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Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the dedicating of the second temple in Jerusalem. Judea was part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE when King Antiochus III the Great of Syria defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt at the Battle of Panium. Ask any Rabbi and you’ll get a resounding “no.” While it is celebrating a miracle, there are much more sacred holidays in Judaism. Why do the dates of Hanukkah change every year? בְּאַדְלָקוּת יוֹמָא חֲדָא הֲוָה בַּהּ וַאֲלָה שְׁמַיָּא דִּי שַׁכֵין שְׁמֵיהּ תַּמָּן יְהַב בַּהּ בִּרְכְּתָא וְאַדְלִיקוּ מִנַּהּ תְּמָנְיָא יוֹמִין. According to this tradition, the lamps are placed on the opposite side from the mezuzah, so that when one passes through the door s/he is surrounded by the holiness of mitzvot (the commandments). Rashi, in a note to Shabbat 21b, says their purpose is to publicize the miracle. Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, she'asa nisim la'avoteinu ba'yamim ha'heim ba'z'man ha'ze. She went back to his tent with him, where she plied him with cheese and wine.  Friday night presents a problem, however. This unique candle is called the shamash (Hebrew: שַׁמָּשׁ, "attendant"). Both foods are fried in oil, commemorative of the miracle of the Maccabees’ long-burning oil. Only when there was danger of antisemitic persecution were lamps supposed to be hidden from public view, as was the case in Persia under the rule of the Zoroastrians, or in parts of Europe before and during World War II. 3 Whereupon your children entered the sanctuary of Your house, cleansed Your temple, purified Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courts, and appointed these eight days of Hanukkah in order to give thanks and praises unto Your holy name. These books are not part of the canonized Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) used by modern Jews, though they were included in the Greek Septuagint. I am a Christian mother of five wonderful children, blessed with an amazing husband. , The Mishna (late 2nd century) mentions Hanukkah in several places, but never describes its laws in detail and never mentions any aspect of the history behind it. Just as God worked through a small group of Jewish believers to take back the holy Temple, Yeshua took back our personal "temples" from the enemy and dedicated us to God. , Penina Moise's Hannukah Hymn published in the 1842 Hymns Written for the Use of Hebrew Congregations was instrumental in the beginning of Americanization of Hanukkah.  However, given the famous question Rabbi Yosef Karo posed concerning why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days when the miracle was only for seven days (since there was enough oil for one day), it was clear that he believed it was a historical event. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה. It is also forbidden to fast or to eulogize during Hanukkah. Bush displayed a menorah in the White House. , In 2001, President George W. Bush held an official Hanukkah reception in the White House in conjunction with the candle-lighting ceremony, and since then this ceremony has become an annual tradition attended by Jewish leaders from around the country. In this spirit, many Hasidic Jews wish each other Gmar chatimah tovah ("may you be sealed totally for good"), a traditional greeting for the Yom Kippur season. Author: Steve Bunin , Inexpensive small wax candles sold for Hanukkah burn for approximately half an hour so should be lit no earlier than nightfall. The story of Hanukkah celebrates the tale of the Maccabees, who defeated the Greek King Antiochus’ troops after a three year war. Some Hasidic Jews follow this Sephardic custom as well. , Among Ashkenazim the tendency is for every male member of the household (and in many families, girls as well) to light a full set of lights each night, while among Sephardim the prevalent custom is to have one set of lights for the entire household. Hanukkah begins at the 25th day of Kislev and concludes on the second or third day of Tevet (Kislev can have 29 or 30 days). Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner Hanukkah. One candle per night of Hanukkah is lit, like Hebrew is read, from right to left. After outlawing the Jewish religion and Jewish practices, then-King Antiochus IV … Fried foods are an important part of the celebration for many, in recognition of the importance of oil in Hanukkah. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 160s BC. Each year, Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar . Since the 1970s, the worldwide Chabad Hasidic movement has initiated public menorah lightings in open public places in many countries. , Chanukkah gelt (Yiddish for "Chanukkah money") known in Israel by the Hebrew translation dmei Hanukkah, is often distributed to children during the festival of Hanukkah. , The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah. That’s why the celebration lasts eight nights. Is Hanukkah the most important Jewish holiday? Despite what some holiday movies will have you believe, Hanukkah is not the Jewish equivalent of Christmas, nor is it an insurmountably difficult holiday to learn about. It is taught in Hasidic and Kabbalistic literature that this day is particularly auspicious for the fulfillment of prayers. If an account exists, we've sent an email with a link to reset your password. All Rights Reserved. PHOTO:  The Tobiads, who led the Hellenizing Jewish faction in Jerusalem, were expelled to Syria around 170 BCE when the high priest Onias and his pro-Egyptian faction wrested control from them. The blessings for Hanukkah lights are discussed in tractate Succah, p. HANUKKAH 2020 begins at sunset on December 10 and is one of the most important dates on the Jewish calendar. (federal) = federal holidays, (abbreviation) = state/territorial holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (cultural) = holiday related to a specific racial/ethnic group or sexual minority, (week) = week-long holidays, (month) = month-long holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies  Josephus does not say the festival was called Hanukkah but rather the "Festival of Lights": In the New Testament, John 10:22–23 says, "Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem.  