Hanukkah is also known as festival of lights. The Hebrew word (also written in English as chanukah) means “dedication” and marks an eight day winter celebration that commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple after a small group of Jewish believers (Maccabees) defeated their enemies. More at this link. A “hanukkiah” is basically a menorah with nine candle staff to distinguish it from the menorah’s seven. Why nine? that’s part of the miraculous story.
The menorah … “is to be made of sixty-six pounds of pure gold. See that you make them according to the design being shown you on the mountain.” Sh’mot (Exodus) 25:39-40.
On one level the construction of the menorah is exact, and drawing an image of it is relatively easier than drawing light — for light is not static, it is a phenomena, its ethereal; it has an effect on what it shines on. Hence when we realize that the Shekinah of G-d — represented as the menorah’s light — is present, we cannot avoid it having a profound effect on us.
Since the time I took up the pen and brush again I have been drawn to the menorah as a subject, and studied the Torah for its description — mainly in Exodus 25, and Exodus 37. Here is a concise entry of the menorah by Tracey R. Rich at Judaism 101.
I found it intriguing that the almond blossom is used to describe the bulbs and branches. The almond staff of Aaron that budded a branch has great significance. While there is no longer a temple in Jerusalem for the menorah to rest, one enduring purpose is to give light to humankind of the presence of Hashem throughout the world.