18 December 2011

Adventures in Metal Menora Making

A few years ago, I decided to make a menora for lighting with oil.
"Ah!" I said. "I'll do pysanky and make it out of eggshells."
"Sorry," said the Sages. "You may not make a menora out of eggshells."
("You are a very interesting person," said the halacha teacher. "I never needed that halacha before.")

The Sages said that a menora must be pretty, and that the prettiest material is silver.
So all my dormmates went out and bought tin menoras, and I went to my teacher's house and begged the foil lid of a disposable pan.
(My dormmates mistook it for a silver menora. Cool.)

I do not have a picture of that menora, but it looked almost exactly like this:

Menora the First
I shaped modeling clay ("Plastalina") into a log, scored it, glued down strips cut from the pan lid, poked in metal bells filled with Plastalina (clappers intact but invisible), and rammed the glass bulbs into the bells.
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, because it is forbidden to rely on miracles.
My menora lasted for eight nights, and at exactly half an hour after it had been lit on the eighth night of Chanuka, the bulbs swam out of the bells, overturned, and - thank G-d - extinguished themselves.
Thus I learned that Plastalina melts when it gets hot.

The next year, our dorm became a construction site, so I scavenged twists of wire used to hold scaffolding together, and tried to get the rust off by soaking them for four days in a cup full of Coca-Cola.
I think that is the only time in my life that I have ever bought Coca-Cola.
It didn't work. The wires still looked like construction junk. I didn't think that was what the Sages had in mind when they said metal is pretty. Back to Plan A.

Menora the Second
I used Fimo instead of Plastalina - because Fimo (like Sculpey) hardens when it gets hot.
I added a string of beads with interesting reflective properties.

But, these two menoras were very fragile; and we decided we want something stronger this year. Also, my husband wanted to use more oil, so the lights would last longer, because in our neighborhood people stay out late.

Then it was Rosh Chodesh Adar, a day of something like metaphysical comedy. I had just returned from America, so the floor was strewn with suitcases and their contents, and with the other housework that had accumulated during the unpacking. The freezer had broken in my absence, so defrosted vegetables were dripping on all available counters and tables. Two workmen in muddy boots squeezed into our kitchen to fix the freezer.
And then the government called and said, "We are sending you someone to take pictures of your house."
Haha. Happy Adar to you, too.
"No, really. Can he come in three minutes?"
And he did. "Welcome," I said, "we are seeing how many people we can fit into this apartment at once."
And at that point I just had to laugh, because I am SO not in control of my life, it is funny.

Anyway, the workmen removed from our freezer this curious creature:

Ex Freezerus
 And it said,
"I want to be a Menora, Claudius. Make me a Menora."
So I did.

A Princess of Fire and Ice

But, before I could straighten, improve, and decorate it, we discovered that it is too long to pass by in the doorway.
I have one week to figure out how to make most of a freezer coil into a metal menora long enough to hold nine shot-glasses and strong enough to support them suspended in the doorway.
If anyone has a good idea, let's hear it!

1 comment: