Ok, ok, I knew posting about a LEGO menorah that holds real Hanukkah candles might cause trouble. It did. I now present a few ultra-safe models that use LEGO bits as flames. Thus, nobody gets hurt, LEGO doesn’t melt, and nothing will trigger the smoke alarm.
My favorite is the one I made after the kid went to bed. I used nine mini-figs with hair removed. The teeny, bald heads are the “oil” cups, and an official LEGO dragon flame is the “fire.” As we only own three dragon flames, we can only use this menorah up through the second night of Hanukkah. But it’s so worth it. (EDIT: see updated minifig menorah with all 8 flames)
LEGO flames can be made of any flame-colored pieces: bricks, plates, cones, pips, cylinders and so forth. Kids can figure out how to get the nine evenly spaced when they realize they don’t have a 17 -stud brick to support them. Menorah math!
Menorah rules come into play again, ’cause the flames can’t touch each other, lest they comingle and look like some sort of wacky offering to Ba’al. This means more futzing with even-numbered studs and odd-numbered flames. Not to mention symmetry and keeping the shammash unique and remembering the order in which the fake candles are fake lit.
Some folks might associate LEGO menorahs with the gigantic, publicity-stunt creations courtesy of Chabad. I’m not a fan of any missionaries, but even I have to admire the choice of building materials. LEGO is irresistible.
I prefer personal, kid-created hanukkiyot: humble table-top creations that help build together-time, Jewy time, and skills like spatial relationships, shape and size discrimination, fine motor, abstract to concrete correspondence, scale, counting, language and so on.
But the biggest reason we do this at my house is because it’s fun. That’s quite enough right there.
Here’s the list from my previous post, worth repeating:
Building a hanukkiyah is a great way to learn about the rules and customs:
- How many flames?
- What are the acceptable arrangements of the flames?
- How to distinguish the shammash?
- What order to add the candles?
- What order to light the candles?
- Blessings for lighting?
- Nine: one for each of the eight nights, plus one for the shammash or servant candle.
- Must be in a straight line, to avoid the appearance of a bonfire. Flames should be obviously separate from one another. That means my Dad’s antique v-8 distributor cap is a no-no. Bummer.
- Shammash may be placed at a different height, or outside the line of the other candles.
- Add candles from right to left.
- Light candles from left to right (light the newest night’s candle first).
- See this link at MyJewishLearning.com for blessings.