Famille Du Pentium

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hanukkah Day 1

Yay! Hanukkah is here.

We tend to think a lot about Hanukkah as being a “December-themed” holiday, or the Jewish version of Christmas.  But we rarely actually think about why we celebrate Hanukkah.  Tonight, while I was once again busy downloading the blessings over the first candle lighting, Marla – always the early childhood teacher – was doing a bang-up job of teaching the kids about what Hanukkah is really about.  And now I will relay the story to you.  The story, and links to the pictures, after the jump…

In the second century BCE, Antiochus IV ruled the Seleucid Empire.  During his rule, he occupied the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.  This was a major holy place for the Jews, and it’s occupation and desecration was a major problem of the day.  The Maccabees staged a revolt, and took back the Holy Temple from the Syrian forces, and rededicated it.  A key part of rededication was the burning of the Eternal Flame.  However, the desecration of the Temple had left only enough consecrated (holy) olive oil to burn one night, and it would take eight nights to prepare a fresh batch.

This process was highly complex, and required placing a tarp under the olive trees and shaking them, taking only the olives that fell out.  Then the olives would be soaked in salt water, which would have to be refreshed every night for eight nights.  Finally, on the eighth night, the olives could be hand-pressed and the oil collected for burning the eternal flame.

Undeterred, the Macabees relit the Eternal flame.  And it burned for eight nights, enough time to prepare more olive oil.  It was considered a minor, yet important miracle of the day.

So we celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple and the ongoing burning of the Eternal Flame by lighting candles for eight nights.

Pictures HERE, happy Hanukkah!

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 6:21 pm  

1 Comment

  1. […] to Judaism and her grandkids light candles around the same time as her.  There’s certainly a story behind Hanukkah, and I’m sure my Mom knows the story, but the point is that she’s lighting candles on […]

    Pingback by Famille Du Pentium :: Hanukkah Day 2 — December 22, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

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