Hanukkah Menorah The Full FAQ Guide

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Hanukkah is one of the main festivals of the Jewish faith. It is filled with a rich history of the region of ancient and modern – day Israel, and its traditions stem from it. The key instrument used is the Menorah and its use is central to the commonly held traditions upheld during the holiday. The following article will detail the uses and significance of the Menorah in Hanukkah.

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What does the Hanukkah Menorah Symbolize?

What does the Hanukkah Menorah Symbolize?The Menorah symbolizes the great miracle that occurred during the Maccabean revolt. This event saw the recovery and reconsecration of both the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish Holy Temple. This is marked throughout the days of Hanukkah as an event of great importance and bravery by the Jews against the Seleucids in Israel.

According to Jewish tradition, during the days of the revolt, several Jewish priests tried to light the Menorah in the ruined Jewish Temple. The amount of oil sufficed only for lighting the candles for one single day. But a miracle occurred, during which the insufficient oil quantity eventually lasted for 8 full days of Menorah lighting.

This event is commemorated in the Jewish faith as a great miracle and is observed through the lighting of the Menorahs every evening during Hanukkah.


Why is the Menorah important to Hanukkah?

The Hanukkah Menorah symbolizes the great triumph of the Jewish people in their times of difficulty by honoring the miracle that occurred in the Jewish temple. At a time when Jews were systematically persecuted for their faith, this small victory was a source of hope for the common people.

For this reason, the Menorah reminds us that the hardships of the Jewish people can always be overcome. Because Hanukkah is centered around the stories of the Jews’ victories over their foes, the Menorah’s use is a fundamental aspect of the holiday.


How Do You Use a Hanukkah Menorah?

The Menorah is essentially a candelabra with 9 branches for placing 9 candles. These branches are aligned in a row, with the middle branch (called a Shamash) raised higher above the rest. They can be made of a variety of different materials but are often made of metal. Silver Hanukkah Menorahs are usually a common sight. We can also see many kinds of modern anodized aluminum Hanukkiahs

During ancient times, like in the original tale of the miracle, Menorahs were lit using oil. These days, however, most Menorahs are lit using regular wax candles that have a slim stem that fits the branches. This is both due to safety reasons (oil is very flammable and can be hard to control) and economic reasons. (Candles are cheap)



How Do You Light a Hanukkah Menorah?

How Do You Light a Hanukkah Menorah?There are several variations to the ritual of candle lighting itself, but they all have certain ground rules involved. The candles should be lit after dusk and after the entire family has gathered for the ritual. On Fridays, the candles are usually lit before dusk so as not to defile the keeping of Shabbat.

The first candle that should be lit is the Shamash. (The central candle) The Shamash is then used to light all the other candles. All other candles should remain in their spot and not be used to light any other candle. Some light the candles only from the left to the right, though it’s not strictly followed by all Jews necessarily.

Hanukkah lasts 8 days, and each day has its arrangement of candles. On the first day, only the Shamash and the rightmost candle are placed and lit on the Menorah. On the second day, another candle is added next to the rightmost one, and so on. Only on the 8th eve of Hanukkah are all the 9 candles lit simultaneously.

During the lighting of the candles, a special Hanukkah prayer is recited by all those present. And finally, after the ceremony ends, the Menorah is usually placed either on a central table or a windowsill. This is done to spread light to the surroundings. One must make sure to keep a Menorah in a safe spot to prevent fires from starting.


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What is the Hanukkah Prayer When Lighting a Menorah?

There are 3 main types of blessings recited in Hebrew during the lighting of Hanukkah candles. These are recited by all those gathered and last throughout the lighting itself. (And not after) The first blessing starts with glorifying God and asserting His dominance over the entire universe. It then celebrates the Mitzvahs given to us by him and finishes with the commemoration of the Mitzvah of candle lighting.

The second blessing starts with the same line glorifying God but goes on to celebrate the great miracles performed by him during the days of our ancestors. This refers to the miracle of the oil that lasted for 8 days instead of 1.

