Moroccan Jewish Hanukkah History

The history the feast of Hanukkah celebrates the re-inauguration of the Temple in Jerusalem, after its liberation following the victory of the Maccabees against the Seleucids. According to the teaching of the Talmud, the victorious Judeans found only a small vial of pure olive oil to light the temple menorah. This vial, which normally only allowed one lighting for a day, "miraculously" lasted eight days, leaving enough time to supply pure oil.

The feast of Hanukkah also symbolizes the victory of light against darkness and obscurantism; every flame of every hanukkah is a light in the night.

In memory of the “miracle” of the little flask that burned for eight days, the hanukkah has eight branches of the same height. Another reason is given to the number of eight branches: this makes it possible to distinguish the hanukkah from the menorah because, according to the halakha, it is forbidden to reproduce identically the menorah as it was in the Temple, because of its holy character. .

The Hanukkah feast lasts eight days (counted from evening to sunset until the following evening when the stars emerge). Each evening, an additional light is lit on the hanukkah (one on the first evening, two on the second evening… eight lights on the eighth evening).

Each Hanukkah night, when the first stars are visible [1] the daylight is placed from right to left, with new light being added each day, and then lit from left to right (newest to oldest). These lights are left near the window to be visible from the outside, but it is prohibited to use them for lighting.

These lights are lit from the fire of the ninth branch, the shamash (servant in Hebrew).

We offer a selection of Moroccan Jewish Hanukkah Lamp Menorahs, sourced directly from southern Morocco. 

Article by Abdul of Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco.

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