Since the Jewish holiday Hanukkah begins at sundown tomorrow, I thought now would be a good time to spend a moment or two discussing the menorah. I love menorahs. I may be what theologians refer to as a “bad Jew”, but what I lack in knowledge and devotion I surely make up for in sheer volume of menorahs in my home. It started out as a burden, having loads of menorah around the apartment, but now I couldn’t imagine getting rid of any of them.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the menorah, let me bring you up to speed. Hanukkah is the celebration of the Maccabees liberating Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E. After liberating the Temple of Jerusalem, the Maccabees wanted to light the perpetual light with seven branches, but it had been destroyed. They built a temporary candelabrum but they only had one flask of oil to fuel it. However, it kept the candles lit for eight days rather than one. Hanukkah, at its most basic, is the celebration of efficient fuels.
In modern times when Jews celebrate Hanukkah (meaning dedication) they light a menorah. The menorah is an eight branched candelabrum; with a ninth spot for the shamash, which is for the candle used to light the other candles. Each night a candle is lit to signify the days that the oil lasted. Hanukkah is actually a minor festival in the Jewish faith, but due to it’s proximity to Christmas it’s been kind of sucked up into a “Hanukkah is the Jewish Christmas” vacuum of commercialism. Not that this lady is complaining. I may be a “bad Jew”, but I still get Hanukkah presents!
Anyway, I really do like menorahs. You can find them in all shapes and sizes. And when the candles are all lit, it is a very beautiful sight. I thought I would share mine with you.
To all of our Jewish readers, Happy Hanukkah!