A crowd of thousands gathered for the lighting of the first candle of the World’s Largest Chanukah Menorah. The crowd sang and danced and transformed Fifth Avenue into a festive celebration. Rabbi Shmuel Butman, director of Lubavitch Youth Organization welcomed the crown of thousands from the “Menorah Heights” and explained that this is the World’s Largest Menorah as it is the largest permitted by Halocha.
Rabbi Butman also related that this Menorah was specially designed by world renowned artist Yaakov Agam. Yaakov Agam’s design was inspired by a hand drawing by the Rambam of the original Menorah in the Beis Hamikdosh in Yerusholayim. “This Menorah stood in miniature on the Rebbe’s desk, it was only after the Rebbe approved the design of this Menorah that it was built to the present proportions.”
“The Rebbe liked this Menorah” said Yaacov Agam. The Rebbe wanted this Menorah to be the Largest. When a group asked Yaacov Agam to design for them a similar Menorah, the Rebbe instructed that that Menorah should be smaller. Indeed it was made it to be 27 feet.
The World’s Largest Chanukah Menorah is proudly standing at New York’s most fashionable plaza, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, by Central Park, between the Plaza and the Pierre Hotels.
The 32-foot high, gold colored, 4,000 pound steel structure is lighted nightly with genuine oil lamps. Specially designed glass chimneys protect the Chanukah lights from the Central Park winds.
“The Menorah stands as a symbol of freedom and democracy, strength and inspiration delivering a timely and poignant message to each person on an individual basis” said Rabbi Butman.
The World’s Largest Menorah is serviced by three lifts a Con Edison “cherry-picker” crane, as well as two side lifts that lift the lighters to the “Menorah Heights.”
The lighting of the World’s Largest Chanukah Menorah is always the central event of Chanukah for the millions of residents of New York and visitors to the Big Apple. It is also a favorite with the International media who put the World’s Largest Chanukah Menorah in the center of their “Chanukah story,” bringing the World’s Largest Menorah into the homes of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.
In his remarks Rabbi Butman stressed that the candles of Chanukah offer a special message. “The Maccabees did not negotiate with the enemy as you do not negotiate with terrorists, the message today is very clear we should not negotiate with terrorists.” The crowd responded with thunderous applauds.
In his address to the cheering crowd United States Senator Charles Schumer stressed that “we must put an end to terror, it now spread to Paris and to the United States, we can do it by combining our forces together.”
Senator Schumer then stressed that “we have to hope for miracles same as with the Maccabees in their days.”
Before the lighting of the Menorah Rabbi Butman thanked the Rebbe and he said “It is with the fire of the Rebbe, and only with fire of the Rebbe, that we light all Menorahs throughout the world.”
Senator Schumer then lighted the Shamesh (middle candle) and made the three (3) blessings on the first candle.
Rabbi Butman stressed what the Rebbe said that we are “The last generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption and May these lights of Chanukah usher in the eternal lights of Moshiach.”
The Mitzvah Tank soldiers gave out Menorahs and donuts to the large crowd. “These are the Maccabees of today” said Rabbi Butman.