Thursday, December 18, 2014

Oh Chanukah oh Chanukkiah

No, I didn't spell the name of the holiday wrong- I'm just obsessed with the fact that we don't light Menorah's we light Chanukkiah's.  To clarify- a Menorah has 7 candles total, 6 on each side and one in the middle.  It was what was used in the Temple to light up the space, and created the concept of the Eternal Flame we see in synagogues today.  The story of Chanukah is that the Temple was defiled and desecrated by Antiochus.  So, a bunch of Jews named the Maccabees decided to make a stand and take the temple back.  My mom always commented that this was the first fight for religious freedom.  My husband says the Maccabees were terrorists...but moving on...

Once they won the fight with Antiochus and reclaimed the temple mount, they discovered that all of the holy oil had been desecrated.  It takes 8 days to make new oil.  Somewhere, someone found a single flask of pure oil, and they used that to light the Menorah for the first time.  However, a great miracle happened there and the oil remained lighting the Menorah for eight days, until we could make and purify new oil.

So, when we talk about Chanukah, we are commemorating that there were eight days of light with a special candleabra made for the occasion.  I have no idea when we started to just call it a Menorah, I wish I knew.  My understanding is that in Israel a Menorah just means a lamp, and the Chanukkiah (the actual word) was created by Eliazer Ben YEhuda.

So, enough of the history lesson- on to the Chanukkiah

Around our house there is a Chanukkiah everywhere you look practically.  And that's not including the ones we are actually using candles on. 

It's tradition to have your Chaukkiah by the front door, or by a window so that those who are passing by can share in it's light.   We used to do this (see evidence of previous years below), but since we've moved EG's playspace to this area, it didn't seem like a great place for a Chanukkiah.

So we've put up a sticky window Chanukkiah instead.  We have two of them, one on the front window and one on the back

Next we have the two ultimate child friendly Chanukkiahs.  One was a gift from Auntie Lezlie to EG last year, though she's only really old enough for it this year.  The other is a great find from Target.  They have similar ones at Pottery Barn.  Those two stores are my favorite place for Chanukah items.  They really go all out and include the holiday in their offerings...

Anyways, the wood one has numbers, and you turn the numbers around to reveal the flames.

This one has small felt soft candles that you stick into each of the different holes at the top.  Unfortunately it has each candle numbered, which EG can't do right now.  So, I let her choose the candle to add to the Chanukkiah, then when she goes to bed I fish out the right one.  Yup, that's right folks, I undo her hard work and do it again myself.

 The last Chanukkiah that we have is probably my personal favorite.  That's because it was made with extreme care and love by my Sister-in-Law for EG last year.  And it's absolutely wonderful. I couldn't ask for a better SIL, and this is just one of the many ways she proves that!  It's made like a felt board, and is really fun for EG. It's hanging in her playspace, so she has easy access to it.

You may be wondering about why we are lighting the candles what will probably seem to be backwards.  Here's a little infographic on that...  From Chai & Home, a blog I really like.  It's also incredibly accurate, which is a nice touch as well.

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