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    Group29 Discussion Board :: View topic - The Menorah: seven or nine candlestick branches?
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    Group29 Discussion Board Forum Index -> Group29 General -> The Menorah: seven or nine candlestick branches?
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    The Menorah: seven or nine candlestick branches?
    PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 8:08 am Reply with quote
    Joined: Jun 23, 2004
    Posts: 340


    Does the Menorah have seven candlesticks or nine candlesticks? There are actually two kinds.

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

    (The arch of Titus in Rome, which commemorates the sack of the Jerusalem Temple in 70AD, shows a seven branched menorah being hauled away as part of the booty.)

    Seven Branched

    The Menorah that was the centerpiece of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem had seven branches. This is not to be confused with the nine branch Menorah used to celebrate Chanukah. Specifications and instructions for the making of the Temple Menorah are recorded in Exodus 25:31-40. The golden candlestick had seven bowls on the end of the branches containing pure oil for the light. Twenty-two almond blossoms decorated the whole piece which was hammered out of one talent of pure gold equivalent to 34 Kg. or 75 pounds! The Menorah was the only light that lit up the Tabernacle as there were no windows. The seven lamps filled with oil are a witness to perfect light. This fullness of light is described in the prophecy concerning the Messiah of Israel in Isaiah 11:2: "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord."

    Nine Branched

    Chanukah is observed for eight days and it commemorates the historic victory of the Maccabeans following a three-year long uprising against the ruling Syrian-Greek regime and their Jewish Hellenistic supporters who conspired to impose restrictions against Jewish religious practices and values. The struggle culminated with the recapture of the Temple in 165 B.C. and the restoration of its traditional Jewish service. The victory also restored Jewish political sovereignty over the land. Chanukah means "Dedication" and refers to the rededication of the Temple to the service of God after it had been defiled with pagan images. The Talmud explains that after the Syrian-Greeks defiled the Temple, only one small undefiled jug of oil for the Menorah still bearing the seal of the High Priest could be found. The cruse only contained enough oil to burn for one day. Nevertheless, the High priest kindled the Menorah and a miracle happened: The Menorah flame continued to burn for eight days! To commemorate the event, it was decided that henceforth, the holiday would be observed annually by kindling one new light each day for eight days. Thus Chanukah became known as the Feast of Lights. The Chanukah Menorah has nine branches, eight to commemorate this eight day feast. The middle stem making it a total of nine branches is called the "Shamash" and is used to light the other candles.
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    The Menorah: seven or nine candlestick branches?
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