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http://myteacup.com/photos/_data/i/upload/2016/06/19/20160619070620-0e96c6b6-me.jpgThe Origins of the Menorah

By Uriel Sela | Submitted On February 21, 2011

What is the Menorah?

Menorah is a Hebrew word meaning lamp.

The original Menorah of the Temple in Jerusalem was a sacred candelabrum with seven branches that serves as the most common Jewish symbol to this very day.

Archaeological sites have uncovered artifacts such as early coins, pottery and jewelry decorated with images of the Menorah. The Menorah shape was also found set into mosaics in Northern Israel. There are Middle Eastern and European tombstones engraved with Menorahs.

Menorahs can also be found decorating innumerable objects such as doorways, walls, institutions and even stationary of important establishments nowadays.

The Mishkan Menorah

The first ever Menorah was created by Bezalel as related in the book of Exodus for the portable Temple, known as the Mishkan.
The Menorah was made of a single block of gold.
It had seven branches; a middle one and three on either side of it.
There is a difference of opinions among commentators of whether the side branches were curved or straight.
The Menorah was placed facing the table which held twelve show-breads.
The High Priest was responsible for the maintenance and lighting of the Menorah.
The Menorah was lit on a daily basis.

The Chanukah Menorah (or Chanukiya)

The Menorah has also come to represent Chanukah.
Chanukah is an eight day holiday and the Chanukah Menorah therefore has nine branches-one used to light the others and one for each day of the holiday.
The Chanukah Menorah is lit to celebrate the Maccabean victory over the Seleucids and to commemorate the miracle of oil that should have lasted for one day but lasted for eight. This happened after the Maccabean victory when they rededicated the Temple.The Maccabees found a single jug of oil. That jug, according to logic should have been enough for only one lighting of the Temple Menorah. A miracle occurred and the oil burnt for eight days.

After the Second Temple was destroyed the Menorah was seized by the Romans. As depicted on the Gate of Titus in Rome, the Jews were forced to carry the Menorah as a sign of their defeat.

Ever since the destruction of the Second Temple, the Menorah has become an important Jewish symbol. In light of its rich history and role as a reminder of the Temple days and of the redemption to come where we will merit to see the Third Temple this is unsurprising. It is both a symbol of history and of hope for a better future. It is therefore understandable that it is also a symbol of the modern State of Israel, which is viewed by amongst some circles of Jews as the beginning of the final redemption.

Ajudaica.com - An online Jewish gift shop where you will find selection of seven branch Hanukkah Menorah and related Jewish gifts.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Uriel_Sela/926807