The menorah, a 7-branched candlestick, is an ancient and important symbol of Judaism. Traditional emblem of the state of Israel, its origin dates back to the book of Exodus. In this article, we will discover the meaning as well as the use of the Jewish candlestick. Find at the end of the article, a selection of Jewish candlesticks to decorate your homes or illuminate your Hanukkah celebrations.
What is the meaning of the Menorah?
The word Menorah, in Hebrew, means “which comes from the flame”. According to Kabbalah, this flame corresponds to the presence of Gd.
To fully understand its meaning, we must go back to the biblical episode of Mount Sinai, during the Exodus Jews from Egypt. Gd asked Moses to make a candlestick of gold, the light of which should never go out. Moses constructed an object of pure gold, consisting of a branch in the center and surrounded by six other branches. He adorned the branches with oil lamps which he decorated with flower buds. Its shape is inspired by the burning bush that Moses saw on Mount Sinai.
Since then, the menorah has been one of the flagship symbols of Judaism, along with the Star of David. It is one of the sacred objects present in a synagogue, along with the Holy Ark. When the First Temple was built in Jerusalem, our ancestors erected a large menorah. It has been an object of decoration and inspiration for the Jewish people for centuries.
Furthermore, since 1949 the menorah has been the cult symbol of the State of Israel. Its vocation is to be a “ light for the nations ”.
Why the 7 branch Menorah?
The 7 branches of the Menorah symbolize the days of the creation of our universe. The central one corresponds to Shabbat and illuminates the other days. The candlesticks of the candlestick symbolize the eyes of Yahweh who watches over the world. According to another interpretation, it would have been given as many branches as there are planets with the sun.
Why the 9 branch Menorah?
In Judaism, there is also a 9 branch candlestick. This is the hanukkah, which is particularly used during Hanukkah, the festival of lights. The Jewish holiday lasts for 8 days, during which an additional candle is lit each evening of the holiday. This is why the hanukkiah is composed of 9 branches: 4 on each side, as well as a central branch, the Shamash (which means "helper" or "servant).
During this Talmud feast, we celebrate the story of the inauguration of the temple in Jerusalem by the Jews, but also the divine miracle of the vial. Indeed, following the liberation of the temple, a single vial of oil was enough to light the menorah for 7 consecutive days.
Where to place the menorah?
At the time, the menorah was lit in plain sight, in a courtyard or at the door of the house. Nowadays, we place the hanukkiah either at the window so that it can be seen from the outside (if you live on the ground floor or first floor) or next to the front door on the left, just next to the Mezuzah. It must be placed on a piece of furniture with a height between 25 and 80cm.
When is the menorah lit?
According to tradition, the Hanukkah Menorah is lit every night, 30 minutes after sunset, during the 8 days of the festival. With the exception of Friday, when the hanukkiah must be lit before sunset. In fact, the ignition can be moved back so that the whole family is present during the ignition. Candles must burn for at least thirty minutes after dark
How do I light the Chanukah?
Every Hanukkah night, we light a new candle. The first candle is placed on the far right, and an additional candle is added step by step, from right to left. Regarding the lighting of the menorah, it is done in reverse, from left to right, starting with the new candle added).
Gather all members of the house around the menorah. Families and friends must come together to share the tradition.
Then light the central candle, the shamash.
Hold the candle with your right hand (or left hand if left-handed) and say the blessings.
Then light the new candle and continue to light the next ones from left to right.
Make sure the candles burn for at least half an hour. If a candle goes out, you can relight it.
Buy a Jewish candlestick
In its origins, the menorah was made of pure gold. Nowadays there are a multitude of choices regarding materials, colors or shape. All of our menorahs and hanukkiahs are original designs made in Israel.
Here is a selection of our most beautiful candlesticks to light up your home and accompany your parties.
Miniature silver menorah
Crafted in plated brass in an antique style and adorned with a Star of David, this lovely Miniature 7-Branch Menorah will be a perfect decorative item for your living room.
Our imperial hanukkiah is made of pewter and covered in gold. Its elegant and refined style will be perfect for the candle lighting ceremony. We particularly appreciate all the hand-painted details, as well as its ivory color subtly dressed in gold and royal red.
Hanoukkia pomegranate and leaves
This hanukkah is beautifully composed of plant elements. Its base is placed on a branch, the foot rests on the leaves while the candlesticks are in the shape of pomegranates. We particularly like its original and refined design. It will make a great decorative item all year round!