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Menorahs- The Chanukah Story

The Chanukah Story

chanukahThe Chanukah Story 

Chanukah is a time to celebrate miracles, chief among them the miracle that occurred after the Jews defeated the Greeks and returned to the Holy Temple. Just as Greek philosophies promoted moral degradation, so too the Greeks themselves literally defiled and desecrated the Holy Temple. In their wake, they left just one small sealed vessel of pure Menorah oil, bearing the stamped certification of the Priest. While this vessel had sufficient oil for only one day’s light, the Jews experienced another great miracle when the Menorah remained lit for an additional seven days! The miracle provided exactly the amount of time necessary to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the Menorah.

 Lighting the Menorah

 The Chanukah holiday is celebrated by lighting a type of Menorah called a Chanukiya, which is similar to the lamp that was lit in the Holy Temple. The primary difference is the number of branches. While the Menorah in the Holy Temple had seven branches, the one we light today has eight. Lighting the Chanukah Menorah is not a reenactment of lighting the Temple Menorah, as it serves as a reminder of the eight-day miracle that occurred during this time, with one branch dedicated to each night of the holiday.

 The Chanukah Menorah has an extra ninth branch called the Shamash, whose purpose is two-fold. First, we use the Shamash to kindle the Chanukiya’s other lights, setting it a bit higher or lower than the other candles to differentiate it from the Mitzvah candles. Second, the Shamash is available for practical uses for which the holy Chanukah lights are forbidden. On the first night we light one candle using the Shamash, and on every subsequent night of Chanukah we light one more candle.

 The Israel Boutique Chanukah Collection 

Apropos of this time of year, the Israel Boutique offers unique and beautiful Chanukah Menorahs and gifts. The Menorahs are fit for lighting during the Festival of Lights, with each one connecting to the Chanukah story in a unique way.

stone menorah1.  Jerusalem Stone Menorahs – These Menorahs’ unique designs and exquisite details are handcrafted from authentic Jerusalem stone. As the material from which the Holy Temple was built, this stone is a reminder of our eternal connection to Jerusalem. What better way to celebrate Chanukah and the victory of our return to the Holy Temple than with a Menorah made in the Holy Land from the same type of materials! 

rockets into roses menorah


2.   Rockets into Roses Menorahs – Hand-sculpted works of art, fashioned by metal sculptor Yaron Bob, these Menorahs are made from actual rockets that landed in Israel. The artist has literally transformed instruments of death and weapons of war into meaningful objects of great beauty. This is exactly the message of Chanukah, on which we celebrate light and the defeat of the enemies of truth.

Menorah Coin


3.   Jerusalem Menorah Coins – Jerusalem Coins are commemorative treasures crafted with uncompromising quality, elegance, and beauty. Depicting the seven-branched Temple Menorah on one side and the City of Gold and the Holy Temple on the other, this coin’s design tells the story of Chanukah’s miracles. After the Jews defeated the Greeks, they returned to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem where a miracle occurred. They found only enough oil to light the Menorah for one day, but the light burned bright for eight days!

 

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The Holy Temple Menorah

The Holy Temple Menorah

Background 

Temple MenorahOriginally, in the Holy Temple, the Menorah was a seven-branched candelabra beaten out of a solid piece of gold. As one of the sacred vessels, the High Priest lit the Menorah every day in the southern part of the Holy Temple. Only pure, fresh olive oil of the highest quality was suitable to light the Menorah.

 Symbolism 

As its unique design communicates, the Menorah endures as a symbol of Divine light spreading throughout the world. To this end, God commanded that the Menorah’s goblets be turned upside down on their stems, emphasizing the importance of spreading light to others. This design reflects the Menorah’s exact purpose in the Holy Temple, which was to spread the light of Godliness to the entire world, not to illuminate the Temple itself. 

The seven lamps of the Menorah also allude to knowledge, with six of the branches representing human wisdom, guided by the center branch of Divine light. To this day, the Menorah’s design and the ideas it communicates endure as an inspiration for universal enlightenment. 

Since God dictated the creation of the Menorah from 100 percent pure gold, our sages deduced that we must strive for “solid gold” with regard to our motives and behavior. In other words, our shining character traits on the inside should reflect the holy actions we take on the outside, and vice versa. In this way, the Menorah teaches us to bring out every soul’s inner Divine light so that we shine internally and externally. 

The Menorah’s structure also inspires us to embrace holiness. The Menorah begins with a central stem that branches outwards, just as our demeanor, behavior, personality, and especially good deeds should branch out and influence others to illuminate the world around us. 


The Chanukah Menorah
 

The Chanukah holiday is celebrated by lighting a type of Menorah called a Chanukiya, which is similar to the lamp that was lit in the Holy Temple. The primary difference is the number of branches. While the Menorah in the Holy Temple had seven branches, the one we light today has eight. Lighting the Chanukah Menorah is not a reenactment of lighting the Temple Menorah, however, as it serves as a reminder of the eight-day miracle that occurred during this time, with one branch dedicated to each night of the holiday. 

The Israel Boutique Chanukah Collection 

Apropos of the season, the Israel Boutique offers unique and beautiful Chanukah Menorahs and gifts. The Menorahs are fit for lighting during the Festival of Lights, with each one connecting to the story of Chanukah in a unique way. 

ancient judea menorah


1. Jerusalem Stone Menorahs – These Menorahs’ unique designs and exquisite details are handcrafted from authentic Jerusalem stone. As the material from which the Holy Temple was built, this stone is a reminder of our eternal connection to Jerusalem. What better way to celebrate Chanukah and the victory of our return to the Holy Temple than with a Menorah made in the Holy Land from the same type of materials!  



rockets into roses menorah


2. Rockets into Roses Menorahs – Hand-sculpted works of art, fashioned by metal sculptor Yaron Bob, these Menorahs are made from actual rockets that landed in Israel. The artist has literally transformed instruments of death and weapons of war into meaningful objects of great beauty. This is exactly the message of Chanukah, on which we celebrate light and truth, and the defeat of the enemies.

