WHAT IS HANUKKAH AND WHY DO WE LIGHT A MENORAH?
Menorahs Hold A Very Special Arrangement Of Nine Menorah Candles. Eight Of The Candles Are For Each Night Of Chanukah, And The Highest Candle, Known As The Shamash Or "Servant", Is Used To Light The Other Menorah Candles. Some Modern Followers Of The Jewish Religion Have Turned To Electric Menorahs, Which Use Light Bulbs Instead Of Candles, For Decoration Purposes.
Menorahs Play An Important Symbolic Role In The Celebration Of Chanukah. Over 2300 Years Ago In A Country Called Judea (Israel) There Lived Many Hebrew, Or Jewish People. There Also Lived A Very Wicked King, Antiochus, Who Ordered All The Jewish People To Give Up Their God, Religion, And Customs And Worship Only The Greek Gods. Jewish Temples Were Destroyed Or Used For His Purposes And Those Followers Who Would Not Worship How He Commanded Were Severely Punished.
After Years And Many Battles The Maccabees, Who Were Fighting For The Right Of Judaism, Overthrew The Wicked King And Took Back Their Temple. (Remember Chanukah/Hanukkah Means "Rededication.") Upon Finding Oil To Light The Lamps, They Realized There Was Only Enough To Light The Lamps For One Night. That Oil Miraculously Lasted Eight Nights! This Is Why The Menorah Has Eight Candles. Each Of The Menorah Candles Represents A Night That The Oil Kept The Lights Of The Holy Temple Burning.
On The First Night Of Hanukkah One Candle Is Lit And This Continues For Eight Days Until All Eight Candles Are Shining Brightly. Menorahs Remind People Of The Miracle That Happened. Long Ago Olive Oil Was Used, But Over The Years Colorful Jewish Hanukkah Candles Have Been Substituted.
In Israel, Menorahs Are Called Hanukiyahs. They Come In All Shapes And Sizes And Resemble The One Found In the Holy Temple. The Right Hanukkah Menorah Can Be A Family Heirloom That Survives Generations. Traditions Jewish Gifts Offers A Wide Selection, In Many Of The Popular Styles Including, Metal, Electric, Hand Made, For Kids And Battery Operated Menorahs.
HOW DO I LIGHT A MENORAH?
On Each Night Of Hanukkah You Start By Lighting The Shamash Candle, Which Is Always At A Different Height Than The Other Eight Candles On The Menorah.
On The First Night Of Hanukkah You Take The Lit Shamash And You Light The First Candle On The Far Right Of The Menorah.
On The Second Night You Place Two Candles On The Far Right Of The Menorah. Once You Light The Shamus You Will Light The Menorah From The Candle Closest To The Left And Then The Candle To The Right Of It That You Lit The Night Before.
Each Night An Additional Light Is Added To The Left Of The Light Which Had Been Lit On The Previous Night.
Candles Are Always Added From Right To Left, But The Actual Lighting Of The Candles Is Done From Left To Right.
WHAT BLESSINGS ARE SAID WHEN I LIGHT THE MENORAH?
On The First Night Of Hanukkah You Recite The Following Three Blessings Before Lighting The Menorah. On The Second Night And All Subsequent Nights After You Only Say The First Two Blessings.
THE FIRST BLESSING (RECITED ON ALL EIGHT NIGHTS OF HANUKKAH)
In Hebrew - Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam, Asher Kidshanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu L’hadlik Ner Shel Hanukkah.
In English - Blessed Are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler Of The Universe, Who Has Sanctified Us With Your Commandments And Commanded Us To Kindle The Lights Of Hanukkah.
THE SECOND BLESSING (RECITED ON ALL EIGHT NIGHTS OF HANUKKAH)
In Hebrew - Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam, She’asah Nisim L’avoteinu, B’yamim Haheim Bazman Hazeh.
In English - Blessed Are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler Of The Universe, Who Made Miracles For Our Forefathers In Those Days At This Time.
THE THIRD BLESSING (RECITED ONLY ON THE FIRST NIGHT OF HANUKKAH)
In Hebrew - Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Haolam, Shehekheyanu, V’kiyamanu Vehegianu Lazman Hazeh.
In English - Blessed Are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler Of The Universe, Who Has Kept Us Alive, Sustained Us And Brought Us To This Season.
