What Makes a Hanukkah Menorah Kosher?

There aren’t too many stipulations when it comes to making sure a menorah is kosher.

Menorahs are beautiful, and come in all shapes and sizes. There aren’t many stipulations in order for a menorah to be kosher, but these are non-negotiable: 

  • There must be eight candles.
  • The shamash, the helper candle, should be set a little higher or lower than the rest. 
  • All the other candles should be set on the same level.

You don’t even technically need a menorah at all. A row of tea candles will also work.

Speaking of candles, wax candles and oil lamps are both permissible, as long as the wax candles will burn for at least half an hour. This is because of the idea in Judaism that sitting and admiring the candles after they are lit is an essential part of the lighting ritual. Electric bulbs are not ideal according to some opinions, but are considered kosher.

There is an idea in Judaism that items used to fulfill mitzvot, or commandments, should be beautiful, and the creative craftsmanship of all the menorahs out there definitely speaks to this sentiment. To see some beautiful menorahs for purchase, check out 10 Beautiful Menorahs to Brighten Your Hanukkah

Let’s end this off with a fun fact, shall we? According to the Talmud (Shabbat 23b), if you are ever in a pinch, you can use a bowl as your menorah! The way to do this is to fill the bowl with oil and use eight wicks, and separate  the wicks so they look like eight distinct candles. Just as long as the lights are separate enough from each other, so it doesn’t look like one “bonfire,” then it is a permissible menorah. Consider it a menorah fruit punch. 

Check out these beautiful displays of menorahs from Instagram!

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