(Adapted and translated from Hilchos Chanukah by Rav Yoel Schwartz Shlit"a)


A"Chanukah light" by definition, is a burning wick connected to fuel. Gas lights, wooden torches or electrical lights are therefore not valid for Chanukah lights. (If one has no other method of lighting, he should use one of the above to light, but should not recite brachos.)

Chanukah lights must be lit with a single wick. Braided candles or wicks which burn in a few places, are invalid.

The Menorah
The Menorah must be of a respectable material. Egg shells or onion peels may not be used.

One should buy a menorah as well as he can afford. If affordable, a silver menorah should be used.

The eight lights on the menorah should be set up in a straight order, and all on the same level. They should not be in a circle nor should one light be higher than another.

The shamash should not be on the same level as the other lights. It should be placed either higher or lower than the other lights. It is however customary to place it higher than the other lights.

Fuel: All oils, waxes and fats are eligible as fuel for the Chanukah lights. (According to some posskim, an unkosher fuel (e.g. fats from a non-kosher animal), may not be used.

The most preferable fuel is olive oil, since the miracle of Chanukah happened with olive oil, and the fact that olive oil burns very nicely. If one doesn’t have olive oil, he should use any oil which burns nicely.
One is to prefer any oil, to any form of candles (wax, paraffin and fats).

Amount of fuel: When lighting indoors, the lights must burn for half an hour. (See the page "Time of Kindling Chanukah lights" for all the details.) If lighting outdoors, according to some posskim it is a hidur mitvzah (beautification of the mitzvah) to have the lights burn, as long as people are still walking the streets. (The Brisker Rav lived in Yerushalayim near the Edison movie theater. He would put in enough oil for the lights to burn, until the conclusion of the last showing.)

Enough fuel to burn for half an hour, must already be in the menorah when the lights are being kindled. One may not light the menorah with a small amount of oil, and add more later on. If there was not enough oil in the menorah when the lights were kindled, the lights must be extinguished, and kindled again after enough oil was put in the menorah. When relighting, no brochas are to be said.

Wicks: Wicks of all materials are eligible for the mitzvah of Chanukah lights. Most preferable however, are wicks made of wool or linen.

There is no need to use new wicks each night. The used wicks may even be preferable, since they burn easier. Some people do have the custom of using new wicks each night, in commemoration of the Beis Hamikdosh menorah, where new wicks were used each night.

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