Rebbe’s Golden Menorah Displayed for Chanukah

Visitors to the Rebbe’s home on President Street were astounded to see a menorah of pure gold displayed in the breakfront. The menorah was one that had been gifted to the Rebbe, but seldom used.

By reporter
Photos: Mendel Brandwine

Chanukah visitors to the Rebbe’s home on President Street were astounded to see a menorah of pure gold displayed in the breakfront, a menorah that belonged to the Rebbe, but had only been seen by a select few until today.

The menorah, crafted of pure gold, was given to the Rebbe by R’ Ahron Klein, a Crown Heights resident, in honor of Yud-Alef Nissan 5736 (1976). Reb Ahron was born in Vienna and was sent to a detention camp in Canada by the British. He was released from the camp and went to study at the Lubavitcher yeshiva in Montreal, due to the hishtadlus of the Frierdiker Rebbe and his shluchim.

Reb Ahron had a great love for the Frierdiker Rebbe and the Rebbe and did all that he could to help them in their holy work. Before purchasing that menorah he came to R’ Shmuel Eizik Popack and told him that he needs a partner to buy the gold menorah. Popack agreed. A short while later he told Reb Shmuel Eizik that he decided to buy it by himself, no partners necessary.

Before giving the menorah to the Rebbe, Reb Aharon had the menorah inscribed with the possuk “ערכתי נר למשיחי”. He is said to have told the Rebbe at the time that he knows that the Rebbe won’t use it, but a melech needs to have a menorah like this.

Although the Rebbe kept this menorah in his house, he did not use it, save for once or twice, depending on which hearsay we are to believe. We can assume for one of two reasons: that the Rebbe for the most part did not use gold or silver items, even for mitzvos, or because it was round, and a few years later the Rebbe spoke about the menorah not being round and that it should be like the Rambam himself had drawn, k’alachson.

For many years, most chassidim only knew of the menorah from the story, and had never seen it. Following the Rebbetzin’s passing in 5748, some caught a glimpse of the menorah in the Rebbe’s house, but since then it has been stored out of public sight.

In honor of Chanukah this year, the menorah was brought out and displayed in a breakfront in the dining room of the Rebbe’s home, near other exquisite china and serving dishes that had been used by the Rebbe and Rebbetzin. Visitors to the home got a chance to see the menorah, a pleasant surprise for the days of Chanukah.

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