 

 

jerusalem menorah coins


3. Jerusalem Menorah Coins – Jerusalem Coins are commemorative treasures crafted with uncompromising quality, elegance, and beauty. Depicting the seven-branched Temple Menorah on one side and the City of Gold and the Holy Temple on the other, this coin’s design tells the story of Chanukah’s miracles. After the Jews defeated the Greeks, they returned to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem where a miracle occurred. They found only enough oil to light the Menorah for one day, but the light burned bright for eight days!

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Menorahs- Chanukah Story and Traditions

Chanukah Story and Traditions

GreeksBackground 

During the Second Temple period, the Syrian Greeks infiltrated Israel and seized power. They tried to impose their cruel Hellenistic culture on the Jewish people, defiling every holy thing and forbidding Torah learning. Their goal was to eliminate the Jews’ connection to G-d and to indoctrinate the Jews with immoral values in a futile attempt to deny the existence of the Creator.

 This dubious plot began with prohibitions against keeping central laws of the Torah, such as study and circumcision. It ended with physical danger and desecration of the Holy Temple. Despite the Greek onslaught, a small group of courageous Jews known as the Maccabees emerged to fight for the survival of the Jewish people and their cherished Torah.

 Miracles

There were several special miracles that happened during this time, for which our Sages established the holiday of Chanukah. These days commemorate for all time the Jewish people’s eternal connection to G-d and our ability to choose the right path.

The military victory of just a few Maccabees over a huge, well-armed Greek army was the first miracle of Chanukah. Here, G-d delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the wicked into the hands of the righteous.

 

 Immediately after the military victory, the Jews returned to the Holy Temple only to find it defiled and completely desecrated. Wanting to rededicate the Temple in order to perform the daily services for which it was designed, the Jews needed to light the Menorah with oil certified as pure by the High Priest. While the Temple was horribly defiled, one vessel of pure oil was found among the ruins, which contained enough fuel for only one day. Miraculously, the Menorah stayed lit for seven additional days! This miracle provided the Jews with exactly the amount of time necessary to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the Menorah.   

Holiday Traditions 

In order to commemorate these miracles, Jews light their own mini Menorahs, called Chanukiyas, for eight nights each year. The lit Menorahs must be placed outside or adjacent to a window in order to publicize to the world the miracles that G-d did for the Jewish people.

 One the first night, one candle is placed to the Menorah’s far right. On each succeeding night one more candle is added. It is preferable to sit with the lit candles, studying Torah, singing songs, telling the Chanukah story, and relaying the personal miracles we have witnessed in our own lives. With each moment spent in front of the Menorah, we fulfill the commandment of the Chanukah lights!

Click here to see our beautiful Chanukah Collection of Menorahs and gifts.

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Menorah- Chanukah Insights

Deep Chanukah Insights

Temple MenorahAccording to the Talmud, the Sages instituted the celebration of Chanukah to commemorate an amazing miracle in the Holy Temple. After a bloody war in which the Greeks desecrated the Holy Temple and its sacred implements, there appeared to be no pure oil left to light the Menorah. While a vessel was eventually found, it was only sufficient for one day’s light. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days! 

What was it about this miracle that inspired our Sages to institute a special festival in its honor? Understanding the answer to this question requires a look at our rich history and the challenge the Jewish people faced during the Chanukah epoch. 

During this time, there was a fierce spiritual battle between the morally bankrupt Hellenistic philosophy and Judaism’s monotheistic values of kindness, peace, and human dignity.  This battle could not be fought with conventional tools alone. A special miracle was required. 

This miracle was sent in the form of the uncontaminated oil, which represented the Jewish soul’s pure essence and its unwavering loyalty to G-d. Only this oil could guide the Jews away from the poisonous Greek culture. Through this oil the Jewish people were able to literally and metaphorically rekindle the torch of Israel and reinstitute it as a light unto the nations. 

Chanukah MenorahOn a literal level, the miracle of Chanukah was that the Menorah’s flame actually burned for eight days. On a deeper level, the pure oil was no mere flash of light in a world of darkness or fleeting spark of Divine inspiration and closeness to G-d. Instead, the flame of Chanukah shed light for all generations. Each year, the Chanukah lights live on in the Jewish soul, long after the eight day festival concludes. 

In this way, Chanukah teaches us that a Jew’s soul is not bound by the rules of nature, which dictate that a spiritually inspired person’s soul can shine brightly, but only fleetingly. Indeed, when a Jew’s soul is inspired, no earthly force can still the fire. 

With this in mind, one question lingers. The Menorah stayed lit for eight days, but there was sufficient oil for one day, meaning that only seven days of light were miraculous. While that is true, we celebrate for eight days as an allusion to the very essence of the miracle itself. The number seven represents the aspect of existence we can actually touch, hear, smell, and feel, as manifested in the physical world that G-d created in seven days. The number eight, however, is one step further. It represents transcendence beyond the natural world. We celebrate Chanukah for a total of eight days, as an allusion to the fact that on Chanukah we experienced something supernatural – a taste of the spiritual world! 

With these lessons in mind we can more fully appreciate this amazing holiday, which inspires our infinite spiritual potential.

During these days, may the beautiful Chanukah lights inspire us to look within ourselves and go beyond nature to reach new spiritual heights. 

Click here to see our beautiful Chanukah Collection of Menorahs and gifts.