Menorah :: The Hanukiah

menorah animated

The Hanukkah menorah is called a hanukiah and is a nine-branched candelabrum lit during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah. It is different from the seven-branched menorah used since Temple times. The hanukiah is a really important part of the tradition of Hanukkah. The seven-branched menorah is a traditional symbol of Judaism but the hanukiah is specific to the Hanukkah celebration and is representative of why we call the holiday “the festival of light”.

We place the candles in the hanukiah from the right to the left. On each night of Hanukkah a new branch is lit. We light the menorah from the left side to the right side and as we do, we say the blessings for the candles.

The ninth branch holds the helper candle, called the shamash or “servant” candle. It usually sits in the middle or on the left end. There are many different styles of menorot (plural for menorah). Some menorot are made for burning oil and some for candles.

To be considered kosher the shamash has to be higher than the other candles.