Chanukah began last night around the world, 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 our children and grandchildren as well as a couple of shows. Tonight, like last year, I’m heading out to Kdumim in the Shomron, this time to a show by the Gevatron Choir together with the famous singer Yardena Arazi ♥. Later in the week we plan to attend a Chanukah party in Jerusalem for the children of AV Israel (including our granddaughter Shaked, she of the Happy New Ears). I’m really looking forward to seeing Shaked, who with her fully functioning cochlear implants can now hear normally and is beginning to speak like any other not-quite two-year old – singing and dancing with the other children. 😍
Looking back at last year’s Chanukah post, it is remarkable how Donald Trump’s timely recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital passed into law without any of the dire consequences that were foretold. On the other hand the world still seems obsessed with denying Jewish history in our land, and are intent on ripping Jerusalem away from the Jews.
Just this week the UN General Assembly approved six (!) anti-Israel resolutions including two which deny the connection of the Temple Mount to Judaism.
The United Nations General Assembly approved six anti-Israel resolutions including two that reject Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem.
The resolutions were passed on Friday.
The resolution on Jerusalem, which refers to the Temple Mount only by its Arab name of Haram al-Sharif and states that under Israeli administration of Jerusalem there is a lack of religious freedom, passed by a vote of 148 votes in favor, 11 against and 14 abstentions.
Other resolutions dealt with “the Syrian Golan,” “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat,” and “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine,” among others. They passed by equally wide margins.
UN Watch has a handy chart of who voted for, against or abstained. Click to enlarge.
It is gratifying to know that Canada joined with the United States in voting against the resolutions, and not simply taking the cowards’ way out like the UK when they abstained. Australia too remains a staunch ally of Israel.
The timing of this vote, occurring just before Chanukah, is not easily ignored.
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.
With all this in mind – the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish UN resolutions denying any connection between the Israel (read: the Jews) and the Temple Mount, and the historical events of Chanukah – read these interesting tweets which highlight the absurdity and irony (I’m looking at you Jeremy Corbyn) of “Temple Denial” on the very festival which celebrates the Temple’s rededication by the Jewish People.
As for my oblique reference to Jeremy Corbyn earlier, see this sharply pertinent tweet:
To see how times have changed, look at the chilling picture below – and then at the amazing one below it:
And for a much happier picture, this is what greeted me when I walked in to Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikva for my volunteer work this morning – a humungous Chanukiya, 5 storeys tall, made out of thousands of balloons!
And just in case you were wondering how on earth you spell Chanukah, here is a handy guide:
Wishing you all Chanukah Same’ach! Happy Chanukah!