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It is customary for synagogues to have a Ner Tomid, a light burning always near the front of the synagogue.

1) Why do we have a Ner Tomid?

2) If it is a reminder of the “ner maarovi” which was one of the lights of the menorah in the Bes Hamikdosh that lasted miraculously from when it was kindled up to the same time the following day Gemoro Shabbos 22b (up until the death of Shimon HaTzaddik), why is it that some modern designs have one central light surrounded in a circle by smaller lights? To be comparable to the menorah there should only be one light that is always alight.

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1 Answer 1

The Ketzos HaShulchan Siman 29:2 and the Badei HaShulchan Siman 29:2 explains that we keep a Ner Tamid lit for Kovod Shomayim and that it is a Zecher L'Mikdash where there always remained one candle burning on the Western side (Ner Ma'aravi).

Regarding having more than one light today - in the Shuls I frequent that is not the case. I have seen some Shuls combine it with 6 additional lights as a holocaust memorial, although I do not know a source for doing that.

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