Is it permissible to use an electric menorah? I am an elderly man and I am hesitant to use wax candles.


I understand your concerns about having burning candles in your house. As much as I wish I could tell you otherwise, electric lights just don't do it. The Chanukah lights used to fulfill the mitzvah should be real flames fueled by wax or oil—like the flames in the Holy Temple Menorah.

Here is a suggestion on how to do it safely:

Use tea lights (small wax candles which come in tin cups). They are very sturdy and short so they don't tip over easily. You can get them in any grocery store and they are quite inexpensive.

Chances are that they are too big to fit in your menorah. In that case, I would advise that you just line them up on a plate (or another fireproof surface), and place the shamash tea light slightly apart from the rest.

If you still feel unsafe, you can extinguish the candles after they have burned the required half hour after nightfall (though this is not normally recommended).

Consult with your rabbi if you find yourself under extenuating circumstances that absolutely do not allow for lighting a candle or oil menorah.

Wishing you a happy and safe Chanukah!

Yours truly,

Rabbi Menachem Posner