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The Chanukiyah

The ChanukiyahThe Chanukiyah

The traditional menorah, as detailed in Exodus 25:31-37, has seven branches, but the chanukiyah or Chanukah menorah is a nine-branched candlestick that relates specifically to the Jewish celebration of Chanukah, an eight day festival of lights. Chanukah (Hebrew for "dedication") is also known as the Feast of Lights or the Feast of Dedication, and it begins on the 25th day of Kislev (the third month of the Jewish year), usually around Yule. It commemorates the tradition of a miracle that occurred in 165BC after the defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes (c.215-164BC) by the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple at Jerusalem. On reclaiming the Temple, the victorious Maccabees found only a single day's worth of oil remaining for the Temple menorah, but this miraculously burnt for a full eight days. For this reason, the Chanukah menorah holds nine candles - one to represent each night of Chanukah and one, the central candle known as the shamash ("helper"), to light the others. Traditionally, the eight outer candles lie at the same height, with the shamash being a little higher or lower than the rest. The candles are placed in the chanukiyah from right to left but lit from left to right. They are enkindled just after twilight using the shamash and are allowed to burn for at least half an hour. As each candle is lit, a blessing is recited.