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Close Association Between Jewish History and Hanukkah Menorah

By Sheeba Benjamin Benju

A Menorah is a candelabrum that has close association with Jewish history and ritual. It should be noted that there is a seven branched Menorah and a special nine branched Hanukkah Menorah, which is also called a Chanukiah. According to the Bible and the Talmud, Bezelel made the original Menorah for the Tabernacle. It was made from a single mass of gold. If you study the Jewish history, you will understand that the Tabernacle was the temporary, mobile center for worshipping God used by the Israelites from the days of Moses till the First Temple was constructed in Jerusalem. Tradition says that the original Menorah was there in the First Temple with ten extra lamps. However, they got destroyed when the First Temple was ruined.

One Menorah was there in the Second Temple also. According to the story of Chanukah, this Menorah was looted by Greek Syrian soldiers and then re-dedicated by the Maccabees. Later on when the Second Temple was destroyed, Titus took it along with other artifacts and displayed them on his return to Rome. The looted Menorah is shown in the famous relief of the Arch of Titus. From the ancient to the modern times, the Menorah has been considered as a Jewish symbol and can be found on gravestones, coins, synagogue decorations etc. Now it serves as the seal and emblem of the Jewish State of Israel.

A special Hanukkah Menorah, which is also called a Hanukkiah or Chanukiah is lit during the festival of Hanukkah. It is a candelabrum with eight branches of equal size that all sit in a row and a separate candle holder for 'Shamash'. The Shamash candle is used to light all the other eight candles, since the Hanukkah light should not be used for anything other than viewing. After lighting, it has to place in a place for all to see. It is a joyous occasion, celebrating the Jewish Macccabees' miraculous victory over the Greek-Syrian army and the single-days-worth of pure oil that miraculously lasted for eight days in the Temple. Jewish families assemble around their Hanukkah Menorah each night of Hanukkah festival to recite the Hanukkah blessings, kindle the lights, sing songs and eat special Hanukkah food.

If you are looking for more information then feel free to visit Menorah and Hanukkah Menorah.


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