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History Of The Menorah

The menorah, or candelabrum, is used during the Jewish holiday of Hanukah. The eight days of Hanukah are celebrated every year on the 25th of the Hebrew month Kislev. The holiday commemorates the military victory of the Jews of Palestine over the Syrian - Greeks in the 2nd century BCE. The Maccabees, the Jewish revolutionaries, restored order to Jerusalem and found the Temple contaminated. To restore the Temple, ritual oil was needed, but only enough pure oil to last one day was found. The miracle of Hanukah occurred when the modest amount of oil in the Temple lamps burned for eight days, allowing it to be rededicated.

Following the destruction of the Temple, the menorah became a very important symbol in Jewish history. It became a reminder, of the sovereignty of the Temple. In order to preserve the holiness of the original menorah, the Rabbis forbade the use of an exact replica of the seven branched menorah.

Today, candles are lit in an eight branched menorah called a "Hanukiyah" in Israel to differentiate it from the seven-branched Menorah of the Temple. On the first night of Hanukah one candle is lit. On the second night, two candles are lit and so on. The candles are added from right to left and are lit left to right with the newest candle lit first. There is a separate place for the shamash, the candle used light the other candles. The candles are kindled after dark. The Rabbis teach that the menorah should be placed in the window, in order to "publicize the miracle."

The blessings for the candles:

Baruch ata, Adonai Eioheinu, melech haolam, asher kideshanu bemitsvotav, vetsivanu lehadlik neir shel Chanuka.

Baruch ata, Adonai Eioheinu, melech haolam, sheasa nisim laavoteinu bayamim haheim bazeman hazeh.

On the first night recite:

Baruch ata, Adonai Eioheinu, melech haolam, shehecheyanu vekiyemanu vehigianu lazeman hazeh.

"Blessed are You,, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of Hanukkah."

"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who performed miracles for our fathers in those days, at this time."

On the first night recite:

"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life and sustenance and permitted us to reach this season."

History Of The Menorah menorah1


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