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  September 18, 2014
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The Significance of the Menorah - Fun Hanukkah Activites for Friends and Family

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The Significance of the Menorah

The Menorah signifies the Feast of Lights which commemorates the miracle of the oil in which one day’s supply lasted eight days. Before Hanukkah begins, the Menorah is taken out as well as nine tapered candles. The ninth candle is normally set apart from the rest as it is a Shamash or master light used to ignite the other eight.

Simulating the miracle of the oil, it is recommended to use olive oil to light the candles. In addition, it is customary for the candles to burn for 30 minutes after they are lit at sundown and always in the presence of everyone in the home. However, there is one exception. The Menorah must be lit before sundown on a Friday afternoon.

Starting from the right, the first candle is inserted into the Menorah and lit with the use of the Shamash or ninth candle. After the Shamash candle is lit, the first two blessings are recited before the first Hanukkah candle is lit. In addition to the two blessings, there is a third which is only recited on the first night.

Similarly, on the second night, place two candles in the Menorah at the far right. Repeat the first two blessings after lighting the Shamash candle and then light the Hanukkah candles using the Shamash candle. Light the left-most candle first and then light in order, from left to right. This procedure is followed for each subsequent night of Hanukkah.

The Menorah is usually lit outside your home, to the left of your front door before entering. The Menorah can be placed in the window facing the front of the house. A third option is to light the Menorah on the dining room table, which is the center of activity as all family members gather for the celebration.

The tradition of lighting the Menorah is a custom in which Jews not only remember the victory over Antiochus and his suppression over the Jews but their restoration of the Holy Temple and the oil that burned for eight days, even though there was only enough oil for one.

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