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MileChai --> Judaica  --> Judaism --> What is a Menorah and Chaukiah

Chanukah is a Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of lights. Chanukah is a Hebrew word meaning "dedication". It is also spelled Chanuka, Hannukah or Hanukkah. The first evening of Chanukah (called Erev Chanukah) starts after the sunset of the 24th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. As in Jewish tradition the calendar date starts at sunset, Chanukah begins on the 25th. also see:  Chanukah rituals - Dreidel Rules - Chanukah Cards - Kislev

Hanukkah Menorah: also called a Chanukiah

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A menorah (sometimes capitalized) is a branched candelabrum with seven candle-holders. It is displayed in Jewish synagogues. The menorah was the ancient representation of the Hebrews and is one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish people. It symbolises the burning bush as seen by Moses on mount Sinai. The two most common menorahs have seven and nine candle-holders. The term hanukiah or chanukiah, refers to the nine-candled holder used during Hanukkah. This term was coined in Israel during the 20th century when Hebrew was growing after being mostly dormant as a street language for centuries.

Some Laws Concerning Menorah and Chanukah

Judaism

Jewish Holidays

Names -Jewish Months

What is Shabbos / Shabbat ?
What is Rosh HaShanah ?
What is Yom Kippur ?
What is Sukkot ?
What is Chanukah?
What is Purim ?
What is Passover ?

What is Shavuot?

The original design for the seven-candle menorah is in the Torah. The menorah originally burned olive oil, not candles. The menorah was used in rituals in the tabernacle (portable sanctuary) and later the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Since the destruction of the Temple, the menorah has had no formal role in Jewish prayer services or rituals. The presence of a menorah in some synagogues is purely symbolic. Some synagogues today use a lamp-stand called the "ner tamid" to symbolize the menorah.

The nine-candle menorah is used to celebrate the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. Hanukkah originally celebrated the Maccabees' defeat of the superior Syrian army. However, post-biblical Jewish tradition as recorded in the Talmud describes that when the Maccabees were rededicating the Temple, they only found enough oil to light the menorah for one day. A miracle occurred and the oil lasted for eight days. To celebrate Hanukkah, one candle is lit on the first night, two candles are lit on the second night, and so on. The ninth candle, the "shammes" (in Yiddish) or "shamash" (in Hebrew), is a "helper candle" that is used to light the others, and to provide light, since tradition holds that one could not use the Hanukkah lights to illuminate one's home.

The fate of the original Menorah is obscure. A depiction is still available on the Arch of Titus that still stands today in Rome.

It remained in Rome until its sack by the Vandals in 455 A.D., but the Byzantine army under General Belisarius took it back in the 6th century and brought it to Constantinople. Here, the trail ends. It is not further mentioned in any Byzantine chronicles, and one can only speculate whether it remained there until the city was sacked or was brought back to Jerusalem.

Dates that Chanukah falls on in the Gregorian calendar
Chanukah begins on the evening prior to these dates.

Hanukkah starts Kislev 24 / December 8th, 2012 - 5773 at sundown.

Judaica --> Jewish Holidays --> Chanukah --> Hanukkah Menorahs


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