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Happy Hanukkah

Today is the first day of the eight days of Hanukkah.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday From the Hebrew word for “dedication” or “consecration”. Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the forces of the King of Syria Antiochus IV Epiphanes and commemorates the “miracle of the container of oil”. According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.

Hanukkah is observed for eight nights by the kindling of the lights of a special candelabra, the nine-branched Menorah , one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. An extra light called a shamash (Hebrew: “guard” or “servant”) is also lit each night for the purpose of lighting the others, and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The “shamash” symbolically supplies light that may be used for some secular purpose.

Hanukkah is also a time to enjoy amazingly delicious traditional Jewish foods. Mmmm….


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