TREE OF LIFE MENORAH
Artist: The Gary Rosenthal Collection (Kensington, MD)
Small copper vining menorah mounted on a natural-cut sandstone base. With green patina.
• Height: 6.25"
• Width: 11.75"
• Depth: 2.25"
* Slight variations are the nature of handmade items.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Gary Rosenthal has been sculpting in welded metals since the early 1970’s. Together with a team of talented craftspeople he creates one of the most popular and unique lines of Judaic art in the country. Combining copper, brass, and steel with brilliant fused glass, the Gary Rosenthal Collection has a contemporary style rooted in tradition. His inspiration comes from the rich history of the Jewish people which tells us it’s a blessing – a mitzvah – to make beautiful, functional, art.
Work from the collection has been presented to Presidents from Carter, to Clinton, to Obama and celebrities as varied as Bette Midler, John Travolta and Ben Stein. It has been seen worldwide in many fine galleries, private collections, and museum shops including Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, Corning Museum of Glass, American Craft Museum, B’nai B’rith Museum, The Jewish Museum, Skirball Museum of Culture, and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
WHAT IS A MENORAH?
Chanukah (or Hanukkah) is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.
In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in God. Against all odds, a small band of faithful but poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God. When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single bottle of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. On the first night, one flame is lit. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled. Special blessings are recited, often to a traditional melody, before the menorah is lit, and traditional songs are sung afterward.