A golden Menorah, with six branches curving up from a central stem, was one of the furnishings in Moses' Tabernacle (Ex. 25:31-40, 37: 17-24). The branches and stem carried lamps which burned olive oil. Aaron lit them every evening, but at least one of the lamps burned perpetually (Lev. 24:1-4, Num. 8:1-4). In the First Temple there were ten menoros (1 Kings 7:49; 2 Chron. 4:7,20-21), in addition to the one made by Moses (Talmud Menachos 98b). There was one Menorah in the Second Temple (Ben Sira 26:17); when the Temple was recaptured and rededicated (Chanukah) by the Hasmoneans, it was remade
(1 Macc. 4:49-50, 2 Macc. 10:3). [The menorah that we light on Chanukah holds nine candles, because we light an additional candle on each of the eight nights of the holiday, plus one extra candle for illumination purposes (since we're not allowed to use the light of the Chanukah candles themselves); thus the Chanukah menorah does not resemble the ones in the Temple.] When the Second Temple was destroyed the Menorah was taken to Rome; it is depicted on
the Arch of Titus. Since that time it has been a standard Jewish symbol, and is now one of the emblems of the State of Israel. For more details about it and its history see the article Menorah in the Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 11, cols. 1355-1370.
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