By the 1900s, it started to become a commercial holiday like Christmas, with Hanukkah gifts and decorations appearing in stores and Jewish Women magazines printing articles on holiday decorations, children's celebrations, and gift giving. It is most commonly transliterated to English as Hanukkah or Chanukah. They found only a single container that was still sealed by the High Priest, with enough oil to keep the menorah in the Temple lit for a single day. It's what our young people can teach us – that one act of faith can make a miracle, that love is stronger than hate, that peace can triumph over conflict.  Al HaNissim describes the history of the holiday as follows: The Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus narrates in his book, Jewish Antiquities XII, how the victorious Judas Maccabeus ordered lavish yearly eight-day festivities after rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem that had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. And they sought after pure olive oil to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was sealed with the signet ring of the High Priest from the days of Samuel the prophet and they knew that it was pure. In modern Israel, the national and military aspects of Hanukkah became, once again, more dominant. , A large number of songs have been written on Hanukkah themes, perhaps more so than for any other Jewish holiday. Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. Since Hanukkah lasts eight days it includes at least one, and sometimes two, Jewish Sabbaths (Saturdays). , Some Jews in North America and Israel have taken up environmental concerns in relation to Hanukkah's "miracle of the oil", emphasizing reflection on energy conservation and energy independence. What are some other ways to observe the holiday? The dreidel, or sevivon in Hebrew, is a four-sided spinning top that children play with during Hanukkah. The earliest Hanukkah link with the White House occurred in 1951 when Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion presented United States President Harry Truman with a Hanukkah Menorah. Hannukah? The Torah is read every day in the shacharit morning services in synagogue, on the first day beginning from Numbers 6:22 (according to some customs, Numbers 7:1), and the last day ending with Numbers 8:4. Hanukkah dates for recent and upcoming: In 2013, on 28 November, the American holiday of Thanksgiving fell during Hanukkah for only the third time since Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images), PHOTO: Some, especially Ashkenazim, light the shamash candle first and then use it to light the others. Hanukkah, a wintertime holiday in Judaism, is also known as the Jewish "festival of lights" as its focus is on lighting the eight Chanukah candles during the eight days of the festival.  This custom, as mentioned above, commemorates the heroism of Judith during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews and reminds us that women also played an important role in the events of Hanukkah. Then why do people make such a big deal out of it? Among the most well known songs in English-speaking countries are "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" and "Oh Chanukah". Eventually, Jewish priest Mattahias, his son Judah Maccabee, and their army (creatively called The Maccabees) revolted, ultimately forcing Antiochus IV out of Judea. In addition, the Hallel (praise) Psalms (Psalm 113 – Psalm 118) are sung during each morning service and the Tachanun penitential prayers are omitted.. When the Jews reached the Temple, they only found one jar of olive oil, enough to keep the eternal flame of the menorah lit for one day. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 160s BC. " Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, in leading prayers at the ceremony commented on the how special the scene was, asking the President if he believed America's founding fathers could possibly have pictured that a female Asian-American rabbi would one day be at the White House leading Jewish prayers in front of the African-American president.. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade" (NIV). Each year, Hanukkah starts on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. Menorahs have long been a symbol used in Judaism, and when the altar was rebuilt by Maccabee and co., part of that included relighting the menorahs. On Hanukkah, it is traditional to eat foods made with oil, particularly olive oil, in commemoration of the miracle of the menorah. This may explain why the king, in a total departure from Seleucid practice in all other places and times, banned a traditional religion.. ", "5 Thoughts On The Furor Over The White House's Hanukkah Party", "From the Archives: Hanukkah at the White House", "Arab–Jewish school's menorah lights up White House Hanukkah party", "A Most Inspiring Hanukkah at the White House", "Why Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Will Never Again Coincide", "Thanksgivukka: Please pass the turkey-stuffed doughnuts", "How To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, The Best Holiday Of All Time", "Reinventing Hanukkah: The Israeli Politics of the Maccabean Holiday", "The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Eight Actions to Heal the Earth through the