Chanukah began tonight as Shabbat went out.
Chanukah has just begun here in Israel, and we have our Menorahs – or Chanukiyot as they are called in Israel – lit up at the window.
It is one of my favourite chagim, since it requires very little preparation but lots of eating! 🙂 This week we’re looking forward to several get-togethers with cousins as well as with our children and grandchildren.
Chanukah celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after it was desecrated by the occupying Greeks. This became possible by the miraculous military victory of the small and weak Jewish army led by Judah Maccabee and his brothers from the Hasmonean dynasty against the mighty Greek army.
But beyond the simple military victory there occurred an amazing miracle of a spiritual nature – the miracle of the single cruse of pure oil that was found, which enabled the rededication of the Temple to take place. The oil was only enough to burn for one day, while 8 days were needed to prepare a new batch of pure olive oil for the Menorah. The miracles continued when that little cruse of oil sufficed for the full 8 days. Thus we celebrate Chanukah for 8 days, lighting candles each night of the festival.
There are several customs associated with Channukah, chief amongst them eating foods made with or fried in oil (to commemorate the miracle of the jar of oil), especially latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jam-filled doughnuts – or jelly donuts for the Americans amongst us) and playing with the dreidel, a little spinning top. According to tradition, under Greek rule it was forbidden to study Torah, so students would gather in secret. If they were discovered by the Greeks they would pull out dreidels and pretend to be gambling or playing games.
As has become my custom, here are a couple of funny and cute Chanukah-related videos. First, we have Chanukah explained by Christians. 😀
Conversely we have Jewish comedian Elon Gold explaining why Jews really oughtn’t to want to celebrate Christmas. 😀
And how could we have Chanukah without sufganiyot (doughtnuts or jelly donuts)? Here is a super-fast and very easy (at least it looks like that!) recipe to prepare your own delicious sufganiyot:
Bete’avon and enjoy!
!חג אורים שמח