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What is the ninth candle of the Hanukkah menorah called?

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Quick Answer

The ninth candle on a Hanukkah menorah is called the "shamash." The Hebrew word "shamash" means "servant." The menorahs used during Hanukkah have nine candles, making them different from the seven-candle menorahs often used as symbols or found in temples.

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What is the ninth candle of the Hanukkah menorah called?
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Full Answer

Eight of the candles signify the eight nights of Hanukkah. The ninth candle, or shamash, is used to light the other candles: one on the first night, two on the second night and so on. While the right candles are symbolic in nature, the shamash serves a completely utilitarian purpose.

The shamash traditionally sits in the center of the eight candles, although it is supposed to sit either higher or lower than them to indicate that it is different. Whoever is lighting the candles uses the shamash to light them from left to right while a special blessing is said, often followed by a traditional Jewish song.

Although the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the Christian Christmas celebration are very different, they do have one similarity. Both holidays are marked by gift-giving among friends and family members. While those who celebrate Christmas have 1 day in which they formally exchange gifts, this practice lasts throughout the full 8 days of Hanukkah.

Eight of the candles signify the eight nights of Hanukkah. The ninth candle, or shamash, is used to light the other candles: one on the first night, two on the second night and so on. While the right candles are symbolic in nature, the shamash serves a completely utilitarian purpose.

The shamash traditionally sits in the center of the eight candles, although it is supposed to sit either higher or lower than them to indicate that it is different. Whoever is lighting the candles uses the shamash to light them from left to right while a special blessing is said, often followed by a traditional Jewish song.

Although the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the Christian Christmas celebration are very different, they do have one similarity. Both holidays are marked by gift-giving among friends and family members. While those who celebrate Christmas have 1 day in which they formally exchange gifts, this practice lasts throughout the full 8 days of Hanukkah.

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