TNB Night Owl – The Plaza Hotel Menorah

Hanukkah Menorah by 39James

While we’ve attended to Christmas every year in the Night Owl, we’ve given minimal coverage to the Jewish holiday which draws the most comparisons: Hanukkah, the festival of lights. While not one of the key religious holidays in the Jewish faith, the celebration has grown in recognition due in part to the exchange of small gifts and the holiday’s close relation to Christmas on the calendar.

And just as there are odd Christmas events, there are some which draw attention for the Jewish faith. Among them is the menorah in front of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Hanukkah celebrates a miracle. When the Second Temple was reclaimed from the Seleucids, it was to be reconsecrated; unfortunately, the Torah required burning only of purified oil during the ceremony and only a day’s supply could be found. The effort was begun, as was a move to manufacture some fresh oil. What was expected to last only a day lasted eight, instead, until the new oil had been prepared. The eight candles of the menorah represent the eight days of consecutive burning of the original oil supply.

It’s a lesson in faith and moderation, being provided what is necessary when it is necessary. The Plaza Hotel ownership makes clear that their appreciation for the event is far from moderate.

Every year since 1977, the hotel has erected the world’s largest menorah in front of the building over the Hanukkah holiday. Originally it was just under 32 feet, in keeping with Jewish code. In recent years it has grown to 36 feet, which has caused minor consternation for some faithful; but overwhelmingly the huge structure is beloved by the NYC Jewish community.

As of last year, LEDs have also been attached to the exterior poles of the menorah, so as to make it visible from a greater distance. This gives the Plaza Hotel menorah a second distinction; not only is it the tallest menorah, it is the brightest one as well.

Question of the night: What is something you would like to see or experience in New York City?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.