|The meaning of the Hebrew name:
| Meaning of the holiday:
|| commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians.
|| The initial h in Hanukkah is a gutteral one, like the j in José. So Hhhhhhanooka. You'll be fine, don't worry.
| Scripture Reference :
|| Numbers 7, John 9,10
|| Kislev 25 to Tevet 3
|| Fried foods, especially potato pancakes, called latkes, and jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot.
|| The main observance is lighting the candles in a ceremonial lamp called a hanukkiah or Hanukkah menorah. Playing with a top called a dreidel is another fun tradition. Hanukkah is a minor holiday in the sense that there is no requirement to abstain from work.
|Holiday symbols and symbolism:
|| Menorah, candles, dreidel.
|| Happy Hanukkah!
|| The LORD Jesus gives us light, the very “light of life.”
It is only by the Light of Jesus that we gain victory over the powers of darkness, since the darkness cannot comprehend the light. When we walk in the Light, we have fellowship, unity, echdut, with one another, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against such divinely sanctioned communion.
|Scripture Reference :
|| John 10, Matthew 5
About Chanukah - (Hanukkah)
The Hebrew word chanukah means "dedication" and marks an eight day winter celebration (from Kislev 25 - Tevet 3) that commemorates
the rededication of the Second Temple after a small group of Jewish believers defeated the forces of assimilation at work in their world.
As such, Chanukah represents the victory of faith over the ways of speculative reason, and demonstrates the power of the miracle in the
face of mere humanism.
In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in G‑d. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G‑d.
When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah.
At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. On the first night, we light just one flame. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled.
A menorah is lit in every household (or even by each individual within the household) and placed in a doorway or window. The menorah is also lit in synagogues and other public places. In recent years, thousands of jumbo menorahs have cropped up in front of city halls and legislative buildings, and in malls and parks all over the world.
On Chanukah, it is customary to play with a “dreidel” (a four-sided spinning top bearing the Hebrew letters, nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for nes gadol hayah sham, “a great miracle happened there”). The game is usually played for a pot of coins, nuts, or other stuff, which is won or lost based on which letter the dreidel lands when it is spun.
Dreidel: the Chanukah Game
Noting that one should spend time in close proximity to the Chanukah lights, the Previous Rebbe would say, “We must listen carefully to what the candles are saying.” So what are the flickering flames telling us? Here are some messages:
What It Means For You
Never be afraid to stand up for what’s right. Judah Maccabee and his band faced daunting odds, but that didn’t stop them. With a prayer on their lips and faith in their heart, they entered the battle of their lives—and won. We can do the same.
Always increase in matters of goodness and Torah-observance. Sure, a single flame was good enough for yesterday, but today needs to be even better.
A little light goes a long way. The Chanukah candles are lit when dusk is falling. Perched in the doorway, they serve as a beacon for the darkening streets. No matter how dark it is outside, a candle of G‑dly goodness can transform the darkness itself into light.
Take it to the streets. Chanukah is unique in that its primary mitzvah is observed in public. It’s not enough to be a Jew at heart, or even at home. Chanukah teaches us to shine outwards into our surroundings with the G‑dly glow of mitzvahs.
Don't be ashamed to perform mitzvahs, even if you will feel different. Rather, be like a menorah, proudly proclaiming its radiant uniqueness for all to see.
Jesus and Chanukah
In the Gospel of John we read that the LORD Jesus was at the Temple during the “Feast of Dedication,” or Chanukah:
At that time the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah) took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. (John 10:22-24, ESV)
During a season of remembering miracles (nissim), Jesus pointed out that the works that He did attested to His claim to be the long-awaited Mashiach of the Jewish people (John 10:37-38).
His works and character clearly displayed the true Light of who He was, and these works still shine to us today.
Jesus was and forever shall be the greatest Jew who ever lived upon the earth.
And of course, as Mashiach ben Yosef, our Suffering Servant, Yeshua is the Ultimate Shamash - He is our Light who enables us to shine a sacred fire of sacrificial love to the darkened outside world.
Yeshua commanded “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).
He told us that He is the Light of the world, and that whoever follows Him will not have darkness, but the Light of Life:
The LORD Jesus gives us light, the very “light of life.” What does this mean to you who claim to know Him and His message? How does this impact you as His follower in this darkened age?
We are called to be part of His Temple, His Body, and at this time we should reflect on rededicating ourselves to the eradication of all that compromises us and tempts us to assimilate with the hell bound world around us.
It is only by the Light of Jesus that we gain victory over the powers of darkness, since the darkness cannot comprehend the light.
When we walk in the Light, we have fellowship, unity, echdut, with one another, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against such divinely sanctioned communion.
May the LORD God of Israel, the Father of the Blessed One Yeshua, help us all to behold the glory of His Light by abiding in His love!
And may we turn to Him now and rededicate our own lives as temples cleansed and readied by His Spirit to honor His abiding Presence.