Orthodox on Chanukah Tradition

from Avrham Rosenthal:
On the first night of Chanukah we light one candle. On each subsequent night
another candle is added, until the last night when we light eight candles.

On the first night, the first candle is placed on the right side of the
Menorah. From the second night of Chanukah and onwards, the additional
candles are placed to the left of the first candle. However, when lighting,
the candle furthest to the left is lit first, and then one proceeds towards
the right. (This is the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch and the generally
accepted custom. See the Mishnah Berurah for additional customs.)

One of the reasons we light towards the right is to follow the directive of
the Gemara: Whenever one turns (and he has the option), he should turn to
the right.

There is a concept in Halacha that one should avoid “passing up” a mitzvah.
For example, when reciting the blessing for bread over the two Shabbos
loaves, one should hold the loaf that he intends on eating closer to him, in
order that he does not need to “pass up” the loaf that he is not eating.

The same applies to the Chanukah candles. Each candle is a mitzvah.
Therefore, One should be careful to position himself so that when he starts
lighting, he stands closer to the candle he intends to light. This is in
order to avoid having to pass up another candle.

Source: Shulchan Aruch 676 Mishnah Berurah 11

Since it is forbidden to have benefit from the Chanukah lights, the custom
is to light an additional light. This light is called “the shamash.” The
shamash is placed slightly higher or not in line with the rest of the

According to most opinions, the custom is to light the shamash even where
there is light in the room, such as electric lights.

It is also preferable to have the electric lights on where the Chanukah
candles are burning, even though there is a shamash. This is in order that
people will not think that he lit all the candles, i.e., the shamash and the
Chanukah candles, for his own use.

Source: Shulchan Aruch 673:1 and Mishnah Berurah

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