I live in Nashville, so I’m not so much in touch with the rest of the Hanukkah carnivalling world. Is “Squirt the Menorah” a popular Hanukkah game? The only Google hits seem to be my own.
I should say “Squirt the Hanukkiyah,” but it doesn’t have the right ring to it. Menorah works fine in this case.
Now, usually, when we light Hanukkah candles, they stay lit until they go out by themselves. It’s a no-no to blow them out or extinguish them in any way. Squirt the Menorah involves shooting water pistols at a lit menorah, which sounds pretty treyf to me. But we don’t play it during Hanukkah on the really real candles, the candles upon which we’ve said the commanded blessings and all. No, we play Squirt the Menorah ahead of time, when it’s okay to extinquish the candles with a squirt gun. Odd, but okay.
As usual, a discrepant event is a sure sign a teachable moment is at hand. Sounds like a good time to bring up questions with the kiddies about why it is or is not cool to shpritz water on Hanukkah candles.*
Wet candles re-light just fine, by the way, but a fireplace lighter makes the job much easier than do matches.
If you need challenge levels, try different goals like shooting just the shammash, or shooting candles in “lighting” order (we light Hanukkah candles from left to right). Otherwise, it’s fun just to squirt till they’re all out.
*See this animated video about lighting Hanukkah candles from MyJewishLearning.com. The tradition is to keep flames burning at least 30 minutes after lighting, but longer is better, as it gives more time to “publicize the miracle.” Of course, we can’t extinguish any flame if it’s Shabbat. Need more rules and reg? Ask your spiritual advisor. I’m not even a real Balabusta: I just play one on the Internet.
Safety: Please don’t try this with an oil Hanukkiyah. And do take all precautions when playing with fire, people. Only adults should handle the lighter.
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Cute idea, but you shouldn’t be extinguishing those flames! Possibly why you’ve never seen this before? Very creative though. Love the other stuff on your site, too. We’ve gotten some great ideas from you!
See third paragraph above. Don’t worry, the menorah used in the game isn’t lit with ritual intent or blessings, and the game is played during a carnival setting in the daytime. The lovely volunteers who run that station make a point of telling the players that we would never blow out (or squirt out!) flames on a menorah we’ve lit with the blessings, etc. etc. The act of extinguishing the flames in this context, with these explanations, turns out to be a discrepant event that teaches the real rules. The kids love it.
I’m delighted you’ve found other ideas here that you can use. Thanks for telling me.