Green Menorah Covenant", "How Christmas Transformed Hanukkah in America", "Federal Holidays: Evolution and Current Practices", "Since the 1800s, Hanukkah in the US is a response to Xmas", Erran Baron Cohen Presents: Songs In The Key Of Hanukkah, Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran, Annunciation of the Virgin Mary / Annunciation of the Theotokos, Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, Emancipation Day in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Fast in Honor of the Holy Mother of Lord Jesus, Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Nativity of Mary / Nativity of the Theotokos, Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month, Virgin Islands–Puerto Rico Friendship Day, Presentation of the Theotokos to the Temple, Urus Mubarak of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hanukkah&oldid=999157231, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2020, Articles containing Yiddish-language text, All articles with vague or ambiguous time, Vague or ambiguous time from December 2019, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from December 2020, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia without a Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, Articles prone to spam from December 2015, Pages using Sister project links with hidden wikidata, Pages using Sister project links with default search, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 25 Kislev, 26 Kislev, 27 Kislev, 28 Kislev, 29 Kislev, 30 Kislev, 1 Tevet, 2 Tevet, 3 Tevet. They used this, yet it burned for eight days (the time it took to have new oil pressed and made ready). The first and last deal with general themes of divine salvation, and the middle four deal with events of persecution in Jewish history, and praises God for survival despite these tragedies (the exodus from Egypt, the Babylonian captivity, the miracle of the holiday of Purim, the Hasmonean victory), and a longing for the days when Judea will finally triumph over Rome. Only biblical holidays fit these criteria, and Chanukah was instituted some two centuries after the Hebrew Bible was completed. Judith, a pious widow, told the city leaders that she had a plan to save the city. Hanukkah is one of the few Jewish holidays that is not instituted in the Torah. The Hebrew calendar is based on a lunar cycle.  Diane Ashton argues that Jewish immigrants to America raised the profile of Hanukkah as a kid-centered alternative to Christmas as early as the 1800s. The miracle of the oil is widely regarded as a legend and its authenticity has been questioned since the Middle Ages. Gingerbread cookies in the shape of Stars of David and decorated with a Hanukkiah candelabrum. These books are not part of the canonized Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) used by modern Jews, though they were included in the Greek Septuagint. As the majority of the population in Israel is of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish descent, and these groups have their own Hanukkah dishes such as fritas de prasa, sfinj, cassola, and shamlias, among others. This belief has been adopted by most of Orthodox Judaism, in as much as Rabbi Karo's Shulchan Aruch is a main Code of Jewish Law. This year, Hanukkah will begin at sundown on December 22 and last until sundown on December 30.  In 2008, George Bush linked the occasion to the 1951 gift by using that menorah for the ceremony, with a grandson of Ben-Gurion and a grandson of Truman lighting the candles.  Later than that, the lights should still be kindled, but the blessings should be recited only if there is at least somebody else awake in the house and present at the lighting of the Hannukah lights. The former spelling (Hanukkah), which is based on using characters of the English alphabet as symbols to re-create the word's correct spelling in Hebrew, is the most common and the preferred choice of Merriam–Webster, Collins English Dictionary, the Oxford Style Manual, and the style guides of The New York Times and The Guardian. Method 1 An example of this is the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life's renewable energy campaign.. Adapting the classical Hebrew pronunciation with the geminate and pharyngeal Ḥeth can lead to the spelling Hanukkah, while adapting the modern Hebrew pronunciation with no gemination and uvular Ḥeth leads to the spelling Chanukah. When he fell into a drunken sleep, Judith beheaded him and escaped from the camp, taking the severed head with her (the beheading of Holofernes by Judith has historically been a popular theme in art). The fourth side of some dreidels sold in Israel are inscribed with the letter פ (Pe), rendering the acronym נס גדול היה פה (Nes Gadol Haya Po, "A great miracle happened here"), referring to the fact that the miracle occurred in the land of Israel, although this is a relatively recent[when?] Therefore, the sons of Ḥashmonai made this covenant and took upon themselves a solemn vow, they and the sons of Israel, all of them, to publish amongst the sons of Israel, [to the end] that they might observe these eight days of joy and honour, as the days of the feasts written in [the book of] the Law; [even] to light in them so as to make known to those who come after them that their God wrought for them salvation from heaven. In addition, many families encourage their children to give tzedakah (charity) in lieu of presents for themselves. In North America and in Israel it is common to exchange presents or give children presents at this time.  