The last night of Hanukkah is a time for reflection and joy – the culmination of eight nights of celebration. It’s a time to review the meaningful lessons of the holiday and the incredible sacrifice made by the Maccabees. On the last night of Hanukkah, people say something special that looks to the future, and of course, offer their wishes for happy holidays.
The traditional phrase recited on the last night of Hanukkah is “Next Year in Jerusalem”. This is said with hope for the coming of the messiah. It is said with thought for the ongoing struggle for the Jewish people in their homeland and in the diaspora. While the phrase may seem simple, it hides a beautiful sentiment of hope and peace for the future.
The line is a reminder of the miraculous victory in rising up against the Greeks and the rededication of the temple, where one day of oil in the temple menorah kindled flames for eight full nights. This line references to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, the historical site where the Maccabees rededicated the temple after their great victory.
Hanukkah is often described as being more of a spiritual rather than a religious holiday. It is a reminder to celebrate love in our lives and of free will- a reminder that, even when we seem under the thumb of an oppressor, we have the power to reclaim our freedom. In a way, “Next Year in Jerusalem” functions in the same way – a reminder that, even against great odds, we can rebuild what has been damaged and hope for a brighter future.
On the final night of Hanukkah, we can reflect on the legacy left behind by Judah and his sons and the importance of his story for future generations. We celebrate not only the miracle of the lights that burned for eight days, but also the determination of Judah and his sons which turned that miracle into an inspiring legacy. We even bring the Maccabees story into the present, by remembering those people and places in our lives that need healing, and refuelling our individual and collective faith in a brighter tomorrow. On the last night of Hanukkah, then, we say with joy and pride “Next Year in Jerusalem”.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.