Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday observed for eight days and nights beginning on the 25th day of Kislev. It commemorates the victory of the Jews over the Syrian-Greeks in the Maccabean Revolt of 165 BCE. The holiday is also associated with the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem, which had been desecrated by the Syrians. On Hanukkah, Jews celebrate by lighting the Menorah, spinning the Dreidel, and eating traditional fried foods such as latkes and sufganiyot.
<h2>A Brief History of Hanukkah</h2>
<p>The origins of Hanukkah can be traced back to the second century BCE, when two families from the tribe of Judah, the Maccabees and the Hasmoneans, led a successful revolt against the Syrian-Greeks. The revolt achieved a decisive victory and the Jews reclaimed the Temple of Jerusalem.</p>
<h2>The Meaning of Hanukkah</h2>
<p>The holiday of Hanukkah is associated with several themes, including the centrality of the Maccabees’ victory, the miraculous nature of the oil that was used in the rededication of the Temple, and the idea of dedication, or “kiddush Hashem”.</p>
<h3>The Miracle of the Oil</h3>
<p>The most famous of the Hanukkah miracles is associated with the oil that was used in the Temple’s re-dedication. According to tradition, when the Jews entered the Temple they found only one undefiled cruse of oil, enough to last only one day. Miraculously, however, the oil burned for eight days, the amount of time needed to prepare a new supply of oil.</p>
<p>The notion of dedication is also associated with Hanukkah. This notion is perhaps best expressed in the words “Kiddush Hashem”, which connotes the idea of rededicating oneself to living a life in accordance with the dictates of the Torah.</p>
<h3>Symbols of Hanukkah</h3>
<p>The most well-known symbols associated with Hanukkah are most likely the menorah and the dreidel. The menorah is a sensitive reminder of the importance of the dedication of the Beit Hamikdash and of our obligation to serve G-d in our own lives. The dreidel is a four sided top inscribed with Hebrew letters that represents the randomness of fate and our dependence on G-d</p>
Therefore, Hanukkah is a meaningful holiday filled with important messages and ideas. It is a celebration of the miraculous victory of the Jews over the Syrian-Greeks, the dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem, and the idea of dedication and service to the Jewish people. Celebrating Hanukkah can help us remember the importance of these themes and to lead fuller and more dedicated Jewish lives.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.