The school I attended from first through eighth grade, South Area Solomon Schechter Day School (SASSDS), was amazing.  I loved it.  My friends were great; my classes were great; my teachers were great; everything was great.

   My sister and two brothers also attended that school, and recently, while cleaning out a cabinet in the dining room of our house, my youngest brother discovered a Chanukia that he created several years ago there.  It’s a nostalgic piece of Schectorobilia.  Take a look:


Very nice.  Very damaged.  Very clearly done by a child who couldn’t stay within the lines.

    There is one serious problem with this Chanukia… Can you spot it?

(by the way, the difference between a Menorah and Chanukia is that…

  • a regular Menorah holds seven candles and is a powerful symbol of Judaism.
  • a Chanukia (or Chanukah Menorah) holds eight candles plus the Shamash (for a total of nine candles), and is lit on Chanukah.  Each candle (not including the Shamash), represents one day of the eight-day long miracle of Chanukah.  This miracle occurred in the Temple in Jerusalem during the time of Judah the Maccabee.  After the Romans desecrated the Temple, there was enough oil to last only one day, and miraculously, that one-day’s worth of oil lasted a full eight days!

…that is the difference between a Chanukia and a Menorah)

   Back to the problem… were you able to see it? 

  Okay, here is the issue:  It’s made of wood!  How often do you see items that hold fire and candles made of wood?  NEVER.  Why not?  Because it’ll inevitably catch fire or Chanukiaburn2at least burn itself.  So, to the teacher at Schechter that had my brother make a wooden Menorah: “That was a crazy move.  You are crazy.”

   As evidenced by the picture, someone in my family lit this piece of Chanukah insanity and the Shamash holder inevitably burned.  Since the first two days’ holders are missing and the third day’s isn’t burnt at all, we can deduce that whomever lit this Chanukia learned his or her lesson pretty quickly, on the first or second day.  We are lucky the house didn’t burn down.  That would not have been good. 

So, the morals of this post?

  • The difference between a regular Menorah and a Chanukia is important.
  • Do not start a fire on or in a wooden object.
  • Do not build a fire-holder out of wood.

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Leave a Comment!...1 comments »


  1. Anonymous // January 31, 2009 at 8:26 PM  

    haha, good lesson. i can't believe a teacher had him make that! she should have made warning stickers and put them on the menorahs!