Here's a Hanukkah photo that I took last year with my iPhone. Two oil hanukiyot and one that uses candles. The crystal hanukiah was given to us by my mother early in our marriage, possibly the first Hanukkah after we were married.
Last Edit: Dec 7, 2010 18:39:49 GMT -5 by Debbie B.
We use standard cooking olive oil, usually the cheap non-"virgin" oil, but tonight we used the "extra virgin" olive oil we have for cooking because I didn't get around to buying a small bottle of cheaper oil to burn. The burning oil makes a nice fragrance.
The branched arm candelabra uses "floating wicks": little round cork circles with a hole into which you put a wick. Tonight, one of the wicks kept sinking into the oil. The cups hold enough oil to last twice as long as the standard sized "Hanukkah candles".
The other oil-burning hanukiah was very inexpensive (like $6) and I bought it at our local all-kosher supermarket a few years ago. It uses special long wicks that sit in the metal cylindrical supports in the middle of the plastic cups. It took some trial and error to learn how to use it. The flames kept going out before the wick would start to draw up the oil for burning. We eventually discovered that it worked to pour oil over the tops of the wicks after they were set up to saturate them enough so that they would start burning and wicking up the oil before going out. The cups hold a lot of oil, so they can burn for many hours if filled.
And once the oil cups are filled, they don't drip as they burn, unlike candles. Since the beauty of the crystal hanukiah is marred by being spattered with wax, we have a major clean-up job at the end of Hanukkah every year. Earlier this year bought some candle wax non-stick spray to coat the glass plate we use to catch Havdalah candle drips and then to pour the wine into to douse the flame. It works, but unfortunately there is a strong perfume in the liquid, so I started just coating the plate with vegetable oil which seems to work in a similar way. But I thought this spray might work well on the hanukiah, so I sprayed it before we lit candles. Unfortunately, this caused my husband to gag on the perfume smell, so maybe I'll try vegetable oil on the hanukiah too.
Above is my menorah, that I purchased 2 years ago.
For years, I used the long candles in a small menorah. To me, Chanukah wasn't such a big deal and I didn't want to do a lot for it (I was also I young 20-something living in Miami...so....). However the prevailing opinion is that it is better to do the mitzvah with oil....since the miracle of Chanukah happened on the oil. The first year I had my oil menorah, my mentor showed me how to pour the oil and build the wicks. It wasn't the greatest experience. You have to have a pretty steady hand to avoid having an oily mess when its all said and done.
The picture above shows, what I think, is one of the coolest Chanukah items ever invented -- Ner Lights. At $33 dollars, they are kind of pricey. However to me, they are worth every penny! They are sealed vials of oil with the wick already contained. All you have to do is break off the top of the vial (a tool for this is included) and set it in the menorah. It unbelievably easy and faster than even candles in my opinion! It also includes a long thin candle to transfer the flame. You have exactly enough vials to cover you for the entire holiday in one package. This past Chanukah I had to travel, and these lights made taking my menorah on the go a breeze. The only small issue is that sometimes the tops don't break off cleanly....so watch that you don't cut yourself off the thin, jagged glass. But I hope they keep making these things until moshiach comes...so that I'll never have to pour oil again!
Last Edit: Oct 31, 2011 13:17:22 GMT -5 by brnechama
This year my family will be traveling for the end of Chanukah (flying out for a trip to Tanzania on the evening of Dec 25), so I'm not quite sure what we'll do about Chanukah lights. I remember once lighting candles in a hotel bathroom and being worried that we would set off the smoke alarm in the room.
Solved the problem of traveling by buying this glowstick menorah: www.spertusshop.org/product.php?productid=10426&cat=104&page=1 Since we will be on a plane from mid-afternoon December 25, throughout the night, arriving in Amsterdam in the morning, I'm going to try to bring this on the plane and hope that the TSA lets the tiny glowsticks through and that the flight attendants let us snap and shake the glowsticks on the plane.
After dropping my daughter at her Talmud study class, I stopped by my local rabbinically supervised supermarket to buy some wicks for one of my oil burning hanukiyot and I saw these great "solid olive oil" cups: tinyurl.com/72lnhq8 These were on sale at the store for only $20 and they seem much safer and easier to use than the pre-filled glass oil cups. The cups are plastic and unlike the pre-filled glass cups, you don't have to break any glass to use them. I had already filled our oil burning menorah that I could put these cups in, so I will try them tomorrow. My daughter sniffed that they were really just "candles" since they start out as solid. But I say that if they do liquify then they are oil burners.
Chanukkah Sameach. Here is a photo of our four hanukiyot on this first night of the holiday: two oil burning and two candle burning hanukiyot.
We have 2 candle hanukiyos and one oil. For the oil one, I just went to the local craft store and purchased candle wicks from their candle making section, then cut them to the correct length. It's our first year using the oil one and I can already relate to what I'd heard. "Once you go oil, you never go back!" It just "feels" different.
I only have one hanukiyot and it uses candles...needless to say I look forward to finding and purchasing one that uses oil. It's my first Hanukkah and while the candles are nice...I worry that they're going to fall over. However, they're dripless so that's one mess I haven't had to clean up.
As you can see from my photos, I put my chanukiyot on a metal tray to catch the drips of oil or candle wax as well as for safety. Many Jewish families put aluminum foil under their chanukiyot for the same purpose.
On the first night, one of the candle wicks of one of the tall candles was too long and fell over and split into two pieces with a detached part of the wick melting part of the side of the candle, but not going out because it was wicking the wax from the side. This seemed like a hazard, so I knocked off the detached wick which was OK since it fell onto the metal platter. Since that night we have trimmed the wicks of those candles before lighting them.
You can also see from my photo that we used the longer candles in the short block "menorah" rather than the crystal menorah because the brass candle holders of that menorah are not that stable and might tip over if the candles are long. The crystal menorah was a gift from my Christian mom for for the first Chanukkah after I married my Jewish husband (and long before I converted).
Thanks for the great photo and the websites you posted.
BTW, There was an article written by Tiger Mom in the WSJ today. I can try to post it to our forum if you are interested. The gist of the story was, what kind of mom is Tiger mom to her daughter now in college. I thought she had some pretty good ideas and suggestions.