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Saturday, December 8, 2012

About Chanukah or Hanukkah

Intro: If and when we're open to and accept (new) ideas and knowledge, we grow and develop, and ultimately become mature and responsible citizens of the world. Since we live in a multifaceted environment, so colorful and diverse, it's interesting to know and learn other traditions, other than our own. By learning other's cultures, we become more aware of each others' life-experiences. Eventually, we make efforts to work together to solve our common problems, issues and concerns that affect the whole community and the world as a whole.

As a student of life, I try to find out about things and/or events that interest me. So this time I found some facts and information about the title above that I'd like to share with you, my dear folks and friends. Check it out:


For Jewish community, Chanukah, or Hanukkah (HAH-nu-kah), is the Feast/Festival of Lights. It is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays. It's a time for family and friends, lighting the Menorah, games of Dreidel, songs with children and sizzling potato "latkes." The holiday celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel. Chanukah is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple.It also commemorates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight (8) days. Thus, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days. It begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which falls in November or December. (This year, Hanukkah is observed on December 8-16.)

In the land of Judea, Judah Maccabee and his brothers fought against the Syrian king, Antiochus. The king had ordered the Jewish people to reject their God, their religion, their customs and their beliefs, and to worship the Greek gods. The Maccabees were finally successful in driving the Syrians out of Israel and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees cleaned the building and removed the hated Greek symbols and statues, and they wanted to light the eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid. The eternal light is present in every Jewish house of worship. Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished; however, only a tiny jug of oil was found with only enough oil for a single day. They filled and lit the oil lamp, and a miracle occurred as the tiny amount of oil kept the eternal light not for one day, but for eight days! The word "Chanukah," or "Hanukkah," means "dedication or re-dedication."


The Chanukah Menorah is called a HANUKIYAH. It has nine (9) candle holders. There are eight candles, one for each night of Chanukah. The ninth candle is called SHAMASH. It is lit first and then is used to light the other candles. The candles are placed in the Menorah from left to right.


Every night during Chanukah, the candles are lit and the evening prayers are recited. Each night of Chanukah, another candle of the Menorah is lighted until all eight lamps shine on the eight night.

Here's the prayer, with English translation:

Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam,
a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mits-vo tov,
ve-tsi-va-nu le-had-lik neir shel Han-nu-kah.

     Blessed is Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe,
     by whose mitzvot we are sanctified
     and who commands us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.

Ba-ruch atah, Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam
she-a-sa ni-sim las-a-vo-tei-nu
ba-ya-min ha-heim ba-ze-man ha-zah.

     Blessed is Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe,
     who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors
     in days of old, at this season.

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu me-lech ha-olam
he-heche-yi-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu
ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-seh.

     Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe,
     who has granted us life, sustained us,
     and enabled us to reach this occasion.


One of the best known symbols of Chanukah is the Dreidel (DRAY-duhl). The Dreidel is a four-sided spinning top. On each side is a Hebrew letter: Shin," "Hay," "Gimel," and "Nun." The letters mean "A Great Miracle Happened There."

Dreidel is a popular game played during Chanukah. Its origin dates back to Syrian rule. Children used to study the Torah in the secret. The TORAH is the entire body of Jewish religious literature, law, and teaching as contained chiefly in the Old Testament and the Talmud.


On Chanukah, it's  traditional to give all children Chanukah Gelt (money). Of course, this beautiful custom adds to the children's happiness and festive spirit. Today, some Hanukkah Gelt comes in the form of chocolate.

There you go, my dear folks and friends. To the Jewish community around the world, Happy Hanukkah!-chris a. quilpa, 08Dec2012

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