Friday, December 11, 2009

Chanukkah 2009


Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by Jews for eight days, commencing on the 25th day of the month of Kislev (November/December). This year (2009) Hanukkah begins on the eve of December 11.


Not really. The eight lights are lit to celebrate a miraculous happening.

The victory was necessary for it to happen.

The victory was that of the Jews over the Hellenist Syrians in 165 BCE.

Following their victory, the Maccabees, sons of the Priestly Hasmonean family which led the Jews in their revolt against the Syrian overlords, entered the Holy Temple in Jerusalem defiled by the Syrian invaders, cleansed it and dedicated it anew to the service of God. Then, in memory of their victory, the Maccabees celebrated the first Hanukkah. (Hanukkah is the Hebrew term for "dedication").

The Talmud, the body of Jewish oral law, relates how the Judean heroes, led by Judah Maccabee, were making ready to rededicate the Temple and were unable to find enough undefiled oil to light the lamps. However, in one of the Temple chambers, they finally came upon a small cruse of oil which, under normal circumstances, would have lasted only one evening. Miraculously, this small amount of oil kept the Temple lights burning, not for one night, but for all the eight nights until new oil fit for use in the temple could be obtained. This is the miracle commemorated by the kindling of the Hanukkah lights.

The miracle would never have occurred, had the Temple in Jerusalem remained defiled and in the foreign (non-Jewish) hands that had sacrificed a pig in the Holy of Holies.

Why was there no Islamic presence in Jerusalem at this time? No mention of the Islamic conquerors of the Greeks in Judea? Well, guess what: the events described in the "hanukkah story" took place some 700 years before there was such a thing as a "Moslem," an "Islam," an Arab "prophet" that called himself "Mohammed."

No comments: