THE ORIGINS OF THE MENORAH
THE ORIGINS OF THE MENORAH WHAT IS THE MENORAH?
Menorah is a Hebrew word which denotes a lamp. The authentic Menorah of the Temple from Jerusalem was a religious candelabrum that had 7 branches which served as the most typical Jewish symbol which is prominent even today. Many archaeological sites have unveiled artifacts like pottery, jewelry and coins, all adorned with the images of the Menorah. The Menorah was also found set in the mosaics in Northern Israel. There are European and Middle Eastern tomb stones engraved with Menorah. Menorahs can also be seen decorating the umpteen number of objects such as the institutions, doorways, walls and in fact the stationary of the important establishments these days.
THE MISHKAN MENORAH
- The very first Menorah was crafted by Bezalel for a portable temple called as Mishkan.
- This one was made using a single block of gold.
- It had 7 branches – one in the middle and three on either side of it.
- There is a certain difference of opinion amongst the commentators on whether these branches were straight or curved.
- The high priest here is responsible for catering to the lighting and the maintenance of the Menorah.
- This was placed facing the table that had twelve show-breads.
- It was lit on everyday basis.
THE CHANUKAH MENORAH (OR CHANUKIYA)
- Menorah also represent the Chanukah.
- Chanukah is an eight day holiday. This is the reason why the Chanukah Menorah has nine branches – one (total eight) for each day and the ninth is the helper candle that is used to the light the other eight.
- The Chanukah Menorah is lit to celebrate the victory of Maccabean over Seleucids and to commemorate the miracle of the oil that was enough to only last for a day but miraculously it lasted for eight days. This happened post the Maccabean victory when the temple was re-dedicated. Maccabees discovered one jug of oil. Practically speaking, the jug was only enough for one lighting of the Temple Menorah. A miracle occurred and the oil lasted for eight days. Once, the second temple was destroyed, the Menorah was captured by the Romans. As seen in the the Rome’s Gate of Titus, the Jews were actually forced to hold with them Menorah as a sign of their defeat. Since then Menorah has become a pivotal Jewish symbol. In light of the opulent history and as a role reminder of the temple days and the redemption to come where we will merit to see the Third Temple this is unsurprising. It is not just a symbol of history but is also a hope for a more prosperous and better future. This is very well understandable from the fact that Menorah is also a symbol of the modern State of Israel which is seen amongst some circles of Jews as the commencement of the last and final redemption.
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