- Question: [Tuesday, 26th Kisleiv 5782]
One of the branches of our tall Chanukah menorah broke off together with the Shamash, and we hence now have only seven branches by the Menorah. May I use this menorah to light with until the seventh night?
If the menorah is made of metal and contains extended branches into which each one of the candles is inserted, then you are to break off one of the branches from the menorah so that it only contains six branches. You may then use it to light candles on each night of Hanukkah until the sixth night. On the seventh and eighth night you should either use a different menorah or find a way of placing a seventh candle on the same level as the other candles.
Explanation: It is forbidden for one to make a replica of the temple menorah which contained seven branches. Likewise, one should not purchase or own such a menorah even if he is not the one who manufactured it. Hence, if a regular eight branch Chanukah menorah broke and now only has seven branches, then it is to have one of its branches broken off so it is no longer a seven-branch menorah. Now, this is only necessary by a Menorah that is made of metal and that contains actual branches for each one of its candles. However, a wood or glass menorah, or a flat menorah which does not contain branches at all, and simply contains an area to rest the oil bulbs or candlesticks, then since it does not resemble at all the temple menorah, it may contain only seven candle holders, and hence if one of the holders break off, it may still be used. There is no obligation to light the Hanukkah candles on an eight branch menorah or on a menorah at all for that matter, and hence even if the menorah is broken and does not have eight branches, it may be used for the lighting. However, when one runs out of branches for that number night of Hanukkah, then he should use another menorah or find a way of lighting an additional candle on the same level as the other branches.
Sources: See regarding the prohibition of making a seven-branch menorah: Michaber Y.D. 141:8; Rambam Beis Habechira 7:10; Avoda Zara 43a; Shach 141:35; Tevuos Shur on R”H 24, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141:14; Mishnas Chachamim on Avodas Kochavim p. 64, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 141:14; Likkutei Sichos 20:169 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:275]; See regarding breaking off a branch from a seven branched Menorah: Birkeiy Yosef 141; See Maharik ibid; Devar Moseh 1:122 See regarding that the candles should be on the same level and not some higher and some lower: Chayeh Adam 154:10; Kaf Hachaim 671:28; See also Mahariy Bruno 39