Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Hanukkah Menorah
Hanukkah, one of the most iconic and widely recognized Jewish holidays, will soon be upon us, starting at sundown on Thursday, December 7 and lasting eight nights. The most central Hanukkah ritual is the lighting of the menorah, and in turn, the menorah has become an essential and beloved piece of Judaica in Jewish homes all over the world, often decoratively displayed the rest of the year as well.
For more details on where the menorah comes from and the rituals of lighting one, check out our Hanukkah menorah 101 blog post!
Our store has over 200 Israeli-made Hanukkah menorahs, and to help you choose the right one for you, we've put together the below guide on everything you need to know and consider before buying one, including a breakdown of the main styles available.
What does a proper Hanukkah menorah look like?
Hanukkah menorahs, sometimes also called hanukkiahs or hanukkiot, have nine candleholders – eight that are of equal height and usually arranged in a single straight row, and a ninth candleholder for the shamash (helper candle) that is set slightly apart from the others, at a different height or off to the side. When lighting Hanukkah candles we start off with one candle in addition to the shamash, and on each night of the holiday we add another candle until all nine are lit on the last night.
As long as these specifications are met, Hanukkah menorahs can take many shapes – from traditional candelabras with curved branches or straight lines resembling an upside-down triangle, to low bases with candleholders in a straight line, to intricate brass boxes or creative, kid-friendly shapes.
How many branches does a Hanukkah menorah have?
The original menorah in the Temple whose miraculously long-lasting oil inspired Hanukkah had seven branches, but since the holiday is celebrated for eight nights, the 9-branch menorah was invented specifically for Hanukkah use, with nine candleholders.
Seven-branched menorahs also still exist today – but these are used for decorative purposes and are not actually for the holiday. When shopping for Hanukkah, be sure to browse under our Hanukkah menorahs category!
Choosing Hanukkah menorah materials
Hanukkah menorahs can be made out of any fire-safe material - and indeed, throughout Jewish history Hanukkah menorahs have utilized various creative materials!
Today you can get a beautiful Hanukkah menorah made out of metals like brass, nickel, aluminum, stainless steel, or sterling silver, or even ceramics or Jerusalem stone - there's something for every style and budget.
Lighting the menorah: Oil vs Candles
Do you prefer to harken back to the ancient Holy Temple and the miracle of oil by using an oil menorah? Or a candle menorah adorned with the more modern wax candles, which has been a classic Hanukkah look for generations? Oil cups can be less messy, especially our gelled versions that stay solid and don't spill, but candles can be more affordable and come in a wider variety of colors and patterns.
Either way is perfectly fine depending on your preference and can be a beautiful way of commemorating the Festival of Lights, and we carry menorahs that are designed for oil, candles, or both - as well as the appropriate gelled oil cups and candles themselves.
Where will your menorah be displayed?
There are different customs regarding where to place one's Hanukkah menorah - in a windowsill, near a doorway, on a table in central location in the home, or outside. Consider where you would like to place your menorah and how visible you'd like it to be when choosing the most suitable one for your home.
Should you get more than one Hanukkah menorah?
That's completely up to you and your family's traditions and preferences - some light one menorah on behalf of the entire household, while others hold by a custom of every member of the family lighting their own individual menorah. And many children particularly enjoy lighting their own, so check out our specially-made kids' menorahs!
There's also nothing against lighting more than one for yourself or your family, so you may want to consider beautifully adorning your windows with multiple menorahs if your budget allows it!
What style of menorah should you choose?
Today Hanukkah menorahs come in various shapes, sizes, materials, and styles, so depending on your taste and needs, there is something for everyone:
You can never go wrong with a classy, traditional Hanukkah menorah! Traditional menorahs often have curved branches atop a tall base with the shamash in the middle, or a rectangular line of candleholders set into a low base with the shamash candle raised either in the middle or to the side. Connect with your Jewish heritage through a traditional Hanukkah menorah, and have a timeless piece of Judaica to adorn your home!
If your taste is more contemporary, one of our trendy, modern Hanukkah menorahs is sure to appeal to your fashion-forward style! These exciting and cutting-edge designs are perfect for anyone who loves a bold look, and will stand out beautifully in your home while you carry on ancient Jewish tradition in a modern flavor.
While all of our products are made by Israeli artists and craftsmen, our designer Hanukkah menorahs are particularly luxurious and offer a high-end, unique way of celebrating your Hanukkah 2023 with the latest in contemporary Israeli style. Add one of these stunning pieces to your family Judaica collection, and connect with the Land of Israel through one of its renowned artists!
❤︎ We love this intricate klezmer-themed silver filigree Hanukkah menorah, handcrafted by Yemenite-Israeli designer Shoham Simchi, and this uniquely chic anodized aluminum menorah based on the Hebrew word "Hanukkah," designed by renowned studio Agayof.
In many homes, children help kindle the family menorah or even have their own individual one to light, and this beautiful tradition helps the younger generation connect to their Jewish heritage and foster a sense of Jewish pride. A great way to make this an even more engaging experience for the little ones is through a fun kids' Hanukkah menorah made in a special child-friendly design!
Looking for more inspiration to help you choose the perfect menorah for your home or as a gift for a loved one?