Teaching Students About Jewish Menorah

The Jewish Menorah is a powerful symbol of Judaism and has a rich history behind it. Teaching students about this significant symbol can help them develop an understanding of Jewish culture, beliefs, and history. In this article, we will explore the best methods for teaching students about the Jewish Menorah and its importance within the Jewish faith.

1. Start with the History

Begin your lesson by explaining the origins of the Menorah. In Jewish tradition, it all started with a command from God to Moses in the wilderness. Describe how God instructed Moses to build a seven-branched menorah made of gold to be placed in the Tabernacle as a symbol of divine presence.

Moreover, outline how the modern menorah used during Hanukkah, known as Hanukkiah or Chanukiah, ultimately evolved from this original concept. Explain that it has nine branches instead of seven and is lit during Hanukkah in commemoration of the miracle of light when a single day’s supply of oil lasted eight days during the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

2. Highlight the Symbolism

Explain the symbolic meaning behind various aspects of the Menorah. Discuss how its seven branches represent wisdom, understanding, knowledge, love, strength, beauty, and reverence for God. The middle branch is called ‘Shamash’ which means ‘helper’ or ‘servant,’ and it is used to light all other branches. When discussing Hanukkah Menorah, clarify that its eight candles stand for the eight miraculous days mentioned earlier, with an additional candle reserved for Shamash.

3. Show Examples and Images

Visual aids can be an effective way to teach students about complex subjects such as this one. Provide examples or images of different types of Menorahs throughout history – from ancient Israelite versions found in archaeological digs to the golden menorah resizing in the Holy Temple or more contemporary glass or metal menorahs. Additionally, consider showing pictures or videos of the Menorah-lighting ceremonies during Hanukkah.

4. Engage in Hands-On Activities

Practical activities can help students understand and remember new information more effectively. For example, you could organize a workshop where students create their own simple Menorahs using craft materials. Alternatively, invite a local Rabbi or Jewish community leader to your class to demonstrate the proper way to light a Menorah during Hanukkah.

5. Encourage Further Research and Discussion

Invite students to research various aspects of the Menorah and its role in Jewish culture further. They might explore topics such as its connection to other cultures’ symbolism, variations in design throughout history, or how it has been used as both a religious and political symbol. Encourage students to share their findings and engage in thoughtful discussions about what they learn.


Teaching students about the Jewish Menorah is an excellent opportunity to enrich their understanding of Judaism, its culture, and history. By focusing on the history, symbolism, visual examples, hands-on experiences and encouraging research and discussion, you will create an engaging and memorable learning experience for your students.

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