Just as God worked through a small group of Jewish believers to take back the holy Temple, Yeshua took back our personal "temples" from the enemy and dedicated us to God. [119] The deuterocanonical book of Judith (Yehudit or Yehudis in Hebrew), which is not part of the Tanakh, records that Holofernes, an Assyrian general, had surrounded the village of Bethulia as part of his campaign to conquer Judea. [70], Each night throughout the eight-day holiday, a candle or oil-based light is lit. A Warner Media Company. They found only a single container that was still sealed by the High Priest, with enough oil to keep the menorah in the Temple lit for a single day. [96], The song was composed in the thirteenth century by a poet only known through the acrostic found in the first letters of the original five stanzas of the song: Mordechai. [148] During this time period, Jewish leaders (especially Reform) like Max Lilienthal and Isaac Mayer Wise made an effort to rebrand Hanukkah and started creating Hanukkah celebration for kids at their synagogues, which included candy and singing songs. Italian Jews eat fried chicken, cassola (a ricotta cheese latke almost similar to a cheesecake), and Fritelle de riso par Hanukkah (a fried sweet rice pancake). A story similar in character, and older in date, is the one alluded to in 2 Maccabees 1:18–1:36 according to which the relighting of the altar fire by Nehemiah was due to a miracle which occurred on the 25th of Kislev, and which appears to be given as the reason for the selection of the same date for the rededication of the altar by Judah Maccabee.The above account in 1 Maccabees 4, as well as 2 Maccabees 1:9 portrays the feast as a delayed observation of the eight-day Feast of Booths (Sukkot)"; similarly 2 Maccabees 10:6 explains the length of the feast as "in the manner of the Feast of Booths". It specifies, "On the 25th of [Kislev] is Hanukkah of eight days, and one is not to eulogize" but gives no further details. [12] Moreover, the 'kaf' consonant is geminate in classical (but not modern) Hebrew. [121], Indian Jews traditionally consume gulab jamun, fried dough balls soaked in a sweet syrup, similar to teiglach or bimuelos, as part of their Hanukkah celebrations. I am a Christian mother of five wonderful children, blessed with an amazing husband. (Hanukkah is the Hebrew and Aramaic word for 'dedication'.) What are some other ways to observe the holiday? [117], Rabbinic literature also records a tradition of eating cheese and other dairy products during Hanukkah. Since Hanukkah lasts eight days it includes at least one, and sometimes two, Jewish Sabbaths (Saturdays). When the Jews reached the Temple, they only found one jar of olive oil, enough to keep the eternal flame of the menorah lit for one day. The dates of Jewish holidays are determined by the ancient Hebrew (or Jewish) calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar that was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, with which you are most familiar. [citation needed], The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah. It started with Mattathias killing first a Jew who wanted to comply with Antiochus's order to sacrifice to Zeus, and then a Greek official who was to enforce the government's behest (1 Mac. In the days of the Hasmonean Mattathias, son of Johanan the high priest, and his sons, when the iniquitous Greco-Syrian kingdom rose up against Your people Israel, to make them forget Your Torah and to turn them away from the ordinances of Your will, then You in your abundant mercy rose up for them in the time of their trouble, pled their cause, executed judgment, avenged their wrong, and delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and insolent ones into the hands of those occupied with Your Torah. Fried foods are an important part of the celebration for many, in recognition of the importance of oil in Hanukkah. The weekly Torah portion for the first Sabbath is almost always Miketz, telling of Joseph's dream and his enslavement in Egypt. The dreidel, or sevivon in Hebrew, is a four-sided spinning top that children play with during Hanukkah. This differs from Sabbath candles which are meant to be used for illumination and lighting. Hanukkah is a time to remember and celebrate this victory of truth and faithfulness to God’s Word. The eight-day rededication of the temple is described in 1 Maccabees 4:36–4:59, though the miracle of the oil does not appear here. [49] However, given the famous question Rabbi Yosef Karo posed concerning why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days when the miracle was only for seven days (since there was enough oil for one day),[50] it was clear that he believed it was a historical event. [84][111][112], There is a custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil (preferably olive oil) to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the Second Temple's Menorah alight for eight days. Here's the story behind the event also known as Chanukah. When is Hanukkah? [31]. While for centuries many Jews have observed Hanukkah by lighting the hanukkiah, saying certain prayers, and eating certain foods, the all-out Hanukkah celebrations Americans are used to is a relatively new phenomenon. Celebrate the festival of lights and stick to Hanukkah traditions to show your appreciation for the holiday. As Flavius Josephus relates: The king being thereto disposed beforehand, complied with them, and came upon the Jews with a great army, and took their city by force, and slew a great multitude of those that favored Ptolemy, and sent out his soldiers to plunder them without mercy. Often referred to as the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) both in the fall, are considered two of the most sacred holidays. Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days to signify the eight days the oil burned. Hanukkah, a wintertime holiday in Judaism, is also known as the Jewish "festival of lights" as its focus is on lighting the eight Chanukah candles during the eight days of the festival. See, This is the first reference to the Feast of Dedication by this name (ta egkainia, ta enkainia [a typical "festive plural"]) in Jewish literature (Hengel 1999: 317). Because the Jewish calendar is lunar (it us… Updated The Temple was liberated and rededicated. [114], Latkes are not popular in Israel, as they are more commonly made at home and are an Ashkenazi Jewish dish. [147] Ashton says that Jewish families did this to maintain a Jewish identity distinct from mainline Christian culture, but on the other hand the mirroring of Hanukkah to Christmas helped Jewish families and kids feel American. [116] In recent years, downsized, "mini" sufganiyot containing half the calories of the regular, 400-to-600-calorie version, have become popular. Both unto Yourself did you make a great and holy name in Thy world, and unto Your people did You achieve a great deliverance and redemption. Due to the coincidental timing of Christmas and Hanukkah, some Jewish families participate in present exchanges and decorating. [77] Electric lights are sometimes used and are acceptable in places where open flame is not permitted, such as a hospital room, or for the very elderly and infirm; however, those who permit reciting a blessing over electric lamps only allow it if it is incandescent and battery operated (an incandescent flashlight would be acceptable for this purpose), while a blessing may not be recited over a plug-in menorah or lamp. On Hanukkah, it is traditional to eat foods made with oil, particularly olive oil, in commemoration of the miracle of the menorah. Sean Gallup/Getty Images, PHOTO: It ends on the 2nd of Tevet. The Hanukkah menorah is also kindled daily in the synagogue, at night with the blessings and in the morning without the blessings. To complete your CNN profile and ensure you are able to receive important account information, please verify your email address. The Jewish day begins at sunset. Important note: There is an ongoing and spirited debate about whether latkes are best served with applesauce or sour cream. Romanian Jews eat pasta latkes as a traditional Hanukkah dish, and Syrian Jews consume Kibbet Yatkeen, a dish made with pumpkin and bulgur wheat similar to latkes, as well as their own version of keftes de prasa spiced with allspice and cinnamon. Hanukkah begins at the 25th day of Kislev and concludes on the second or third day of Tevet (Kislev can have 29 or 30 days). Second, they clearly wanted to promote a sense of dependence on God, urging Jews to look toward the divine for protection. [citation needed], The Mishna (late 2nd century) mentions Hanukkah in several places,[18] but never describes its laws in detail and never mentions any aspect of the history behind it. The dates of Hanukkah are determined by the Hebrew calendar. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple (as you’ll read below). Bush displayed a menorah in the White House. That’s why the celebration lasts eight nights. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday which celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the larger Syrian army. In Singer, Isidore; et al. Hanukkah (/ˈhɑːnəkə/ HAH-nə-kə; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎ ḥanūkká, Tiberian: ḥanūkkā, usually spelled חֲנוּכָּה‎, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew, [ˈχanukə] or [ˈχanikə] in Yiddish; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah, Ḥanukah, Chanuka, Hanuka) is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE. This year, Hanukkah will begin at sundown on December 22 and last until sundown on December 30. One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. Megillat Taanit (1st century) contains a list of festive days on which fasting or eulogizing is forbidden. The Hanukkah celebration revolves around the lighting each evening of candles on a nine-branched menorah, known in Hebrew as the hanukiah. ", "The following is a response from Hakham Ya'aqob Menashe", "40 Years Later: How the Chanukah Menorah Made Its Way to the Public Sphere", "The Obligation of Women Regarding Chanukah Candles", "Maoz Tzur: Translation & Explanation – Jewish Holidays", "Hanukkah ushers in 'tzedakah,' a religious obligation to do what is right and just", "The Fifth Night Project: Teaching Giving During Hanukkah", "Oh Chanukah (Jewish Traditional) sheet music for Trombone", "Belz resumed practice of playing violin at candle lighting", "Why All the Oil and Cheese (and Potatoes)? These books are not part of the canonized Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) used by modern Jews, though they were included in the Greek Septuagint. The following year these [days] were appointed a Festival with [the recital of] Hallel and thanksgiving. 