Hanukkah, The eight-day Festival of Light, begins on the eve of December 16 and celebrates two miracles:
a) The 2nd century BCE victory of a small, greatly outnumbered and out-armed army of Jews, known as the ‚ÄúMaccabees,‚Äù over the mighty Greek army that occupied the Holy Land. The rebellion was in response to the Greek attempt to force a Hellenistic G‚Äëdless lifestyle on the Jewish inhabitants of Israel.
b) The kindling of a seven-branched Menorah (candelabra) was an important component of the daily service in the Holy Temple. When the Maccabees liberated the Temple from the hands of the Greek invaders, they found only a small cruse of pure and undefiled olive oil fit for fueling the Menorah. The problem was, it was sufficient to light the Menorah only for one day, and it would take eight days to produce new pure oil. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days and nights.
The celebration includes the lighting of one candle of the Menorah,¬†a nine-branched candelabra, after nightfall (aside for Friday afternoon, when the candles are lit shortly before sunset). ¬†There is a specific order to lighting the candles in the Menorah and many traditions and customs followed that include certain foods, the giving of gifts or money (gelt), playing dreidel games, increasing gifts to charity and specific passages added to the daily prayers.
We here at SargesList wish that¬†the warmth of joy, glow of prosperity and the sparkle of happiness may bless you and yours this holiday season. ¬†Happy Hanukkah!