Ancient Jewish History The Menorah

The lamp stand in todayssynagogues, called thener tamid(lit. the continual lamp; usually translated as the eternal flame), symbolizes the menorah.

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It has been said that the menorah is a symbol of the nation of Israel and its mission to be a light unto the nations. (Isaiah 42:6). The sages emphasize that light is not a violent force; Israel is to accomplish its mission by setting an example, not by using force. This idea is highlighted in the vision of the Prophet Zechariah who sees a menorah, andG-dexplains: Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit. (Zechariah 4:1-6)

The nine-branched menorah used onChanukahis commonly patterned after this menorah, because Chanukkah commemorates the miracle that a days worth of oil for this menorah lasted eight days.

The menorah in the First and SecondTempleshad seven branches. After the Temples were destroyed, a tradition developed not to duplicate anything from the Temple and therefore menorahs no longer had seven branches. The use of six-branched menoras became popular, but, in modern times, some rabbis have gone back to the seven-branched menoras, arguing that they are not the same as those used in the Temple because todays are electrified.

One of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith is the menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum used in theTemple.

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Ancient Jewish History: The Menorah

Thekohanimlit the menorah in the Sanctuary every evening and cleaned it out every morning, replacing the wicks and putting fresh olive oil into the cups. The illustration feautred on this page is based on instructions for construction of the menorah found inExodus 25:31-40.

Sources:Judaism 101The Jewish Book of Why

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