18 Hanukkah menora


Polish, end of 18th century

brass, cast

Donation of Gyula Winterberg, 1910

The huge Hanukkah Menorah, made of brass, intended for use in the Synagogue, was made on Polish land in the 17-18th centuries.  It evokes the shape of the Golden Menorah of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the branches of the Menorah are decorated with blossoms and flowers, as described in the Second Book of Moses. According to Talmudic Law, it is forbidden to copy or remake sacral objects of the Temple in Jerusalem. Nonetheless, this prohibition refers only to full copies: the object may be used if it is not a full copy, and there is, as in this case, a difference in the number of branches or in the material. Brass founding was common among Polish Jews: the pieces of this Menorah were cast individually and they are connected by ornate screws in a rosette form. The base stands on three small lions. On the top there is an eagle with outstretched wings. The eagle resembles the eagle on the Polish royal coat of arms, and it also denotes God, who, according to the Fifth Book of Moses, protects his people “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.”

The object was a gift of Gyula Winterberg, royal councilor, an official of the Chevra Kadisha of Pest, to the Jewish Museum in the year of its foundation.