Why do we light a candelabra every night of Chanuka? Why does it have 7 branches and one more branch that is higher or lower than the other seven?
The Menorah – the candelabra – that the Jewish people light every Chanukah is connected to the Menorah that the Priests lit in the Temple every day. In the Bible, God commands us to always keep the fire lit – 24 hours a day. It must never go out. This symbolizes the light of the Bible that must be in our midst at all times. In the story of Chanukah, the Jewish people rededicated the Temple after the Greeks defiled the Temple. What we do today every time we light the Menorah, we rededicate our lives to the source. We rededicate our lives to God.
Miracles Every Day
We light the Menorah 8 times. The number 8 in Judaism symbolizes the essence of God’s involvement in our world. Seven is the number that symbolizes nature. There are seven days in the week. Everything in this world has seven aspects to it – up, down, right, left, front, back – and the thing itself. Eight is the number that symbolizes – beyond nature. We recognize every Chanukah that God – who is beyond nature – actually runs our lives every day. But we are not mere pawns in this world. We are part of God.
That is perhaps the greatest of all miracles – the very existence of life itself. In truth, everything in nature is actually connected to miracles that God manages in our lives every day. We just don’t perceive them. On Chanukah, we rededicate our connection to God by exclaiming through the 8 lights that God is our guide, our light, our savior, and the manager of all in this world. For all of this we thank God.
But, we also remember that the ultimate yearning of the Jewish people is to rededicate the Temple and light the menorah in Jerusalem. That will happen in the End of Days.