Candles Dripless

By admin  

Almost all Jewish families throughout the world celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah which takes place for 8 days during the Jewish month of Kislev. There are a number of traditions that coincide with this holiday the most popular being the lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah or “Hanukkia” as it is called in Hebrew.

First of all, the Hanukkia is lit during each night of the Hanukkah, preferably at sundown. The first night one begins by lighting the “shamash” – the extra candle used to light the others, and one candle put in on the far right of your menorah. The second night one lights the shamash and two candles, the next night three, and this is how it goes until the last night when all eight candles plus the shamash are burning.

Candles vs. Oil

Most people use candles in their Hanukkiot and these days they come in many beautiful shapes, sizes and colors. I recommend “dripless” candles that make less of a mess on your table and don’t ruin your Hanukkia. Even the dripless candles sometimes drip and it can be a messy business. I recommend putting aluminum foil underneath your Hanukkia while it is lit, and be very careful as they are being lit – I suggest lighting together WITH your child if he or she is young. Never place your Hanukkia near a curtain and make sure the table they are on is stable.

If you want a more authentic candle lighting experience, you should buy a Hanukkia that can use oil. This is the way Hanukkiot have been lit in the past two thousand years since the Macabees and many traditional Jewish homes, especially in the orthodox world still use oil. In Israel it is a tradition to put one’s Hanukkia in a glass display box outside on the street to publicize the Hanukkah miracle. This is part of the mitzvah of lighting the Hanukkia. Oil (most use olive oil) burns longer than candles, but it is a bit messy. Make sure you give yourself room to work and also put aluminum on the table under your Hanukkia. Some Jewish shops sell little glass containers with the oil and wicks already prepared. These cost more than doing it yourself, but it is much cleaner.

Once you decide if you want to light candles or oil you can go searching for the right Hanukkia. One suggestion is to find one that can hold both oil and candles. If you are buying a Hanukkia for a religiously observant Jew you should note that not all menorahs on the market are “kosher”. In order to be kosher, the Hanukkia has to have all of the candles in a straight line and on the same level (the shamash is usually elevated in the middle or side).

There are many types of Hanukkiot available on the market and are made out of every conceivable object. A friend of mine has made 200 different Hanukiot from materials ranging from toy cars, to nuts and bolts. Many people like to buy them made out of silver for a classic look, but these need to be polished.

I prefer a more modern look such as the colorful-painted wooden designs of Israeli designer Yair Emanuel. He makes several kinds of Hanukkiot, some are suitable for children, some for wedding gifts, such as the Chagall design, and others are good for any family.

The cast stone designs by Shulamit Kanter are another personal favorite. They have a very elegant and Israeli look to them. They come in many different patterns from pomegranates to simple mosaic designs.

Stained glass artist Mirry Reich also makes menorahs which are beautiful to use during Hanukkah. They also make gorgeous decorations in the house during the rest of the year – especially put in a place where the light can shine on them.

All of these artists have created Menorahs that can be used either with candles or with oil. Remember, when you are buying a beautiful piece of Judaica you should take good care of it so that you can use it for many years and display it in your home all year. They are an especially great gift for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or for a Jewish wedding.

Happy lighting!

Brenda Ganot is the creator of Jewish-art-and-gifts.com a website offering beautiful and meaningful Jewish gifts from Israel for every occasion. She has a successful shop and gallery in Israel and has also held over 10 successful roadshows all over the US selling Judaica, art and jewelry from Israel. She loves to help people pick the right gift for the right occasion, saving them time and effort. To take a look at the items she sells go to her website at: http://www.jewish-art-and-gifts.com

Candles Dripless
Candles Dripless

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