Hanukkah is a popular Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The festival is celebrated for eight days and is marked by the lighting of candles on a menorah. During Hanukkah, each candle is lit in a special way and each one has its own meaning. This article explains what each of the candles signifies.
The First Candle – The Shammash
The first candle is called the Shammash (servant) or the Shamash. Its special purpose is to light the other candles. It is usually of a different height or color to distinguish it from the other candles. This candle symbolizes the courage and determination of the Maccabees who were willing to sacrifice their lives to uphold their faith.
The Remaining Seven Candles
- The Second Candle is for the second day of Hanukkah and symbolizes the restoration of the Temple and the beginning of the rededication of the altar.
- The Third Candle is for the third day and symbolizes the continuing success of the Hebrews in their struggle.
- The Fourth Candle is for the fourth day and symbolizes the victory of the Maccabees over Antiochus and his armies.
- The Fifth Candle is for the fifth day and symbolizes the purification of the Temple and the reestablishment of the worship of God.
- The Sixth Candle is for the sixth day and symbolizes the rededication of the altar and the restoration of sacrifices.
- The Seventh Candle is for the seventh day and symbolizes the recommitment of the Jewish people to their faith and their devotion to God.
- The Eighth Candle is for the eight and final day and symbolizes the joyous renewal of spiritual and physical life.
The eight days of Hanukkah serve to remind us of the resilience and faith of the Maccabees and their victory over Antiochus and his armies. Each candle symbolizes a different aspect of this inspiring story. Lighting the candles each night serves as a reminder of the freedom of the Jewish people and of their unwavering faith in God.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.