Saturday, December 11, 2004

Well Oiled

My hanukkiyyah uses oil rather than candles. I used candles until a few years ago, when I discovered a simple oil-burning hanukkiyyah in the Mahane Yehuda open-air market. It looked easy to use, so I took it home and inaugurated it on the first night of Hanukkah.

Trouble was, I hadn’t realized that although it looked easy to use, there’s a right way to use it. So, in the interest of sparing others my early mistakes, here goes:

Fill each glass container two-thirds to three-quarters full of water. Pour the oil on top—you don’t need much—and add the floating wick. Depending on the size of your glass containers and the proportions of oil and water you use, your hanukkiyyah can produce a clear, bright flame for anywhere from a half hour to several hours.

The water allows the flames to self-extinguish. It also makes the glass containers easier to clean. If you want the flame to burn longer, use less water, but always make sure you put at least a little in.

Enjoy the light.

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