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The History of the Menorah

Each year during Hanukkah, Jews across the world light a menorah, an eight-pronged candelabra. The origin of the tradition is somewhat mysterious, but the Talmud explains that it is meant to mark the miracle that occurred during the rededication of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus, when a one-day supply of oil lasted eight days. The earliest menorahs were made of clay or stone, with metal versions showing up during Talmudic times. In the 13th century, menorahs featuring an ornate backwall and a space for a ninth candle used to light the others, called a shamash, began to show up. Today, the tradition of lighting the menorah during Hanukkah continues to bring light to Jewish homes all over the world.

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