Project Genesis

The Calendar and Holidays (incl. Sabbath)


Chanukah Candles

Question: What do the candles of chanukah stand for? Whats do the colors stand for and how many colors are there?

Answer: Thank you for your question. The candles of Chanukah represent the building of one’s spirituality over time. If you are familiar with the story of Chanukah you know that after the Greeks destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem the Jews found a flask of oil that miraculously lasted for 8 days instead of its intended 1 day. We light a candle each night adding up to 8 at the end of the holiday to remind us of the miracle, but also, on a much deeper level, to remind us of our spiritual potential that should be growing coninuously throught our lives. As Chanukah ends on the 8th night we are sad to see it go, but are happy that we see our potential in front of us in the form of the chanukah lights.

There is nothing that I am aware of about colors of lights. Traditionally, we use oil for lighting the menorah, and some use candles, but the color of the candle is irrelevant to the holiday. Using oil, which is colorless, is the best because it reminds us of the miracle.

Rabbi Gershon Litt

1 Follow-up »

  1. Our small town on the west coast of Florida is slowly becoming more diverse. They have a display of several religious items in the downtown area for the December Holidays. The menorah that is displayed has 3 candles on either side of the shamus. Is this correct? We always thought that the menorah had 4 candles on each side.

    Thanks for asking this great question. The menorah that you see is in fact the way that the menorah really did look like. However, the candelabra that we light on Chanukkah is not a menorah, but rather it is a Chanukiah. The Chanukiah has 4 on each side and is different than the menorah that was lit in the temple.

    I hope that this helps.

    Be Well,
    Rabbi Litt

    Comment by ATR — December 7, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

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