43
  • One doesn't place a flame on the floor, it seems like one places the chanukiyah on the floor. If its refering to the flame (which makes more sense to be the definition) I feel like it should have been said differently. The language is confusing to me. – bondonk Nov 29 '15 at 22:45
  • Always clarify things in your post by editing, not in comments which can be deleted. That way, your post is better and obsolete comments get to be removed. – Double AA Nov 29 '15 at 22:48
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The Aruch HaShulcahn in סימן תרעא - דיני הדלקת נרות חנוכה והנחתן writes that it's obvious that one measures [the 3 tefachim] from the flame and not from the Chanukiya :

ופשוט הוא דאם הפמוט גבוה – דחשבינן ממקום הנרות, ולא מראש הפמוט.‏

The קיצור ש''ע ילקוט יוסף (ibid) concurs:

ויש להניחם למעלה מג' טפחים, ואם השלהבת של נר השעוה שהודלק למצות החנוכה הוא למעלה משלשה טפחים, אף על פי שגוף הנר הוא למטה מג' טפחים, שפיר דמי, שהעיקר הוא השלהבת.‏

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