The pleasure of the holidays. And so it begins with Hanukkah! Here’s what I’ve learned…
The eight-day Festival of Lights begins tonight at sundown. More than twenty-one centuries ago, against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews known as the Maccabees defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, driving the Greeks from their land, reclaiming the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicating it to the service God. (Hanukkah means “dedication”)
Determined to purify the Temple, as it was considered “spiritually defiled” from being used for the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine, the Maccabees resolved to burning ritual oil for eight days. Even though they discovered that there was only one day’s worth of oil left in the Temple (perhaps from frying all that bacon), they lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days.
So for the next eight days and eight nights, our Jewish friends will light the hanukkiyah; eat fried foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (jelly-filled donuts); play with a dreidel (a spinning top); and give or receive Hanukkah gelt, MONEY.
This is the miracle of Hanukkah!
To enhance your Hanukkah-edumacation I turn your attention to this brilliant video. These guys remind me a lot of Glee’s Warblers. Right?!