Obj. ID: 37409
Sacred and Ritual Objects Hanukkah lamp, Alsace, circa 1850
The following description was prepared by William Gross:
The festival of Chanukah is celebrated in the winter period around December and commemorates a Biblical story in which the Jews of the Land of Israel rebel against the Greek occupiers. They reclaim the desecrated Holy Temple in Jerusalem and, miraculously, the small amount of pure oil remaining is enough to keep the Temple light going for eight days. Lamps with eight burners are lit during this holiday, both in the synagogue and at home. Through the centuries, such lamps have taken a wide variety of forms.
This Chanukah menorah is of a form unique to the area of Alsace and southern Germany. This unusual style has more than one set of burners, in this case two. It is said that this was created for a father and son to kindle the lights together from one lamp. The lamp is made of cheap metal and decorated with the symbols, in brass, of the sun, moon and stars, folk motifs which are found also on some of the very few existing menorahs of this type. There is also a removable drawer for catching any overflow of oil. Because the lamp is made of cheap material, very few of this type were saved, often being discarded and made anew the following holiday season.