menorah is the
official symbol of the Jewish nation
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 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
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.
Tips for Setting Up the Menorah
There are many traditions which are followed during the
period of Hanukkah. The setting up of the Menorah is no
exception. Here are some tips on where the Menorah
should be placed.
Traditionally, the Menorah should be set outside the
front door of your home facing the street. In addition,
it should be placed to the left of the doorframe or the
entrance to your home. However, if you do not have a
Mezuzah at your entrance door, then the Menorah should
be placed to the right of the doorframe.
Note, however, there are two customs for apartment
dwellers. The first indicates that the Menorah should be
lit in the communal area or by the door of the apartment
building. The second custom indicates the Menorah should
be lit inside the home at the right side of the window
facing the street. If that is not possible, then placing
it in the center of your table will suffice. The idea is
that the Menorah should be seen by the public or by
neighbors who pass by your door or building.
This then brings up the question: “Well if I live in an
apartment building, and everyone lights a Menorah
outside the building, how will anyone know who lit the
Menorah? The answer is a simple one. It doesn’t matter.
What matters is that the Menorah is placed in as many
locations as possible.
What if there are several people who live in one home
and wish to set up their Menorahs in a window? The
answer is that as long as the Menorahs are spaced apart,
that is, anyone passing by can see the lit candles, it
is perfectly acceptable to place Menorahs in a window.
The Menorah is symbolic of the miracle of the oil. When
Maccabee became victorious over the Greek ruler
Antiochus, he not only restored the Holy Temple which
was ruined in the war, but with one day’s ration of oil
he was only able to light the Menorah for one day. To
his amazement, the Menorah stayed lit for eight days.
Thus, the eight candles of light on the Menorah are a
reminder to all who observe Hanukkah that the Festival
of Lights reflects a miracle which occurred in the first