Festival Of Lights

The triumph for light over darkness, purity over adulteration, and spirituality over materiality

Begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Jewish month Kislev. Chanukah celebrates two miracles.

The first miracle was the army of Jews, known as the “Maccabees,” competing with the Greek army that occupied their Holy Land. The rebellion was influenced when the Greeks were attempting to spread their atheistic beliefs on the Jews living in Israel.

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The second miracle was when the Maccabees regained the Holy Temple from the Greeks, the Menorah (candlebar) only had a small amount of olive oil to burn the candles for light. The Menorahs were an important components of daily service in their temple. The olive oil found in the Menorah by the Maccabees was only able to light for one day but instead the oil burned for eight days and nights.

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To advertise these miracles, they instituted the festival of Chanukah. The main event of the festival is the nightly Menorah litghing. First there is a single flame on the first night, two on the second night, and so on till the eighth night.

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Chanukah means “induction” or “dedication”. After the Maccabees victory over the Greeks they rededicated the Holy Temple and it’s alter from pagan worship from the Greeks.


On each of the eight days of Chanukah, the menorah is lit. On the first night one is lit plus the shamash (attendant candle), on the second night two are lit plus the shamash, and so it is continued until the eighth night where all eight lights plus the shamash. The menorah lights can be either candles, or oil and wicks.

It is traditional to eat foods fried in oil on Chanukah, as a reminder of the miracle of Chanukah which occurred with oil. It is also a custom to eat dairy foods during the holiday.

It is customary on Chanukah to give money gifts to children, and to play dreidel games.

It is also customary to give an increased amount of charity each day of Chanukah.

There are also certain passages added to the daily prayers and Grace After Meals.

Foods fried in oil -- Latkes (potato pancakes) and Sufganiot (doughnuts)

How To Light A Menorah

How to Light the Chanukah Menorah
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Dreidel is a Yiddish word which comes from the word drei, which means to turn, or spin. The dreidel is a spinning top specially designed and used for Chanukah games


The holiday reminds Jews to rededicate themselves to stand against forces that would destroy Judaism and to keep alive the flame of Jewish religion, culture, so that it may be passed on to the next generation.

Other aspects of the holiday include the refusal to submit to the religious demands of an empire practicing idolatry, loss of Jewish identity, and the fight for Jewish political autonomy and self-determination

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The Maccabees

The leaders of a Jewish rebel army that took control of Judea (people of Judah in Israel).