The eight days of Hanukkah began tonight at sunset. It continues until December 24th, this year.
Yeshua & Magdalene, and Mary the Holy Mother all observed this beautiful holiday in their day. I wonder if their local synagogues had small menorahs to light, or if they had miniature ones at home like modern Jews use.
The Temple-liberators, the Maccabees, were only able to find one jar of consecrated oil, which was used to keep the Eternal Flame alight in the Temple. It should only have burned a day, but it ended up lasting eight days, long enough for more oil to arrive and be consecrated. In addition to this patriarchal military victory, two women are honored at this time of year: Judith, who saved Judah from being conquered by a general under Nebuchadnezzar; and Hannah, the mother of seven sons who died with them instead of bowing to a foreign idol. There is a plethora of information on Hannukah, please do research it. Hannukah is a celebration of light overcoming darkness (good overcoming evil, God’s chosen ones overcoming oppression) and is therefore a very rich part of our Esoteric tradition.
You may know the basic props of Hanukkah: a menorah, a dreidel and chocolate coins. But here’s the inside story on Hanukkah, which began Tuesday at sundown.
Q • Isn’t this a no-big-deal Jewish holiday that’s pumped up just because it falls so close to Christmas?
Hanukkah is considered a minor Jewish holiday, and the story it commemorates — the ancient and outnumbered Maccabees who triumphed over their Hellenistic oppressors to preserve their faith — is not based in the Torah, the Hebrew Bible.
And there’s no denying that Hanukkah is a bigger deal in majority Christian nations because it’s celebrated near — and sometimes on — Christmas. With all the Christmas hoopla, it’s not surprising that Jews have turned Hanukkah into a grander celebration than it might have been otherwise.
But Hanukkah is still important, and underscores one of the most significant themes in Jewish history: the struggle to practice Judaism when powerful forces seek to extinguish it.
Q • Why does the miracle of Hanukkah lead Jews to eat jelly donuts?
It’s all about the oil. When the pious Maccabees reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem, around 165 B.C. , they found only enough unadulterated oil to light the temple’s candelabra, or menorah, for one day. But miraculously, according to the Talmud, a body of rabbinic teaching, the oil lasted for eight days.
To celebrate Hanukkah, aka the Festival of Lights, Jews light a candle on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and one more on each successive night of the eight-night holiday. Gastronomically, Hanukkah focuses on foods cooked in oil, most typically latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil) and jelly donuts.
Q • Hanukkah? Chanukkah, Hanukka. How come there are a million different ways to spell it?
Variations abound mostly because of the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the “chet,” with which the word “Hanukkah” begins in Hebrew. “Chet” doesn’t have an equivalent in English. And the double K’s? In classical Hebrew, there’s a dot in the middle of the Hebrew letter “kaf,” which indicates an especially robust “k” sound.
Q • OK, now that I know how to spell it, what does it mean?
Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew, in that the temple, which had been turned into a pagan shrine, was rededicated to God.
Q • Do Jewish children get presents on all eight nights of Hanukkah?