What’s wrong with this picture (literally, can you spot the “mistake”?):
Before I give you the answer, some background: This is a piece of stock art used by one of our advertisers in a recent Hanukka ad. A nice ecumenical gesture on the part of a non-Jewish company, right?
But the advertiser now tells us that a few customers called to complain that there is a mistake in the picture — and as the recipient of similar calls on similar mistakes, I can guess the attitude of the complainants: Not, “I thought you might want to know that there is an amusing error in something you published” but “How could you do such a thing!? It’s an insult!”
Yeah, we should have caught it. But newspapers are staffed by human beings, and you have to do a double-take to notice the blooper in this one. I can understand why people are sticklers for accuracy, especially when it comes to ritual, but why the attitude?
If you haven’t figured it out, the photo depicts someone using the eighth candle to light the shamash, or helper candle, not the other way around. Technically, I suppose, the person could be lighting the ninth candle off of the shamash, which could have been lit first, which sounds kosher to me. But that also sounds pedantic.
(Another mistake: The custom is to add candles each night from right to left, and to light the candles left to right [the 'newest' candle goes first]. In this case, the menora has been lit right to left, assuming, which you don’t have to do, that the photograph is taken from the lighter’s perspective.)
Anyway, if you need a primer on the right way to light a Hanukka menora, go here.
And in the spirit of Hanukka, chill.