The eight primates of Chanukah
December 30, 2019 7:42 AM   Subscribe

This is so excellent.
posted by pipoquinha at 8:14 AM on December 30 [4 favorites]

Came for some kind of lemur, was not disappointed.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:35 AM on December 30 [3 favorites]

3. The miracle of the oil and fat-tailed dwarf lemurs

I was slightly disappointed to learn that there was not an actual “miracle of the oil and fat-tailed dwarf lemurs.” I was hoping to discover that tiny lemurs had helped keep the lamp lit....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:35 AM on December 30 [3 favorites]

Yay, thanks for sharing this! I had a lot of fun putting it together. I'm always looking for excuses to ramble about primates, and I felt like Science Twitter can be homogeneous in weird ways, so it was a good exercise to try to shake things up a little and share two different, important pieces of myself!
posted by ChuraChura at 10:03 AM on December 30 [9 favorites]

MetaFilter: They chatter and graze together! They flip their lips inside out!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:12 AM on December 30 [2 favorites]

On the first night of Chanuka a primatologist showed to me
Judah Macaquebee!

On the second night of Chanuka a primatologist showed to me
Two mountain gorillas and Judah Macaquebee!

… Three fat-tailed dwarf lemurs, two mountain gorillas and Judah Macaquebee!

… Eight golden tamarins, seven female guenons, six genteel Alouattas, five wide-eyed night monkeys, four chest-marked geladas, three fat-tailed dwarf lemurs, two mountain gorillas and Judah Macaquebee!
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:13 PM on December 30

A few additional facts about menorot:
1) From contemporary descriptions we know the Temples had other menorot than the big ritual one. The word menorah literally means "candelabra", and you need a bunch of candelabra to light a building.
2) At least four different Temple menorot must have been used in the Temples:
(a) The first one, described in the Bible;
(b) The second one, when the Temple was rebuilt after the Babylonian exile;
(c) A temporary one made from "iron spits" when the Maccabees regained the Temple. This was the only iron menorah used in the temple, as far as we know;
(d) Another gold one some time after that.

There may have been others! Temple menorot were popular symbolic images so we have a number of depictions, including ones from before the Temple's destruction, but they're not totally consistent except in the broadest details.

The last menorah of the Temple was stolen by the Romans and taken to Rome, where it was kept in the Temple if Peace (!) for many years before vanishing from the historical record after an invasion. Many people believe it is in the Vatican, although the Catholic Church denies this. I wish to go on record as saying that I believe them, but if they give it back there will be no hard feelings.

The depiction of this menorah on the Arch of Titus appears to be a naturalistic image, and was once painted yellow. It shows the menorah with a stepped polygonal base sculpted with a Roman mythical motif. Earlier depictions seem to have a rounded base. Maybe the base was replaced under Herod. Maybe the polygonal "base" is really some sort of box to allow the looters to carry it?

Images of menorot have been a constant theme is Jewish symbology for over twi thousand years. They appear on jewellery, on graves, and on synagogue decorations. Today an image of a menorah is the official emblem of the State of Israel, as well as many Jewish organisations. I think there's something beautiful in that continuity.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:19 PM on December 30 [5 favorites]

Well this was just lovely. Happy New Year mandolin conspiracy and ChuraChura
posted by glasseyes at 3:31 PM on December 31 [2 favorites]

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