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    Menorah Facts

    Introducing the Menorah   The Menorah in the Bible   The Chanukiyah   Why not a 7-branched Menorah?  

    Introducing the Menorah
    On Chanukah, everyone strives to light the lamps, one way or another, in a Menorah. Even in the darkest moments of Jewish history and in the most adverse conditions, Jews would procure even the smallest of makeshift menorahs that would shed a little light, not only on past events, but also on the strength of Jewish commitment in our days.
    Clay Menorah How many know, however, to distinguish between the menorah used on Chanukah and the ancient Temple menorah? There are differences: The Chanukah Menorah - known as Chanukiyah in Hebrew- is the candelabrum designed to hold the lights of Chanukah. It is similar to the ancient menorah that stood high in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and that became one of the earliest symbols of the Jewish people. But it differs both in structure and function.

    The Menorah in the Bible

    The Menorah is described in detail in the Bible (Exodus 25:31-37) and was considered by some as the physical representation of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. It had seven branches, each one, it is said, standing for another day of Creation.

    Tree of Life
    The shape of the menorah was
    found in the flora of Eretz Yisrael
    .
    The Menorah was a central feature of the Temple, and its lights served as a source of light from evening till morning. Its central light was never allowed to burn out, this being the source of the term Ner Tamid (or "Eternal Light") found in synagogues today. Legend recalls that the light of the Temple menorah overflowed beyond the confines of the sanctuary and lit up every household in Jerusalem.

    The Temple Menorah burned pure, beaten, olive oil that was produced in olive presses supervised by the priests or their representatives. The oil was "packaged" in containers sealed with the mark of the High Priest to distinguish it from ordinary oil.

    This is what the priests were searching for after the Temple was purified, following the victory over the Syrian Greeks. Among all the rubble, they actually found one closed and sealed jug which contained enough oil for one day...

    More Menorah Facts

 

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