Zot Chanukah & Incandescence

My final Chanukah related post for this year… It’s not really astronomy, but chemistry. And light!

The Torah reading for the eighth day of Chanukah, “זֹאת חֲנֻכַּה” – “Zot Chanukah”, includes the command to light The Menorah in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and later in the Jerusalem Temples:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

א וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל משֶׁה לֵּאמֹר

2  Speak to Aaron and say to him: “When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall cast their light toward the face of the menorah.”

ב דַּבֵּר אֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ אֶת הַנֵּרֹת אֶל מוּל פְּנֵי הַמְּנוֹרָה יָאִירוּ שִׁבְעַת הַנֵּרוֹת:

Rashi comments:

When you light: Heb. בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ, [lit., when you cause to ascend.] Since the flame rises, Scripture describes kindling in terms of ascending. He is required to kindle the lamp until the flame rises by itself (b. Shab. 21a).

בהעלתך: על שם שהלהב עולה, כתוב בהדלקתן לשון עליה, שצריך להדליק עד שתהא שלהבת עולה מאליה

To illuminate the process described in Rashi’s comment, I thought people would really enjoy this awesome video by Ben Ames explaining “What is a Flame?”

It’s the winner of the 2012 “Flame Challenge” from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.


& Happy Zot Chanukah!


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