An­swers to all those burn­ing ques­tions

The Jewish Chronicle - - JC SPECIAL - BY DANYA KAY

WHAT IS THE DIF­FER­ENCE BE­TWEEN A CHANU­CIAH AND A MENO­RAH?

“Meno­rah” is He­brew for a can­de­labrum with any num­ber of branches, while “chanu­ciah” refers specif­i­cally to the nine-branched can­de­labrum used dur­ing the fes­ti­val of Chanu­cah.

WHAT DO BOTH REP­RE­SENT?

The meno­rah is one of the old­est sym­bols in Ju­daism, dat­ing to the time of the first tem­ple in Jerusalem.

In those days the meno­rah was lit daily, us­ing fresh, con­se­crated olive oil. It was al­lowed to burn through the night, with at least one lamp kept burn­ing through the day.

Af­ter the de­struc­tion of the holy tem­ple in the sec­ond cen­tury BCE, the Mac­cabees re­turned to reded­i­cate the tem­ple and found enough oil for only one night. But a mir­a­cle hap­pened and the oil lasted for eight nights. The eight branches of the chanu­ciah rep­re­sent this mir­a­cle.

A meno­rah tends to have seven b r a n c h e s a n d n o s h a m a s h (He­brew for “helper” or “s e r v a nt” ; the can­dle used to light the oth­ers). It has come to be a sym­bol of the Jewish faith. The ner tamid (ev­er­last­ing light) in a syn­a­gogue rep­re­sents the meno­rah from the orig­i­nal tem­ple. There are also menorot placed in sy­n­a­gogues as ornaments, as they are beau­ti­ful deco r a t i o n s and re­mind the Jews of the tem­ples that were de­stroyed. A kosher chanu­ciah is Brass bird by Jonathan Adler, £265 con­sid­ered to be eight can­dles in a line and the ninth out of place, ei­ther at a dif­fer­ent height from the other can­dles or in a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion. They can come in all shapes and sizes, as long as there are eight can­dles at the same height and in line with each other with a ninth mis­aligned.

HOW AND WHEN IS A CHANU­CIAH LIT?

The chanu­ciah is lit each night, at sun­set. The shamash is kin­dled first; bless­ings are re­cited and then the shamash is used to light the cor­rect num­ber of can­dles for the num­ber of nights, mov­ing from right to left.

WHO LIGHTS IT?

The chanu­ciah can be lit by any man, woman or child in the house­hold. It’s a mitz­vah for ev­ery­one to light one. It is cus­tom­ary for there to be more than one chanu­ciah at a gath­er­ing, to give ev­ery­one a chance to light a can­dle, per­form a mitz­vah, re­mem­ber the mir­a­cle and enjoy the fes­ti­val of lights.

HOW DO I GET THE MOLTEN WAX OFF MY CHANU­CIAH?

You can min­imise the prob­lem by us­ing non-drip can­dles such as those from Safed. At £8 for a pack last­ing eight nights, they are slightly more ex­pen­sive than or­di­nary can­dles but worth it. They come in blue/white, multi-coloured and plain white.

Whether us­ing non-drip can­dles or not, it is wise to place your chanu­ciah on a tray, sil­ver foil or glass sur­face.

Al­ter­na­tively, con­vert to oil. You can buy oil cups, wicks and oil or pre-filled cups.

Chanu­ciot made from cast iron, stain­less steels and met­als and all the pop­u­lar an­odised alu­minium ones can with­stand boil­ing wa­ter straight from the ket­tle, which will shift wax. How­ever, do check the care in­struc­tions, or ask the artist or sup­plier first. And be care­ful not to scald your­self.

WHAT DO I DO WITH THE CHANU­CIAH FOR THE OTHER 51 WEEKS OF THE YEAR?

Botan­i­cal leaf chanu­ciah by Michael Aram, £175 At Con­tem­po­rary Ju­daica, we be­lieve in “mean­ing­ful art for the home”. A chanu­ciah should be dis­played all year around, as some­thing you love to look at for its aes­thetic value — not some­thing that is just dusted off once a year when the fes­ti­val comes around.

Even the more tra­di­tional branched shapes have a con­tem­po­rary el­e­ment to them but they are rem­i­nis­cent of the meno­rahs we see in an­cient sculp­ture and mo­saic.

There is a clear tra­di­tional in­flu­ence, for ex­am­ple, on the cast-iron chanu­ciah by Josh Owen, the botan­i­cal and the pomegranate chanu­ciot by Michael Aram and the con­tem­po­rary branched chanu­ciah by Nambe.

There are also fun and quirky de­signs for all the fam­ily to enjoy, such as the bright or­ange Lucite chanu­ciah and my favourite, the ce­ramic ele­phant by Jonathan Adler.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.