Another question asks about the differentiation between the words "chanukiyah" and "menorah" when referring to the special 8-branched (+1) candelabra for Chanukah. An answer there suggests:

All of the rest of their references to the Chanukah lights indeed use the term נר(ות) חנוכה. I'd guess that indeed the average person in those days didn't have a specially-designed candelabra for this purpose (or if they did, it wasn't branched like the original menorah)...

This seems plausible; I can't recall seeing older writings that refer to a special device, just references to lights. So my question is: How old is the chanukiyah, meaning a special candelabra that we use only for Chanukah and that has the correct number of wicks/candles? I'm interested in any evidence, whether from halachic literature, art, or known artifacts.


1 Answer 1


Neiros Shabbos - No 95 shows a picture of a Chanuka Menora from the 15th century in Sicily.

Jewish Art Museum of Minessota has 2 pictures of Menoras from the 13th century. One from Avignon and the other from Germany /Northern France.

According to this press release - The Living Torah Museum has the oldest known Chanuka Menora on display. I spoke to Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch the owner of the museum. He said they did a test on this Chanuka Menora and they carbon dated and certified it from 60 years after the miracle of Chanuka in the 1st century!

During a recent archaeological excavation in Jerusalem, one of the workers uncovered an unusual artifact that was brought to the attention of the office of Antiquities. Crafted from hand pottery and small enough to be held in the palm of an adults hand, this ancient discovery has been determined to be what is known to be the world’s oldest recorded Hanukkah Menorah known to mankind since the establishment of the Hanukkah holiday. Accompanied by a certified letter of authenticity, issued by the Head of Antiquities, this Menorah has found it’s way through a private donor to a museum based in the Orthodox Jewish community of Boro Park, located in Brooklyn New York.

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    Very cool, thanks! I had no idea they were that old. (Also, wall-hung chanukiyot, like the second one from the Jewish Art Museum of Minnesota, are a new idea to me -- I'm so used to "put it in your window" that hanging them from a wall had never occurred to me.) Sep 4, 2014 at 15:35
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    Y"K for the legwork, and great find! Any chance you could get him to provide pictures and more detailed info? Publicization of this artifact is a great advertisement for his museum.
    – Isaac Moses
    Sep 4, 2014 at 17:10
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    This Yated article has more on the Living Torah Museum's artifact.
    – Isaac Moses
    Sep 4, 2014 at 21:03
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    Any news on including pictures in this answer?
    – MTL
    Nov 10, 2014 at 5:21
  • Unfortunately the second link has died (and the Wayback Machine doesn't have it).
    – Scimonster
    Dec 25, 2016 at 16:46

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