Seven little flames fluttered in the Chanukah Lamp and all curtsied and greeted little Chaim with a hearty "Happy Chanukah!" The Seventh Light, shining more brightly than the others, began her story:

Do you know, my boy, that in the Holy Temple, the Golden Menorah had only seven lights, as many as you see tonight? That is why we do not have candlesticks of seven lamps, because we must not imitate the sacred vessels of the Holy Temple.

Now I see you are curious to know something more about the Menorah that stood in the Holy Temple. So I will tell you about that tonight:

You surely remember what you learned in Yeshivah about the Menorah, that it was beaten out of pure gold with a central shaft and six branches, three on each side, making up seven lamps in all. On top of each of the branches there was a cup. Each branch was further decorated with beautiful almond blossoms and knops, all made of that one piece of gold. It was a wonderful work of art. Even the great Moses found it difficult to grasp the instructions which G‑d gave him verbally, and so G‑d constructed the Menorah!

Only the purest of olive oils was used for the Menorah. Do you know how it was prepared? Well, to begin with, no ordinary olives were used for the oil of the Menorah. Preference was first of all given to the oil of the olives growing around the city of Tekoa. No, not Tokyo, my boy, good heavens, no! Tekoa is a town in the Holy Land of Israel, where the Prophet Amos used to live. This town was located in the province belonging to the Tribe of Asher, whom Yaakov blessed with the words: "Asher’s bread shall be fat and he shall yield royal dainties" (Gen. 49:20). The olives had to be grown on virgin soil which had not been artificially manured or irrigated. The olives had to be ripe and fresh from the tree, and only the first drops gently squeezed out from such choice olives could be used for the Menorah!

Every morning a special Priest, upon whom the duty and privilege of trimming and lighting the candlestick for that day had been bestowed by lot, would reverently approach the Menorah. He would invariably find the western lamp burning, while the other six lamps of the Menorah had burnt out. This was a wonderful miracle that occurred every day, for while all seven lamps of the Menorah received an equal quantity of oil, sufficient only to last overnight, all the lamps did burn out overnight, while the western lamp still burned into the afternoon, when the Menorah was rekindled from that western lamp. This miracle showed that G‑d’s presence (the Shechina) was in the midst of Israel!

It was this sacred Menorah that the wicked Antiochus defiled. He was able to do so only after the Jews had forsaken the Torah and turned to Greek culture and idols instead. When the Jews turned away from G‑d, G‑d turned away from them, and the light of the Menorah was extinguished. However, when the Jews rallied and returned to G‑d wholeheartedly under the guidance of the priestly family of Mattityahu and his brave sons, G‑d showed them again that His Presence was among them. For, as you know, they found only one little cruse of oil which had enough oil for only one day, and by the miracle of G‑d the little quantity of oil in the Menorah lasted for eight days until new, pure olive oil could be prepared.

This Menorah was one of the proudest and most treasured articles among the spoils, Titus the Roman general, took with him after he destroyed the Temple many years later. So proud was he of his conquest of the Land of Israel, the destruction of our Holy Temple and especially the capture of our sacred Menorah, that when a triumphal arch was built for him - the "Arch of Titus" - a Menorah was very conspicuously depicted. The cruel Titus thought that he had forever conquered our people and extinguished its life. But he, like many others of his kind, was wrong. Israel lived on and outlived his vast empire, for every Jew kindled within him the light of the Torah. Every Jew became a walking Menorah in an age of darkness.

By the time the Seventh Chanukah Light concluded her story, the others had already bade farewell to little Chaim. The Seventh Light too waved a final au revoir, but Chaim still remained sitting by the Chanukah Lamp, his blue eyes fixed on it. He was thinking... .