“Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah!’’ goes the song for the Jewish Festival of Lights. But what type of menorah you do light says a lot about what kind of person you are.
1) The “My Five Year-Old Made It’’ Menorah
Sure, it’s a little lopsided, and miscolored, and probably would topple over and spill hot wax all over the carpet if you put another candle on it. But little Sammy made it in Hebrew school, and all by himself! Rabbi Feinglass said he spent all class on it, so show your first-born how proud you are of him and use it.
2) The Birthright Menorah
You bought this beautiful, shiny menorah in a cute little store in Israel during your Birthright-sponsored free trip. But that was when you were feeling inspired to be more religious, and six months later, those feelings have mostly faded. Oh well.
Also, the menorah’s secret compartment now mostly functions as a weed stash. So it wasn’t a complete waste of money.
3) The Lobster Trap Menorah
You almost certainly live in Gloucester, where the Jewish community of Temple Ahavat Achim created the world’s biggest menorah made from lobster traps. (There wasn’t much competition.) The lobster trap menorah measures 14 feet high and 20 feet wide, and is made of 22 lobster traps, nine buoys, and an assortment of LED lights. You have some sense of humor, too, given that Jews who follow the dietary restrictions of being kosher don’t actually eat lobster.
If you are the type of person who owns a lobster trap that doesn’t live in Gloucester, well then you’re truly an independent pea in a pod.
4) The Twenty-Something-Who-Still-Has-Their-Childhood-Favorite Menorah
Sure, you have a stable job, live in an own apartment away from your parents, and successfully managed to make matzah ball soup that one time. But you haven’t yet gotten around to getting a new, adult-appropriate menorah. So what? That cute one with the Disney characters still works fine, and so does the one with animals from Noah’s Ark or the Rugrats characters.
If the menorah was good enough for seven-year-old you, it’s good enough for twenty-seven-year-old you.
5) The Pocket Menorah
The pocket menorah is for the Jew that’s always on the move. Whether stuck late at work or out on the town thanks to JDate, the pocket menorah can add some chai to any night.
Most importantly, the person with a pocket menorah is someone who thinks lighting candles on the go is cool.
6) The I-Don’t-Wanna-Feel-Left-Out-Of-Christmas Menorah
The overpowering force of Christmas this time of year can leave some Jews feeling a bit left out of all the fun. The Menorah Tree, pictured above, is in the same pantheon as the Hanukkah Bush or the tale of Hanukkah Harry – all recent, half-baked inventions that blunt the feeling of being different this time of year. It’s one solution to navigating the complexity of a mixed-religion family, though it may just make everyone a bit more confused.
“O Hanukkah tree! O Hanukkah tree! Thy lights are so unchanging.’’
7) The There’s-an-App-for-That Menorah
Lighting a menorah can get messy. There’s the cleaning polish to shine up the old silver menorah. Melted wax gets all over the countertop. Bent and broken matches are strewn nearby.
Thankfully, with a few touches on your phone, you can “light’’ the menorah. Tweeting and Instagramming a screenshot is only a few more buttons away.
All the better to avoid the awkward latke-eating and dreidel-spinning of an in-person Hanukkah celebration. The less human interaction this person has on a nightly basis, the better off everyone is.
8) The Old School Oil Menorah
“Actually,’’ this person condescendingly says, “the original Maccabis used oil to light their menorahs.’’ A pleasant smile and silent eyeroll won’t stop him. The lecture goes on: “You know, in those days they didn’t have all these processed foods. That’s why I went paleo; it’s really much healthier for you.’’