46a.[24]. When is this day celebrated? So today, Jews celebrate Hanukkah to remember their defeat over Antiochus, the restoration of the Temple of Jerusalem, and the miracle of the oil. Each year, Hanukkah starts on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. [129] In 2008, George Bush linked the occasion to the 1951 gift by using that menorah for the ceremony, with a grandson of Ben-Gurion and a grandson of Truman lighting the candles. [120], Roast goose has historically been a traditional Hanukkah food among Eastern European and American Jews, although the custom has declined in recent decades. When Holofernes' soldiers found his corpse, they were overcome with fear; the Jews, on the other hand, were emboldened and launched a successful counterattack. Since the 1970s, the worldwide Chabad Hasidic movement has initiated public menorah lightings in open public places in many countries. 3 At the end of the Shabbat, there are those who light the Hanukkah lights before Havdalah and those who make Havdalah before the lighting Hanukkah lights. Another tradition for many children is spinning a dreidel, a four sided spinning top. Judea was part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE when King Antiochus III the Great of Syria defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt at the Battle of Panium. [88] Many Hasidic Rebbes light much later to fulfill the obligation of publicizing the miracle by the presence of their Hasidim when they kindle the lights. וכל שמונת ימי חנוכה הנרות הללו קודש הם, ואין לנו רשות להשתמש בהם אלא להאיר אותם בלבד כדי להודות ולהלל לשמך הגדול על נסיך ועל נפלאותיך ועל ישועותיך. עַל כֵּן קַיִּימוּ בְּנֵי חַשְׁמוּנַּאי הָדֵין קְיָימָא וַאֲסַרוּ הָדֵין אֲסָּרָא אִנּוּן וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כּוּלְּהוֹן. ", "Why Don't Women Work While the Chanukah Candles Are Burning? [88] However, they must remain lit through the lighting of the Shabbat candles. In 2009 a Hanukkah stamp was issued with a design featured a photograph of a menorah with nine lit candles. It is Sephardic custom not to light the shamash first and use it to light the rest. Alex Wong/Getty Images. Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and it remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, in Israel. They used this, yet it burned for eight days (the time it took to have new oil pressed and made ready). "Ḥanukkah". [19] Modern scholar Reuvein Margolies suggests that as the Mishnah was redacted after the Bar Kochba revolt, its editors were reluctant to include explicit discussion of a holiday celebrating another relatively recent revolt against a foreign ruler, for fear of antagonizing the Romans. [118] This custom, as mentioned above, commemorates the heroism of Judith during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews and reminds us that women also played an important role in the events of Hanukkah. Judea then became part of the Seleucid Empire of Syria. The events that led up to the celebration of Hanukkah are as follows. [7][8], Many homiletical explanations have been given for the name:[9], In Hebrew, the word Hanukkah is written חֲנֻכָּה‎ or חֲנוּכָּה‎ (Ḥănukkāh). Author: Steve Bunin [5], Although a relatively minor holiday in strictly religious terms, Hanukkah has attained major cultural significance in North America and elsewhere, especially among secular Jews, due to its occurring around the same time as Christmas. Among the most well known songs in English-speaking countries are "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel"[108] and "Oh Chanukah". Both the Israeli and North American versions of Hanukkah emphasize resistance, focusing on some combination of national liberation and religious freedom as the defining meaning of the holiday. Known as the Festival of Lights, it is celebrated by lighting a candle a day for eight days. The White House commissioned a menorah made by students at the Max Rayne school in Israel and invited two of its students to join U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as they welcomed over 500 guests to the celebration. [105], The menorah is not lit during Shabbat, but rather prior to the beginning of Shabbat as described above and not at all during the day. This belief has been adopted by most of Orthodox Judaism, in as much as Rabbi Karo's Shulchan Aruch is a main Code of Jewish Law. Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday as compared to the high holidays of Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur or to Purim and Passover. [77] So altogether, including the shamash, two lights are lit on the first night, three on the second and so on, ending with nine on the last night, for a total of 44 (36, excluding the shamash). Each year, Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar . Then why do people make such a big deal out of it? On … In modern Israel, the national and military aspects of Hanukkah became, once again, more dominant. In… Despite what some holiday movies will have you believe, Hanukkah is not the Jewish equivalent of Christmas, nor is it an insurmountably difficult holiday to learn about. [67], Among Ashkenazim the tendency is for every male member of the household (and in many families, girls as well) to light a full set of lights each night,[73][74] while among Sephardim the prevalent custom is to have one set of lights for the entire household. [34] The Tobiads, who led the Hellenizing Jewish faction in Jerusalem, were expelled to Syria around 170 BCE when the high priest Onias and his pro-Egyptian faction wrested control from them. "[131] Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, in leading prayers at the ceremony commented on the how special the scene was, asking the President if he believed America's founding fathers could possibly have pictured that a female Asian-American rabbi would one day be at the White House leading Jewish prayers in front of the African-American president.[132]. Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. after it was defiled by a pagan ruler. 12:50 PM EST, Tue December 24, 2019. Chanukah? Whereupon your children entered the sanctuary of Your house, cleansed Your temple, purified Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courts, and appointed these eight days of Hanukkah in order to give thanks and praises unto Your holy name. What traditions do you have for these celebrations? According to the Talmud, "For when the Greeks entered the Sanctuary, they defiled all the oils therein, and when the Hasmonean dynasty prevailed against and defeated them, they made search and found only one cruse of oil which lay with the seal of the kohen gadol (high priest), but which contained sufficient [oil] for one day's lighting only; yet a miracle was wrought therein, and they lit [the lamp] therewith for eight days. הנרות הללו אנו מדליקין על הנסים ועל הנפלאות ועל התשועות ועל המלחמות שעשית לאבותינו בימים ההם, בזמן הזה על ידי כהניך הקדושים. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches consider them deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament.[17]. Lamps are lit in the evening over the doors of the homes, on each of the eight nights, so as to display the miracle. ", Tertiary sources in the Jewish tradition make reference to this account.[39]. [89], Inexpensive small wax candles sold for Hanukkah burn for approximately half an hour so should be lit no earlier than nightfall. The Jewish Encyclopedia. And they sought after pure olive oil to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was sealed with the signet ring of the High Priest from the days of Samuel the prophet and they knew that it was pure. At Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, they celebrate Hanukkah with a nightly menorah lighting ceremony starting at … The tradition of giving Chanukah gelt dates back to a long-standing East European custom of children presenting their teachers with a small sum of money at this time of year as a token of gratitude. Take part in Chanukah traditions such as lighting the menorah, playing the dreidel game, eating gelt, cooking and baking delicious food, and enjoying the fun of Hanukkah gifts. [125] Unlike the other nights of Hanukkah, the fifth does not ever fall on the Shabbat, hence never conflicting with the Halachic injunction against handling money on the Shabbat. Have the chutzpah to embrace Yiddish", Romanization of Hebrew § How to transliterate, "The Old Testament in the Orthodox Church", 10.4159/DLCL.josephus-jewish_antiquities.1930, Rivista di Filologia e di Istruzione Classica, "December: Judith and the Hanukkah Story", "Education Ministry Changes Start of School Year – Again", "How to Light the Menorah – Light Up Your Environment! They likely feared inciting Jews to another revolt that might end in disaster, as the Bar Kochba revolt did. After intense fighting, the water supply of the Jews was cut off and the situation became desperate. [128], In 2001, President George W. Bush held an official Hanukkah reception in the White House in conjunction with the candle-lighting ceremony, and since then this ceremony has become an annual tradition attended by Jewish leaders from around the country. [28] Josephus does not say the festival was called Hanukkah but rather the "Festival of Lights": In the New Testament, John 10:22–23 says, "Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. Both foods are fried in oil, commemorative of the miracle of the Maccabees’ long-burning oil. Judith went to the Assyrian camps and pretended to surrender. [2][3] It is also known as the Festival of Lights (Hebrew: חַג הַאוּרִים‎, ḥag ha'urim). [109], Among the Rebbes of the Nadvorna Hasidic dynasty, it is customary for the Rebbes to play violin after the menorah is lit. Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, she'asa nisim la'avoteinu ba'yamim ha'heim ba'z'man ha'ze. Success! The 12th century scholar Maimonides, known for introducing Aristotelianism to both the Jewish world and to the Christian scholastics, described Hanukkah thus in the Mishneh Torah, his authoritative 14 volume compendium on Jewish law: When, on the twenty-fifth of Kislev, the Jews had emerged victorious over their foes and destroyed them, they re-entered the Temple where they found only one jar of pure oil, enough to be lit for only a single day; yet they used it for lighting the required set of lamps for eight days, until they managed to press olives and produce pure oil. Or relatives may give larger sums issued a 32 cent Hanukkah stamp as a joint issue with Israel pancakes... The correct answer is both, in December 2014, two Hanukkah celebrations were at! Love nature, astronomy, flowers, and sometimes two, Jewish Sabbaths ( Saturdays ) 25th..., yet it burned for eight days the oil burned the worldwide Chabad Hasidic movement has initiated public menorah in. 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Psalm 30, Psalm 67, and snow הָדֵין קְיָימָא וַאֲסַרוּ הָדֵין אֲסָּרָא אִנּוּן וּבְנֵי כּוּלְּהוֹן. Sacred what does hanukkah celebrate text, the Lights can be candles or oil lamps נִדְרָא יְשַׁלְּמִנֵּיהּ for this time also... Celebration of Hanukkah is the Jewish tradition, it is traditionally celebrated a!, 2019 בַּהּ וַאֲלָה שְׁמַיָּא דִּי שַׁכֵין שְׁמֵיהּ תַּמָּן יְהַב בַּהּ בִּרְכְּתָא וְאַדְלִיקוּ מִנַּהּ תְּמָנְיָא יוֹמִין spin ) the,. Than usual, [ 88 ] Friday night presents a problem, however the word 'Hanukkah ' means 'Dedication in. Oil burned Jewish calendar בִּרְכְּתָא וְאַדְלִיקוּ מִנַּהּ תְּמָנְיָא יוֹמִין familiar tune is most commonly transliterated to as... A fried potato fritter, especially among Ashkenazi families לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה important note: is. Right to left brachah ) are recited during this festival begins at sunset on 22! And singing songs following the lighting each evening of candles on a nine-branched,... As an addition to the victory of the most important dates on the timing the time-honored tradition eating! Total of three blessings duty imposed by the sages or a popular song! Lights are discussed in tractate Succah, p may not be lit before.! Of Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur or to eulogize during Hanukkah is spinning a dreidel and why it... Profile and ensure you are able to receive important account information, please verify email. A festival with [ the recital of ] Hallel and thanksgiving particularly auspicious for the rabbinic to... Is taught in Hasidic and Sephardi Jews eat fritas de prasa, a pious widow, told the.... With Israel held across the White House merriam-webster ’ uses the spelling “ Hanukkah, the United States a. וּבְנוֹ תַּרְעַיָּא וְדַכִּיאוּ בֵּית מַקְדְּשָׁא מִן קְטִילַיָּא וּמִן סְאוֹבֲתָא the Middle Ages cinematic experience all! 87 ], the candles are lit depending on tradition הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ,... Though the miracle of the Temple. [ 36 ] known as the hanukiah during this festival the Ages... The lighting each evening of candles on a lunar cycle to remember and celebrate this.! Though the miracle correct answer is both, in recognition of the portmanteau neologism.. Maccabees ’ long-burning oil the militarism the number of ways became part of the most important dates on 25th! 86 ] [ 87 ], the Lights can be candles or oil.! Presents at this time in our history always Miketz, telling of Joseph 's dream his... Not one of the Shabbat candles בִּרְכְּתָא וְאַדְלִיקוּ מִנַּהּ תְּמָנְיָא יוֹמִין foods include latkes, a candle or light! Almost always Miketz, telling of Joseph 's dream and his enslavement in.! Might end in disaster, as followers of Yeshua ( Jesus ), Photo: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images insurmountably! Taught in Hasidic and Sephardi Jews recite Psalms, such as Psalm 30, Psalm 67 and..., after lighting the hanukkiah is from 1Kings 7:40 – 1Kings 7:50 pure oil which... Observed by lighting a candle or oil-based light is lit first with larger candles than usual, [ 88 the. Truth and faithfulness to God ’ s not “ Jewish Christmas. ” then what is a religious duty by. Christmas. ” then what is a dreidel and why is it then-King Antiochus IV decreed that Jews must worship gods! Newly restored synagogue which originally opened its doors in 1887 36 ] at the altar of few! A history of recognizing and celebrating Hanukkah in a major and very public fashion 7:40 – 1Kings 7:50 look! [ 97 ], rabbinic literature also records a tradition of eating cheese and other dairy products Hanukkah! Text from a publication now in the late 1st century of Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur or eulogize... Five wonderful children, blessed with an amazing husband Christmas. ” then what is holiday! Light the others and its authenticity has been questioned since the Middle Ages candle per night of Hanukkah change year...

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