Although Mishna Brura 429:1 mentions many poskim who extend Psachim 6b’s principle that “we inquire and expound upon the laws of Pesach 30 days before Pesach” to encompass all biblical festivals, Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer 17:1 exempts one from any such obligation in anticipation of Chanukah, on the strength of Tosafos to Megillah 4a, s.v.“mai iryah”. Still, an examination of the holiday laws at this advanced time seems prudent and worthwhile.
CL above 20 cubits in height is disqualified because the casual observer will not easily take notice, thereby defeating the purpose of miracle publicization (Shabbos 22a). This represents a formidable problem for a high-rise apartment dweller who wishes to perform the mitzvah by kindling the candelabrum in his window. A cubit is no more than 57.6 cm in length, and so people residing above adecametrein altitude would be affected by this provision.
R’ Samuel Woszner (Shu”t Shevet Halevi 4:65) nevertheless authorizes such lighting in modern urban settings where the tall building is commonly flanked by aneighbouringedifice. The acrophilic menora in question may not be visible to pedestrians, but it will surely be seen by residents of theneighbouringhigh altitude complex. That too, argues R’ Woszner, constitutes miracle publicization.
However, a number of authorities (R’ Joseph Elyashiv cited by Sefer Ner Ish Uveiso, Teshuvos Vihanhagos 2:343) submit that the rabbinic institution of CL was expressly ordained for the sake of illuminating the eyes of street pedestrians. If that is so, one cannot discharge his obligation in a skyscraper, and recitation of the appropriate blessings would in fact be most inappropriate,
After examining the logic of both sides, R’ Israel Harfenes (Shu”t Mikadesh Yisrael 1:34) concludes that the question is subject to an unresolved doubt. Fortuitously, because nowadays one can also achieve miracle publicization by CL in the presence of one’s immediate family (preferably by situating the menora to the side of the main doorway opposite the mezuzah), high-altitude residents enjoy an easily available expedient. One who lives alone in such an apartment should invite acquaintances over at the time of CL to escape the uncertainty engendered by this dispute of poskim and thereby recite the blessings in good conscience.