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The Chanukah Menorah

The menorah is the ultimate symbol of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. It is a special eight-branched candelabra with a ninth branch for a so-called "helper" candle, called the Shamash. Each of the eight candles represent one of the eight nights of Chanukah, which in turn represent the miracle of Chanukah.

In the second century BCE, a Jewish band of rebels in Judea known as the Maccabees rescued the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Greek pagans who had ransacked it. The group wanted to rededicate the Temple by lighting the eternal lamp. The story of Chanukah tells that they found only enough oil to last for one night; but a miracle happened and that oil lasted for eight nights.

On the first night of Chanukah, the candle on the far right of the Menorah -- or Chanukiah (Hanukiyah), as it is called in Hebrew -- is lit. Each night, an additional candle is lit, beginning from left to right, until all eight candles shine brightly on the final night of Chanukah. (See: Lighting the Chanukah Menorah)

Special blessings are chanted before the lighting of the candles and family sing traditional songs together afterward. Typically, each member of the family will have his or her own menorah, which is displayed in a window so that the lights may be seen by passers-by. This tradition is intended to "illuminate" the miracle of Chanukah.

The menorah is lit at nightfall and the lights should remain illuminated for at least thirty minutes past dark. Historically, olive oil was used to light the menorah, but today most people use brightly colored candles. Many cities in the United States, Israel and elsewhere around the world sponsor the public lighting of large-scale menorahs in town squares and other prominent locations.

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Related Articles:
Who Were The Maccabees?
The Prayer for Lighting the Chanukah Menorah
A Historical Perspective of Chanukah
Lighting the Chanukah Menorah
The Different Spellings of Chanukah

Add Comment
Luis Rubio
10:42 12/09/2010
Allen, why shouldn't a christian church have a menorah. guess what, in the early days christians were jews. hebrews enslaved, sacrificed by the roman legions to hungry lions and obliterated for sport. The menorah deserves to be there. not only for spirituality but a show of respect for what our religion has become. if it weren't for old scriptures christianity would never have happened. guess who was in there? Solomon? i think he was jewish, dont you think?
Mike from Georgia, US
21:32 11/11/2010
Hey Allen, We have a menorah prominently displayed at our "very Christian" ministry. The best way to learn about the significance of the menorah is to google it. We have a 7 stemed menorah from Jerusalem. It represents the Genesis creation story. Read Romans Ch.11 and pay close attention. It's our mandate to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters in these last days. Bless you in your search! Mike
Osnat from Israel
00:43 07/23/2010
Shalom! The menorah you show in your site is beautiful and my husband needs it to a presentation he makes for a synagogue. Can we copy it? If we can, how can we copy just the menorah? Thanks a lot Osnat Israel Our phones numbers are 04 6940776 0522217013
SR from Alabama, US
17:19 06/25/2010
Allen, many Christians are adding to their Bible study a focus on the Bible that Jesus would have studied. The connection is that Christ grew up in this culture and that subsequent books of the Bible are the fulfillment prophesies from the Old Testament. (In a nutshell)
Allen from California, US
00:23 03/01/2010
Why would a Christian Church have a Menorah on a Altar? What would it repersent?
Olivia J. from Oregon, US
13:36 12/15/2009
This is a very interesting religion! I'd like to learn more about Chanukah. Although I am Christian, I am not against any religions. I am doing this for a school project, and I am glad that I could learn more about Chanukah. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!
Cookie Monster
15:31 12/10/2009
I Am Working On This For My School Project Lol
11:39 12/08/2009
chanukahh is so cool
Done Olora from Michigan, US
10:12 12/08/2009
I'd like to know much about Jewish culture. Thanks
Susan from New York, US
00:48 12/08/2009
I saw a comment asking if the menorah should have seven or nine branches. The answer is that a Hanukkah menorah should have nine branches, eight for the eight day lighting and the ninth candle is called a shamash. The menorah of seven was the one which was used in the temple on temple mount in Jerusalem and in the tabernacle. See the article I wrote on this topic for a full explanation, it can be seen at (you will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the article). Happy Hanukkah

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