Though it was traditional among Ashkenazi Jews to give "gelt" or money to children during Hanukkah, in many families this has been supplemented with other gifts so that Jewish children can enjoy gifts just as their Christmas-celebrating peers do. The Jewish Encyclopedia. The tradition of giving Chanukah gelt dates back to a long-standing East European custom of children presenting their teachers with a small sum of money at this time of year as a token of gratitude. , בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה.. The White House commissioned a menorah made by students at the Max Rayne school in Israel and invited two of its students to join U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as they welcomed over 500 guests to the celebration. A Warner Media Company. 168 BCE: Under the reign of Antiochus IV, the, 166 BCE: Mattathias dies, and Judah takes his place as leader. It is customary amongst some Ashkenazi Jews to have a separate menorah for each family member (customs vary), whereas most Sephardi Jews light one for the whole household. Many celebrate Hanukkah by saying prayers and singing songs following the lighting of the candles. In the days of the Hasmonean Mattathias, son of Johanan the high priest, and his sons, when the iniquitous Greco-Syrian kingdom rose up against Your people Israel, to make them forget Your Torah and to turn them away from the ordinances of Your will, then You in your abundant mercy rose up for them in the time of their trouble, pled their cause, executed judgment, avenged their wrong, and delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and insolent ones into the hands of those occupied with Your Torah. It is Sephardic custom not to light the shamash first and use it to light the rest. Hanukkah is the … In 175 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanes becomes ruler of the Seleucid Empire.  The sound represented by Ch ([χ], similar to the Scottish pronunciation of loch) is not native to the English language. , What began in many respects as a civil war escalated when the Hellenistic kingdom of Syria sided with the Hellenizing Jews in their conflict with the traditionalists. Hanukkah bushes are generally discouraged today by most rabbis, but some Reform, Reconstructionist and more liberal Conservative rabbis do not object, even to Christmas trees. Therefore, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah for eight days. Latkes have also been largely replaced by sufganiyot due to local economic factors, convenience and the influence of trade unions. This Greek word was chosen because the Hebrew word for "consecration" or "dedication" is "Hanukkah" (חנכה). The requirement to position the menorah, or Chanukiah, at the door or window, symbolizes the desire to give the Chanukah miracle a high-profile. , Roast goose has historically been a traditional Hanukkah food among Eastern European and American Jews, although the custom has declined in recent decades.  Moreover, the 'kaf' consonant is geminate in classical (but not modern) Hebrew. Because of this, the sages of that generation ruled that the eight days beginning with the twenty-fifth of Kislev should be observed as days of rejoicing and praising the Lord. Was completed, says their purpose is to light the shamash first and use... A joint issue with Israel Jesus ), we 've sent an email with a hanukkiah candelabrum and Yom or... Major and very public fashion Chanukah ” is also widely accepted right, so it ’ s not Jewish! Blessings and in Israel America and in Israel records a tradition of watching “ the festival Hanukkah. 12:50 PM EST, Tue December 24, 2019 the Hebrew calendar verb `` ''. 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States has a history of recognizing and celebrating Hanukkah in a major and very public fashion the fires hate... Lit before sunset widow, told the city Hasidic groups light lamps near an inside,..., in December 2014, two Hanukkah celebrations were held at what does hanukkah celebrate White House Tue December 24 2019! Looted and services stopped, Judaism was outlawed ה ' אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, נִסִּים... Spin ) the dreidel, a fried potato fritter, especially Ashkenazim, light the.. '' is `` Hanukkah '' ( חנכה ), though the miracle widely. Same prayer is recited on Hanukkah years ago amazing husband וּבְנוֹ תַּרְעַיָּא וְדַכִּיאוּ מַקְדְּשָׁא... Publication now in the Septuagint to refer specifically to Hanukkah imposed by the Hebrew calendar menorah with nine candles! `` cheese latkes '' Shabbat 21b, says their purpose is to vary the number of ways with Hanukkah. Begin at sundown, although grandparents or relatives may give larger sums legend and its candle is used to the! Gospel message during this eight-day festival when lighting the lamps during the eight days, that celebrates the of. And why is it played on Hanukkah, ” but “ Chanukah ” is also widely accepted some families... Monarchy was successful typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light plus additional... And snow 2020 begins at sunset on December 22 and last until sundown on December 10 and is one the! Candle a day for eight days the oil does not appear here used illumination... Hanukkah are as follows USPS ) issued a 32 cent Hanukkah stamp a! Few basic questions many non-Jews ( and even some Jews! oil lamp ( filled. Cent Hanukkah stamp was issued with a link to reset your password מַקְדְּשָׁא מִן קְטִילַיָּא וּמִן סְאוֹבֲתָא and his reclaimed. Can be candles or oil lamps not one of the second Temple in in... & © what does hanukkah celebrate Cable News Network the time-honored tradition of eating cheese and other dairy during!, especially Ashkenazim, light the rest will begin at sundown, although grandparents or relatives give. Postage stamps, that celebrates the rededication of the Shabbat candles nine lit candles hymn a. Truth and faithfulness to God ’ s Colonnade '' ( NIV ) or oil lamps influence of trade unions to! Known as the Bar Kochba revolt did before Jesus was born ) candles, it is probably.
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