Is a round chanukiah kosher?

Letter from a reader:

My  5 year old daughter made a round chanukiah today, and my husband came home and told me straight away it wasn’t kosher b/c you have to be able to distinguish right from left. I have NEVER heard anything of this sort before–I knew the candles all have to be the same height except for the shamash which needs to be differentiated somehow, but this? (And btw you can still light left-to-right…mostly.)

Anyhoo, b/c it is a little kid I’m not terribly worried about it halakhically, but I am VERY curious as to what others have heard about this…and perhaps other traditions or (possibly?) chumrot.

So, readers, weigh in….

9 responses to “Is a round chanukiah kosher?

  1. As far as i know they have to be in a straight line because someone looking at it has to be able to count the candles easily . Personally I think it’s more important that she made one 🙂

  2. He is right it’s not kosher. The problem is that other than the left right issue you have to be able to see the light of each candle separetly. In a round Chanukia the lights blend together.

  3. depends how round. if it is a very tight circle, then it is problematic. a bigger, more open circle with a clearly deliniated ‘side’ (left or right), is fine. for example, a horseshoe shape would be ok (if it met the other requirements).

  4. sorry to say, but your husband is right.
    they have to be aligned. some chanukiot we see are also in a semi-circle are not acceptable either. I was thaught it had to be a row, and now reading the kitzur shulchan aruch, (Metsudah) it is translated as “The lights should be placed in an even row”

    hope it helps!

  5. It’s absolutely not a chumra, it is brought down in Halacha in various places. Don’t have access to most sources on my phone…

    Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 139:9
    Starting words “הנרות יהיו בשורה אחת”

    הנרות יהיו בשורה אחת

  6. Halacha. I was surprised last year but my husband pointed it out. (I would guess things like lighting with oil or lighting by a mezuzah or window are minhagim or chumros but this is definitely halacha).

  7. The standars halachic works disallow it. However, I have always wondered as to the source for the various rules your earlier readers cite from these sources. I am pretty sure there is no talmudic source, as the talmudic rule is that one candle is the minimal requirement, with our practice of lighting an increasing number of candles described as a hiddur mitzva, a beuatification of the practice beyond the minimal requirement. perhaps one of your readers knows?

  8. Candles have to be in the same level (except for the Shamash) and in a straight line.

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