Hanukkah lamp, fragment

Hanukkah lamp, fragment

A special lamp with eight candles (or oil fonts) is lit during Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. It commemorates the Jewish struggle against Hellenization, when the Jerusalem Temple was rededicated by the Maccabees. According to tradition, a miracle happened and the oil in the lamp of the eternal light burned for eight days instead of one. During the eight-day holiday, all the candles are lit, one after the other. A ninth candle, called the shamash (servant), is only used to kindle the other lights.This is a bench type of Hanukkah lamp, one of the two traditional types of Hanukkah lamps. The lamp is not complete – the oil fonts and shamash are missing. The backplate portrays a pair of lions holding the Ten Commandments. The lion is a very popular symbol in Judaism, linked to one of Israel’s twelve tribes, the tribe of Judah, from which King David was descended and the Messiah will come. The Hebrew inscription “Miracle of Hanukkah“ is in the center of the backplate. The edge of the base features a Hebrew inscription: “D.[oron] d.[erasha] from the Yesodei Hatorah Society.” Doron derasha was a gift given to students of the Yesodei Hatorah school on the occasion of their Bar Mitzvah. This Hanukkah lamp probably originates from Bratislava, where the Yesodei Hatorah (Foundations of the Torah) school had a long tradition. The six-year school for boys between 10 and 15 years of age was established in 1885 on the initiative of the merchant Chaim Wolf Grünhut as a pre-school for the yeshiva. The school was severely damaged in the ghetto fire of 1913 and reopened as late as 1925. This mass-produced lamp was probably produced in that period by the manufacturer S. Sulikowski in Warsaw. [JŠ]

Warsaw, first quarter of the 20th century
Brass, height: 30 cm
ŽM-D 562 II-153

GOLD, Hugo a kol.: Židovská náboženská obec v Bratislave v minulosti a súčasnosti. (Brno 1932) Bratislava 2011, pp. 64-65.