2. Rocket Menorah
3. Stoli and Rye Menorah
4. Jonathan Adler Dachshund Menorah
SIZE: 20" L x 7" H.
5. Altoids tin Menorah
Nine hexnuts glued inside an empty Altoids tin = Travel Menorah. Or, a Curiously Tiny Menorah. You can’t get much easier. Or smaller for that matter. (EDIT: see smaller one here.) Mine is the classic Altoids size, and it holds—just barely—a row of birthday candles with the Shammash nearby.
I might have to name this a Mint-orah, although my gag reflex is already on the alert. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a Menorah-saur and a Men-armite and a Dorm-menorah and a Man-orah and my quickie Menurkey…
The Altoids tin menorah is inspired by the continuing search for the right hanukkiyah to mail my college freshman. I predict she will reject my LED Dorm-Menorah as being not quite to her taste, and frankly, it is too sincere for mine as well. I loved the Easter egg repurpose, but the final product is, well, pretty. We prefer funny or kitschy or weird or all three. Maybe if I hadn’t spray-painted the eggs and yardstick?
So, I’ll see if she wants this Altoids tin menorah. Definitely not kosher for a dorm with a “no open flame” policy, but these flames are so small and will burn so quickly that perhaps the RAs won’t notice?
And speaking of kosher, guess what? Altoids aren’t. (Gelatin, of course.)* But don’t worry, I boiled, roasted and flame-throwered this tin before converting it into a ritual object. Just kidding.
My treyfe tin doubles as candle storage. Ideally, all 44 Hanukkah candles would fit, ready for all eight nights, but alas, it holds but 35.
Altoids tin, the original size, about 3.75 inches wide
1/4″ hex nuts, 9 (bring a candle to the hardware store to fit!)
a washer or extra nut to elevate Shammash
Birthday candles (not Hanukkah candles, which are too wide)
A quick search online reveals no other Altoids menorahs except the fabulous olive oil version by the artist Ken Goldman, who also has cool printable “Jewish Contemporary Arts” on his website.
Altoids tins are famously adaptable. Many a Pinterest page (see this neat one) is devoted to the creative repurposing thereof.
*Sugar-free Altoids are supposed to be kosher (no gelatin, but perhaps no hecksher, either?), but as far as I know they only come in the “Smalls” tins, in which ordinary birthday candles would loom too large to fit in the requisite straight line. (EDIT: See my “Smalls” menorah here.)
BUT, my kosher friends, fear not, for we have a heckshered alternative: Rabbi Mints. Yes, certified kosher mints in a tin that appears to be a size similar to the iconic Altoids. I’m intrigued, but not enough to buy the minimum dozen online. Those of you luckies who live in the Jewier regions (here’s a list of vendors) can traipse down to the store and pick up a single tin. You have my blessing to make the first Rabbi Mint Menorah. Just post a picture on my fb page, please, because I want to see it.
KASHRUT: BURN TIME
Birthday candles don’t burn long enough to be “kosher” Hanukkah flames. The minimum burn time for candles and oil will differ according to one’s Authority, but most folks seem to say at least 30 minutes after sundown.
SAFETY FIRST: Never leave any lit menorah unattended. Always place a menorah on a nonflammable surface to catch any stray drips or fallen candles. If you are concerned about the safety of this or any menorah I’ve written about, do not make or use it. Try an LED tealight version (here and here) or flameless LEGO versions instead!
6. Lego Menorah
Until we kvetched (reacted not with joy). Something had gone horribly awry. One by one, our handmade hanukkiah dreams were shattered as it became clear that not all was kosher on this list of lights.
You see, there are specific laws that determine if a menorah is authorized for ritual use on Hanukkah. Most glaringly, the eight candles for the eight days must be arranged in a straight line.
So, just to be sure, we’re highlighting 18 menorahs found on the web and stamped the HuffPost Religion hekhsher (kosher symbol) of approval on the candelabra that meet all requirements.
Happy (Kosher) Hanukkah!
7. The Glittery Rhino Menorah
8. Menorah of PEZ Dispensers
R.I.P. Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).
9. Fish Head Menorah
I think I’ll stick to our traditional menorah this year. There's something "fishy" about this menorah.
10. Star Trek Menorah