Menorah For Dummies
The miracle of Chanuka occurred in the
holiest place on earth: in the Holy Land, in Jerusalem, in the Holy
Temple where G-d's Presence was revealed.
The miracle of the oil involved the menora, which in the times of the
Temple was lit specifically by a kohen. Nowadays, however, the mitzva of
lighting the menora is no longer expressly connected to the Temple, and
everyone, even a small child, may do so. We light the menora in our
homes, "at the entrance of the house facing outward," so that its light
can illuminate our surroundings.
G-d has given us a truly an amazing capability. Just think about it:
Everyone, not only a kohen, can transform his home into a Holy Temple by
lighting a Chanuka menora! By kindling the menora's lamps, which remind
us of the lights of the Temple that illuminated the entire world, we
suffuse our surroundings even in exile with holiness and purity.
Furthermore, the menora's light accompanies us throughout the year,
until the following Chanuka, when we can observe the mitzva anew.
Every year before lighting the first candle we recite the "Shehecheyanu"
blessing, "Blessed are You...Who has kept us alive and sustained us, and
allowed us to reach this time," thanking G-d for enabling us to perform
this mitzva and turn our own private homes in to Holy Temple. And when a
Jew transforms his home into a Temple, G-d does everything - even
performing miracles, if necessary - in order to enable him to continue
bringing light into his personal life and the world at large.