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  KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted on: Sunday, January 01, 2006 - א' בטבת, תשס"ו
 
 
The Proper Position 
When Lighting Chanukah Candles in the Synagogue
Rabbi Alan Ira Silver
About the Author


The widespread practice is to light Chanukah candles each night in the synagogue (in addition to the lighting in one's home).  The Chanukah candles lit in the synagogue are to be placed along the synagogue's southern wall, running from east to west.  There is some controversy, however, as to where the individual stands when he lights the Chanukah candles in the synagogue.  The Chatam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer, Austria-Hungary, 1763-1840), in one of his responses, ruled that the person lighting the Menorah in the synagogue should stand with his back to the southern wall facing north, in other words, in between the southern wall and the Menorah.  On the first night he lights a candle on the easternmost side, that is, on the far right side, and then adds one candle each subsequent night to the left.  When lighting, of course, one first lights the leftmost candle and then proceeds to the right.

This is the position taken by numerous other authorities, as well, including the Mahari Berona, the Mishna Berura (Siman 671), and the "Ikarei Ha'dat."

By contrast, the Kaf Ha'chayim records that the practice among the Sephardim is to stand in front of the Menorah, with one's back to the northern wall facing the southern wall, and to light the first candle at the right-hand side - or towards the western wall.  The Kaf Ha'chayim does not cite any earlier sources as the basis for the practice, but he appears to have had a tradition to this effect.

In Ashkenazic communities, the one lighting the Menorah in the synagogue stands with his back to the southern wall, whereas among the Sephardim one should face the southern wall as he lights.  According to all views, the candle lit on the first night should be placed on the right-hand side of the Menorah, and a candle is added to the left on each subsequent night.  And when lighting the candles, one first lights the leftmost candle and then proceeds to the right.
CHANUKAH
SAMAYACH!!!!
 
 

Read more articles by Rabbi Alan Ira Silver

 

 
     
 
 
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