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Oct 25, 2006

today's "Only in Israel" story

I do not really know if this qualifies, because I do not know what would happen if you tried to do this in the USA, Europe or other places around the world outside Israel, but I will mention it anyway.

Today someone went to a silversmith. The request was a custom made candelabrum. They make 6 branch candelabrum's and they make 8 branch. This person wanted a 7 branch candelabrum. It would have to be custom made. This person asked how much it would cost to order a 7 branch candelabrum.

The answer was we will not make them.

Why not? Because there is a Rabbinic prohibition against making 7 branched candelabrums because that is what they used in the Bet Hamikdash. It does not matter that the branches on this style are uneven and in a circular design rather than even and straight. You cannot make a 7 branch candelabrum, end of story. Order a 6 branch or an 8 branch, no 7.

I wonder what would happen if you tried this at a silversmith in New York or England...

16 comments:

  1. what is Willi? Williamsburg?

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  2. glad to see someone said no, but the question isn't, where will they outside of Israel. Even in EY I am sure someone is willing for enough money. tere are enough artists and silversmiths who are not religious in, say, tzfas, that I am sure I could find someone who doesn't know the halacha.
    Plus, it's no biggee if you really want one and don't care about the halacha - just find a goy silversmith.

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  3. I have seen 7 candle candelabras before made from brass. I didn't know that this was a prohibition. If you go into most shuls the electric menorah they have at the front of the shul is 7 branches. if it is a prohibition why does every shul have this?

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  4. Shaya -Obviously non-religious people might do so and you might be able to find some religious people who would do so as well (either for a nice sum or just because they do not know they should not). My point was the awareness. The companies here will not make it and the average smith will not. Sure if you look hard enough you can find someone but I have a hard time imagining walking into a silversmith in America and being told that he will not do it because of the Bet Hamikdahs menora. It was an "only in Israel" story, not a declaration of frustration at not getting the product looked for...

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  5. frumwq - see here http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/218/Q4/

    I remember learning about the issur, but I do not remember the details of it. Maybe it is only on a menora that will be used rather than as a symbol. The symbol of the State of Israel is a menora (aside from the lion of Judea and the star of David) and it is a 7 branch menora.

    I do not know when it applies and when it does not.

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  6. I read that article and it did not mention the fact that shuls have the 7 branched menorah in the front or on the shtender. is it allowed because these are electric and not candle? i am not sure but i still see them all over the place and i am sure they all have 7 lights.

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  7. e article was just to point out the general idea of the prohibition. As I mentioned, I do not know of the details of when it is ok and when it is not. I simply suggested that maybe when it is only used as a symbol rather than as an actual menora it might be ok, but I do not know if that is true.

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  8. I'm pretty sure it's mutar to make one. You're only not allowed to make it, if it will look like the one in the beis hamikdash, and you want it to pretend it's the one there

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  9. A seven-branched menorah made out of wood or porcelain is permitted. See Shach to Yoreh Deah 141

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  10. I like the fact the silversmith was observant and refused to male a 7 branch candelbra. Thank you for the story Rafi.[and the ref on the prohibition]

    Shalom Aaron

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  11. Just for the record, the plural of candelabrum is candelabra, not candelabrum's, and most definitely not with an apostrophe.

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  12. There's one standing opposite the Knesset...

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  13. as I said it is the symbol of Israel

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  14. Many poskim hold it is forbidden to make any seven branch candelabrum out of any metal. For a great article on this see http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5759/behalos.html or search for "prohibition seven branch menorah" on Google and look for weekly halachah

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