Tall and beautiful, 7 branched or 9 branched, the Menorah, has been a Jewish symbol and part of Jewish traditions for centuries. Often decorated with 12 tribes of Israel, it is the central piece in a traditional Jewish home, alongside Shabbat candlesticks, Kiddush cups, mezuzah and havdalah set.
But, there is 7 branch and 9 branch menorah, so, which one is strictly to decorate your home as a symbol to the first Temple in Jerusalem and which one is destined for Hannukah, festival of light?
We know you are puzzled and not sure how to answer, so here is the ultimate menorah guide that will answer all your questions!
Consisting of seven branches, without Shamash, it is a symbol of the menorah once standing in Jerusalem’s temple. Back then, it was lit by the High priests, ‘Kohanim’, every evening, using oil to burn it.
The seven-branched candelabra stands for light, wisdom and divine inspiration, made from pure gold according to God’s command. The branches represent human wisdom, spreading divine inspiration throughout the world. The solid gold alludes to our behavior, guiding us to strive to behave in ‘pure golden’ manner and accept holiness in our lives. The seven branches stretch our as our behavior and good deeds must spread and reach out to others. A seven branch menorah must be part of every Jewish home and lit as sign of enlightenment and symbol to temple menorah.
9 Branch menorah
A Kosher Hanukah menorah is when 8 candle holders are in one line with a ninth Shamash, out of placed in height or position on the 9 branched menorah. This type of menorah holds a symbolic meaning as well. It is a symbol of the Hanukkah miracle, oil burning miracle that lasted for eight days instead of one.
Lighting Hanukkah menorah
During the eight days of Hanukkah, the entire family gathers up around the hanukkiah to light one candle. The lighting of each candle is done with the Shamash; therefore it should be lit first, and the rest of Hanukkiah should be lit from right to left. Picture your Chanukah menorah in silver or yellow gold, with colorful or white classic Hanukkah candles, what a sight.
Hanukkah is celebrated every year according to the Jewish calendar, from 25th of Kislev. This remarkable Festival of lights is family time, when the family is united around magnificent hanukiah lights, singing songs, eating latkes and remembering the marvelous miracles. While lighting the Chanukah menorah it is customary to sing Maoz Tzur song and other holiday songs.
Often made of silver, menorahs will always be part of Jewish life and traditions, discover more about silver judaica on our OyVey Jewish blog, and learn about shofars, how to blow them and their significance in Jewish holidays.