Menorah In The Courtyard
"Your children entered the shrine of Your House, cleansed Your Temple,
purified Your Sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courtyards."
(Siddur, Al Hanisim)
The kindling of the Menorah took place in the Beit Hamikdash
itself. Why did the Hasmoneans kindle it in the courtyard?
When the Hasmoneans entered the Beit Hamikdash, they found it
defiled and in ruins. Thus, they were unable to kindle the
Menorah while it stood in its regular place. In the interim,
while they were cleaning the mess and renovating, the Menorah
was kindled in the courtyard. This is permissible according
to halacha (see Rambam, Hilchot Biat Hamikdash 9:7).
The Lubavitcher Rebbe questions:
Through kindling the Menorah in the courtyard, everyone was
able to witness the 8-day miracle (which would not have been
the case had it been lit inside, then only the Kohanim would
have seen it).
With this explanation, we can answer the popular question of
why Chanukah is celebrated for 8 days instead of 7, though
sufficient oil was found for the first night. The oil found
would have lasted through the night, if the Menorah would
have been kindled inside. However, Chanukah takes place during
the winter, and due to weather conditions, the oil would
normally not have been sufficient to last through the night,
when the Menorah was kindled outside, in the courtyard.
Accordingly, grammatically it should be in singular:
"bechatzer kadshecha" "in your holy courtyard" in lieu of
the plural, "bechatzrot kadshecha" "in your holy
Thus, he asserts that the Menorah was indeed kindled in the
Beit Hamikdash. However, as an additional expression of
joy and happiness, all the courtyards in the outskirts of
the Beit Hamikdash were also illuminated with an
abundance of light (as it was customary during Simchat Beit