For generations, the menorah has served as a distinctive symbol of the Jews. It’s also the Western world’s longest-standing religious symbol. Many are fascinated with this type of lamp but don’t quite know what it is.
What You Should Know About Menorahs
A menorah is a unique candelabrum used in Jewish religious ceremonies. It has been a significant symbol throughout Israel’s history. The word ‘menorah’ is derived from a Hebrew term which means ‘to glow.’
Menorahs may contain seven or nine branches that hold candles. During ancient times, the seven-branched menorah was illuminated daily in the Tabernacle and later in the Jerusalem temple. As recounted in the Hebrew Bible, this kind of menorah didn’t have candles but rather was composed of seven oil lamps.
The menorah with nine branches represented the miraculous light that illuminated the Temple of Jerusalem for eight days after the Maccabean Revolt. Nowadays, menorahs with nine branches are commonly seen during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which takes place in late autumn or early winter. A Hanukkah menorah is also called a hanukkiah.
The hanukkiah is reserved for Hanukkah candles alone. It has one candle branch for each of Hanukkah’s eight days and another one for the shamash or ‘assistant candle,’ which is used to ignite the other candles.
Regardless of the distinctions, hanukkiahs are often referred to as menorahs these days. To put it simpler, hanukkiahs are a particular kind of menorah. All hanukkiahs are menorahs, but not all menorahs are hanukkiahs.
Can You Make Your Own Menorah?
The menorah is undeniably a significant symbol during Hanukkah’s eight-day celebration. However, just because it’s a generations-old custom doesn’t imply that your menorah must be antique or traditional. You can certainly make your own candle holder. Do-it-yourself menorahs are easy to create, and the act of doing so is a wonderful way to celebrate the Hanukkah miracle.
How To Make A Menorah
A menorah doesn’t need to be elaborate or even shaped like a candelabra. You’re not even required to attach the nine lamp holders together. All you have to understand are the following fundamental rules:
- The eight primary lights must be aligned in a single direction, at the same level, or on a consistent diagonal line.
- The ninth assistive light or the shamash must be immediately identifiable. It’s often positioned in the middle or at the end of the row. Nevertheless, it should be higher or lower than the others.
- Preferably, place the menorah by a window where it it’ll be visible to passersby.
You can make a menorah using different materials, even with those you can easily find in your household. Here are some menorah ideas you may love:
- Wine Bottle Menorah
Making a menorah from used bottles is an economical way to go. Find eight used wine or other narrow-neck bottles that are all the same height. Also, find one that’s different from the eight. Peel off the tags and rinse with soapy water to remove any sticker residue. You can also paint them in your preferred colors.
You may now insert candles into the necks of the bottles. You could also partially fill them with water, put olive oil on top, and suspend a cotton wick in the oil. If using candles, put a non-flammable tray under them to collect any drips.
- Hardware Store Menorah
Who’d have guessed you could get Hanukkah ornaments at a hardware shop? You can make a personalized menorah using wood planks and a handful of nuts. These items are readily available at hardware stores.
Start by placing eight nuts in a continuous line, making sure there’s enough space for the final nut. Attach each nut to the wood plank using glue. Allow them to dry. You’ll use the final nut to hold the shamash. Because this candle will be used to ignite all candles, it must be distinct from the others. You can stack another nut onto the ninth one to raise the shamash.
- Terra-Cotta Pot Menorah
Even if you’re not crafty, having nine tiny plant pots will allow you to create a simple yet lovely menorah arrangement. Fill the small terra-cotta pots with sand, and then place them in the corners of the window. Be sure to use wide-mouthed pots to prevent drips from candles from falling onto the surface. To stabilize the candles, place tiny candle holders beneath the sand.
In ancient times, the seven-branched menorah was the primary source of light in the Temple of Jerusalem. The word ‘menorah’ is also the Hebrew term for ‘lamp.’ The menorah continues to hold great significance in contemporary Judaism, both as a symbol of God’s limitless light and as a major element in ceremonial activities during Hanukkah.
If you don’t have one at home but are in need of it, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to create your own menorah using easy-to-find materials. However, see to it that you adhere to the rules mentioned above so you can do everything correctly and achieve a proper outcome.