During the eight days of Hanukkah, Jews the world over share the holiday’s joy with family and friends by lighting a special candelabra. In most countries around the world, this candelabra is known as “Hanukkah Menorah” and is correctly related back to the Menorah at The Temple in Jerusalem. Despite the candelabra’s name, the Hanukkah Menorah is not a copy or replica of the original Menorah in the Temple. That Menorah made by Bezalel, chief artisan of the wilderness Tabernacle, following the directions which G-d gave Moses, (see Shemot/Exodus 25:31-40), sat on a base over which stood a single shaft with three branches on each side for a total of seven “fire holders”. “Fire holders” because candles were not used in the Temple, instead oil lamps with wicks were used.
According to a reconstruction by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, The Temple’s Seven Branched Menorah looked like this:
It is similar to the seven branched Menorah which appears on the Official Seal of the State of Israel.
By contrast, the Hanukkah Menorah is a nine branched candelabra which has no specific construction directions or rules, other than to insure that one candle position is reserved for the Shamash (guardian/server) which is used to light the other candles. The Shamash may be placed in any position provided that it is either higher or lower than the other eight candleholders. In Israel, the Hanukkah Menorah has been given the Modern Hebrew name “Hanukkiah”. Modern Hanukkiot (Hebrew: plural of Hanukkiah) are made in a variety of styles. Including the following:
All photographs for this blog post are by Isa David-Ben-Rafael and are owned by IsraeLightly, excepting the image of the Seal of the State of Israel which was copied from Wikipedia Images.