Hanukkah or Chanukah

12/07/2023 4:30 pm
12/14/2023 9:30 pm
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Hanukkah or Chanukah

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) begins at sundown on Thursday, December 7, 2023, and ends the evening of Friday, December 15, 2023 (8 nights).

Contemporary Themes of Hanukkah:
* Liberation from occupation and assimilation
* Religious Freedom
* Shining our light into the world
* Cultural Survival

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 but poorly armed 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 (or Hellenized Jews). 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.

A more historically oriented telling has Hellenized (Greek cultured) assimilated Jews removed from the temple so that culturally authentic practices could be resumed.

To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah.

Date: 
06/22/2024 - 3:23am