On which side of the menorah does the shamesh go if it is not in the center and in which order to light. Thank you.

  • Most I have seen like you describe have had the shamesh on the right. For what it's worth, though, I don't think it really matters.
    – ezra
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


The shamash only needs to be noticeably separated from the other candles. It doesn't need to be in the center or on the side, even. I have a menorah which has a back panel and the shamash hangs from the top above and behind the other candles.

When facing the menorah, you place the candles from right to left. Meaning, the 1st night the candle is on the right; 2nd night has 2 candles - one on the right and 2nd to its left. Continue in this fashion each night.

Lighting goes from left to right. I.e. the newest candle is always lit first.


O.C. 673:1 Originally, an extra candle was used and placed a distance away from the rest of the menorah. Currently, people just place this candle to the side. Ideally, the shamash should be longer than the other candles. The point is, that this candle should be recognizable from the rest of them, either by length or by separating them from the rest.

O.C. 676:5 details how to arrange and light the candles.

  • Not everyone agrees with that order if you are lighting by a door (instead of at a window). By a door some say you should light the candle closet to the door first always since that's the primary spot to be lighting.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 19:46
  • 1
    Actually now that I think about it, wouldn't it be better to put the shamash on the left for אין מעבירין על המצות?
    – Heshy
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 20:02
  • @Heshy An interesting question. However, if I understand O.C. correctly, there may not even be a requirement to use a shamash at all. It seems that it was suggested to prevent using the light from the other candles. However, if you won't be in the room, anyway, you may not need the shamash. I have to re-read that paragraph.
    – DanF
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 21:40
  • Right, but if you're going to have one it would make sense to put it on the left. That's not specific to a shamash. My question is equally relevant for a lighter, box of matches, or two sticks if you're a boy scout.
    – Heshy
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 22:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .