Menorah

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Yarmulke and Menorah from the Harry S Truman collection
The menorah (Hebrew: מנורה), is a seven branched candelabrum lit by olive oil in the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem. The menorah is one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish people. It is said to symbolize the burning bush as seen by Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25).

The Bible (Exodus 25:31-40) lists the instructions for the construction of the menorah used in the temple:
31 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made, even its base, and its shaft; its cups, its knops, and its flowers, shall be of one piece with it. 32 And there shall be six branches going out of the sides thereof: three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candle-stick out of the other side thereof; 33 three cups made like almond-blossoms in one branch, a knop and a flower; and three cups made like almond-blossoms in the other branch, a knop and a flower; so for the six branches going out of the candlestick. 34 And in the candlestick four cups made like almond-blossoms, the knops thereof, and the flowers thereof. 35 And a knop under two branches of one piece with it, and a knop under two branches of one piece with it, and a knop under two branches of one piece with it, for the six branches going out of the candlestick. 36 Their knops and their branches shall be of one piece with it; the whole of it one beaten work of pure gold. 37 And thou shalt make the lamps thereof, seven; and they shall light the lamps thereof, to give light over against it. 38 And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold. 39 Of a talent of pure gold shall it be made, with all these vessels. 40 And see that thou make them after their pattern, which is being shown thee in the mount.


The construction of the temple menorah was considered a religious order in Judaism.

Hanukkah

Main article: Hanukkah


The Menorah is also a symbol closely associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. According to the Talmud, after the desecration of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, there was only enough sealed (and therefore not desecrated by idolatry) consecrated olive oil left to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days which was enough time to get new oil as well as finish rebuilding the Temple. The Hanukkah menorah therefore has not seven, but nine candle holders. The eight side branches represent the eight-day celebration of the miracle of oil, while the central branch, called the "Shamash", is used to light the others. While this type of menorah is called a "hanukiah" in Modern Hebrew, it is also often called a "menorah" by non-Israeli Jews.

Origin

The Torah states that God revealed the design for the menorah to Moses. A plant that grows in Israel called the moriah typically has seven branches and resembles a menorah, leading to the theory that it provided the inspiration for its design. According to some readings, Maimonides stated that the menorah in the Temple had straight branches, not rounded as is often depicted.[1] Jewish depictions of the menorah dating back to Temple times, along with the depiction on the Arch of Titus showing the Romans taking the looted Menorah to Rome after the Temple's destruction, contradict this claim.
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Depiction of the Menorah on the Arch of Titus


A second theory to the origin of the design of the menorah is based on what is known about ancient Hebrew cosmology. According to this theory, the seven branches represent the seven heavenly bodies known at the time, namely the sun and the moon, as well as Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The Jewish historian Josephus alludes to this in the Third Book of his Antiquities of the Jews. In it, he identifies what he interprets as Egyptian and Greek pagan influences on the design of the Tabernacle and its contents. He writes:
"...for if any one do without prejudice, and with judgment, look upon these things, he will find that they were every one made in way of imitation and representation of the universe...and as to the seven lamps upon the candlesticks, they referred to the course of the planets, of which that is the number.... (Antiq. 3.6.7; 3.7.7)".


A third theory is that the menorah originated as the tree of life symbolizing the mother goddess Asherah.[2] In the Pentateuch, it has been purged of all polytheistic symbolism.

Fate

The fate of the menorah used in the Second Temple is recorded by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who states that it was brought to Rome and carried along during the triumph of Vespasian and Titus. A depiction of this event is preserved on the Arch of Titus that still stands today in Rome.

The menorah probably remained in the Temple of Peace in Rome until the city was sacked. The first sacking was by the Visigoths under Alaric I in 410 CE.

Alternatively, the menorah may have been looted by the Vandals in 455 CE, taken to their capital, Carthage. The Byzantine army under General Belisarius may have taken it back in 533 and brought it to Constantinople. According to Procopius, it was carried through the streets of Constantinople during Belisarius' triumphal procession. Procopius adds that the object was later sent back to Jerusalem. This may be a pious legend.

Modern use

Many synagogues display either a menorah or an artistic representation of a menorah. In addition, synagogues feature a continually-lit lamp in front of the Ark, where the Torah scroll is kept. Called the ner tamid, this lamp represents the continually-lit menorah used in Temple times. A menorah appears in the Coat of arms of the State of Israel.

In other cultures

The kinara is a seven-branch candleholder associated with the African American festival of Kwanzaa. One candle is lit on each day of the week-long celebration, in a similar manner as the menorah during Hanukkah.




The Jewish Legion cap badge: menorah and word קדימה Kadima (forward)

The Coat of Arms of Israel shows a menorah surrounded by an olive branch on each side and the writing "ישראל" (Israel)

Contemporary wall-mounted decorative synagogue menorah by Ascalon Studios

The Menorah intended for use in the Third Temple built by the Temple Institute


References

1. ^ The shape of the Menorah of the Temple (Avodah Mailing List. Volume 12: Number 065. Friday, December 26 2003)
2. ^ Asherah, the Tree of Life and the Menorah

See also

External links



Hanukiah, or Chanukkiyah, (Hebrew: חַנֻכִּיָּה‎, pl.
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Hebrew}}} 
Writing system: Alefbet Ivri abjad 
Official status
Official language of:  Israel
Regulated by: Academy of the Hebrew Language

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candlestick, chamberstick, or single candelabrum is a holder for one or more candles, used for illumination, rituals or decorative purposes.

Although electric lighting has phased out candles, candlesticks and candelabra are still used in modern homes as a
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Olive oil

Olive oil from Italy.

Fat composition

Saturated fats Palmitic acid: 7.5–20.0 %
Stearic acid: 0.5–5.0 %
Arachidic acid: <0.8%
Behenic acid: <0.3%
Myristic acid: <0.1%
Lignoceric acid:
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The Tabernacle is known in Hebrew as the Mishkan ( משכן "Place of [Divine] dwelling").
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Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Bet HaMikdash and meaning literally "The Holy House") was located on the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) in the old city of Jerusalem.
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The vernacular language of the home nation in the Diaspora, significantly including English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and
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burning bush is a miracle performed by God (YHWH) on Mount Horeb to inform Moses of his divine calling. God appeared to Moses from a bush which was aflame, but which was not consumed by the fire.
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Moses (Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה, Standard  
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Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt (1659)]] The Biblical Mount Sinai is an ambiguously located mountain at which the Old Testament states that the ten commandments were given to Moses by God.
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Tanakh
Torah | Nevi'im | Ketuvim
Books of the Torah
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חֲנֻכָּה or חנוכה
English translation: "Renewal/Rededication" (of the Temple in Jerusalem)
Festival of Lights, Festival of Dedication
Jews in Judaism
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The Talmud (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד) is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history.

The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (c.
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Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Bet HaMikdash and meaning literally "The Holy House") was located on the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) in the old city of Jerusalem.
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Hanukiah, or Chanukkiyah, (Hebrew: חַנֻכִּיָּה‎, pl.
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Tanakh
Torah | Nevi'im | Ketuvim
Books of the Torah
1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
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Moses (Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה, Standard  
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Moses Maimonides (March 30 1135 Córdoba, Spain – December 13 1204 Fostat, Egypt) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Andalusia, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages.
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Arch of Titus is a Pentelic marble triumphal arch with a single arched opening, located on the Via Sacra just to the south-east of the Forum in Rome. It was constructed by the emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus (born AD 41, emperor 79-81),
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Josephus (37 – sometime after 100 AD),[1] who became known, in his capacity as a Roman citizen, as Titus Flavius Josephus,[2] was a 1st-century Jewish historian and apologist of priestly and royal ancestry who survived and recorded the
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Antiquities of the Jews (Antiquitates Judaicae in Latin) was a work published by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus about 93-94 (cf. AJAXX.267, the overlap mentioned therein occurred from 1.9.93 to 14.3.94).
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The Tabernacle is known in Hebrew as the Mishkan ( משכן "Place of [Divine] dwelling").
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''For the small research submarine, see Asherah (submarine).
Asherah (from Hebrew אשרה), generally taken as identical with the Ugaritic goddess Athirat (more accurately transcribed as ʼ
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Josephus (37 – sometime after 100 AD),[1] who became known, in his capacity as a Roman citizen, as Titus Flavius Josephus,[2] was a 1st-century Jewish historian and apologist of priestly and royal ancestry who survived and recorded the
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Vespasian
Emperor of the Roman Empire

Bust of Vespasian
Reign 1 July, 69–23 June, 79
Full name Titus Flavius Vespasianus Caesar Augustus
Born 17 November 9(9--)
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Titus
Emperor of the Roman Empire

Colossal head of Titus (Glyptothek)
Reign 24 June, 79 –
13 September, 81
Full name Titus Flavius Vespasianus
Caesar Augustus
Born 30 November 39
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Arch of Titus is a Pentelic marble triumphal arch with a single arched opening, located on the Via Sacra just to the south-east of the Forum in Rome. It was constructed by the emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus (born AD 41, emperor 79-81),
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Nickname: "The Eternal City"
Motto: "Senatus Populusque Romanus" (SPQR)   (Latin)
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The Visigoths (Western Goths) were one of two main branches of the Goths, an East Germanic tribe (the Ostrogoths being the other). Together these tribes were among the loosely-termed Germanic peoples who disturbed the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period.
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