The Gold Branch Menorah is beautiful. Menorahs come in all shapes and sizes and may be lighted with either olive oil or wax candles (both of which burn pure flames). The defining characteristic of a Hanukkah menorah is eight lights in a row, with a ninth lamp off to the side or above, separated from the other eight. The ninth lamp is called a shamash, a “servitor,” which symbolically differentiates the eight holy flames from other, mundane light sources. It is usually used to light the other eight.
Each night of Hanukkah, an additional lamp is lighted—one the first night, two the second, and so on until all eight are ablaze on the holiday’s final night. The Hanukkah menorah’s eight (plus one) lamps represent a tradition that dates all the way back to the earliest history of this minor, albeit richly symbolic, Jewish festival. The Branch Menorah is a keepsake for many years to come to celebrate this tradition.