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"Hanukiah" or "Menorah"? Are they the same thing?

by Rabbi Simcha Bart

  

Library » Holidays » Chanukah » About | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Menorah is the Hebrew term for any manmade light source such as a candelabrum, for example. When Modern Hebrew came about, the term Menorah was used for any light source including electric room lighting. So the term Hanukiah was invented to differentiate between a common household electric lamp and the Chanukah Menorah.

In the Diaspora, where Hebrew isn’t the vernacular and this isn't an issue, the word Menorah is used almost exclusively to describe The Temple Candelabrum of seven branches, and the eight-branch one we light on Chanukah.


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Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Menorah
Candelabra. Usually a reference to the nine-branched candelabra kindled on the holiday of Chanukah.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.