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Does a menorah have to have a specific design?

Does a menorah have to have a specific design?
Answer By: 
Rabbi Julie Zupan
Hanukkah menorah with donuts, dreidels and gelt

I want to make a menorah as a gift for a good friend of mine. If, due to design constraints, I cannot make the candle holders vertically uniform, would that be an issue?

What a special gift!

There are two types of menorahs. The first is a seven-branched menorah that hearkens back to the candelabrum described in the Bible that was lit in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. That menorah is the national symbol of the modern State of Israel. The second type of menorah is a hanukkiyah, the special lamp lit nightly during Hanukkah. It has space for eight lights plus a ninth “helper” light (shamash), which is used to light the candles or oil in the other eight holders.

We surmise that you’re referring to the hanukkiyah. According to Jewish law (halakhah), the lights of the Hanukkah menorah should be vertically uniform and in a straight line. However, there are many commercially produced Hanukkah menorahs that do not conform to these rules. Please send us a photo of the finished product – regardless of the design choices you make!