Lastly, the third blessing starts identically with the first two but celebrates how God preserved the Jewish people to the present day through His protection. This blessing is only recited on the first day of Hanukkah after the first two.


How Do You Light an Oil Hanukkah Menorah?

As mentioned earlier, the ancient Menorah detailed in the stories was lit using oil as a fuel source. (Olive oil, to be exact) Modern-day adherents mostly use wax candles. There are some, however, who wish to remain closer to tradition and still use oil Menorahs to commemorate the miracle. This means that the tradition can still be carried on today.

Today’s oil Menorahs use olive oil as a fuel source just like the one depicted in the stories. Oil, aside from being the main fuel source in ancient times, burns very well and strongly lights its surroundings. It should be noted that oil Menorahs are significantly more dangerous. Therefore, make sure it’s stored in a safe spot away from kids who might knock it over.

When using an oil Hanukkah Menorah, one must make sure that enough oil is fed to the cup. A minimum of 30 minutes and 90 minutes of burn time is required on weeknights and Friday nights, respectively. Additionally, cotton wicks are preferred for use because of the smooth flame they produce upon burning. Keeping Mitzvah with elegance is also important!


How Do You Clean a Hanukkah Menorah?

Naturally, the burning of candles or oil always leaves some residue on the instrument itself. If you want your Menorah to remain in good shape and usable, you should always take care to clean it properly after use.

Cleaning a Hanukkah Menorah highly depends on the type of Menorah and what it’s primarily made of. For wax candle Menorahs, a good idea would be to soak them in hot water for around 15 minutes. This prevents the buildup of candle wax that would otherwise clog the cups and prevent them from being used. Do not try to remove the wax using tools.

The type of material comprising the Menorah also affects the method of cleaning. Sterling silver Hanukkah Menorahs for example are especially delicate instruments. The silver is soft and can easily receive dents and be affected by certain metal–polishing chemicals commonly used. Use soft cotton cloth (such as those comprising t-shirts) to clean the Menorah.

Menorahs made of solid brass can be cleaned using metal polish liquid. These do a fine job in removing dirt and residue such as burned candles and wicks. However, make sure the Menorah does not have a painted finish. This liquid could ruin the instrument entirely since it dissolves paint quite effectively.


Where Do You Buy a Menorah?

There are many places where you can get yourself a Menorah, often with varying qualities. Many people acquire several different Menorahs throughout the years, often to the point where they do not need them. Because of this, many used Menorahs can be found quite abundantly. Try searching for one at a local flea market, you’re bound to come across some.

Some people even make their Menorahs themselves since it’s an easy task. Children often make personal Menorahs using very simple materials that can be found in many general and crafting stores.

If you want a long-lasting Menorah though, your best bet would be to purchase one from a Judaica store. These are specially designed to last for many years and are often beautifully decorated. These could serve as an item of great pride and as a family heirloom for years to come. Specifically high quality sterling silver Hanukkah menorahs

High-Quality Menorahs for Hanukkah

modern silver menorahMenorahs are one of those instruments that need to last for several lifetimes. Therefore, one should choose carefully where they buy them from. The right man for this job is Avi Nadav.

Nadav Art by Avi Nadav is a studio gallery specializing in the manufacturing of high–quality Judaica art and instruments. From simple silverware to beautiful silver Menorahs, Avi Nadav brings with him the experience of the generations of silversmiths and craftsmen. Their products are made with special care and a handcrafting approach that’s unique to their style.

With their help, you can be sure you’ll receive fine Menorahs that will stay in your household for years to come.

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Common Questions and Answers - FAQ

The ancient menorah had seven branches—one for each day of creation—and it was positioned in the holy Temple in Jerusalem.

The candles are lit from left to right, so that the newest candle is always lit first.The reason is that sanctity should always be increase and not decreased

It is a custom for women not to work for at least the first half-hour of the candle burning, while some don’t work at all for the entire time of burning.