Happy Chanukah!

Kacey

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For those who are unaware, Chanukah starts tonight at sundown. I would like to wish a happy Chanukah to all those who will be celebrating with me, and a happy holiday season to all, regardless of which holiday(s) (if any) you observe!

From chabad.org:

Chanukah in a Nutshell


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Chanukah -- the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of Kislev 25 -- celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.
More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G-d.
When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.
On Chanukah we also recite Hallel and the Al HaNissim prayer to offer praise and thanksgiving to G-d for "delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few... the wicked into the hands of the righteous."
Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil -- latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, "a great miracle happened there"); and the giving of Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children.

Those who would like to learn more can look here (in addition to all of the links in the above article)
 

Tez3

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Chanukah started here a little while ago, and I wish you all a happy holiday! May your lives be filled with light and hope.

 

Ninjamom

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Yom tov!!

A bit more background:

Immediately before this time of celebration, all Judaea had been conquered by the Seleucids - the Syrian-Greeks who inherited part of Alexander the Great's old empire. One Syrian king, Antiochus IV rose to power and set about systematically to uproot every bit of Jewish culture and religion he could find. He made possession of any scrap of Hebrew scriptures or the practice of circumcision to be punishable by death. Celebrations of the Sabbath or any Biblical festival or feastday were prohibited. Public inquisitions were made, and Jews were forced to bow down and sware loyalty to the Greek gods or die.

Antiochus IV was known as 'Antiochus Epiphanes', translated as 'Antiochus the Illustrious', or 'Antiochus the Manifest God'. So hated and despised was this man (for his character, his arrogance, and his flagrant blasphemy), that the Jews nicknamed him 'Antiochus Epimanes', or 'Antiochus the Madman'. Finally, in his greatest act of sacrilege, Antiochus set up an idol (probably to Zeus) inside the Holy of Holies (the innermost chamber of the temple in Jerusalem), and sacrificed a pig on the brazen altar. (Aside: Some Bible scholars believe this event was the "Abomination of Desolation", spoken of by the prophet Daniel. [see Daniel 11:31, Matthew 24:15, and others])

It was against this background that the Jewish people, under the leadership of the Maccabees, revolted against an empire and won back their freedom to worship according to the laws of God and of their conscience. It was then that the lights inside this very temple had to be kept burning from the very small supply of oil that was left, as the temple was rededicated to service to God. (New Testament connection: John 10:22-23, which says Jesus was in the temple at the time of the Feast of the Dedication, is a reference to Chanukah, the commemoration of this temple re-dedication.)

The Maccabees were greatly outnumbered, outmanned, outgunned, outtrained, and outsupplied. But they won, because it's not the size and depth of the darkness that matters, but the power behind that single candle that dares to shine in the face of it, that matters. A single person fueled by faith, who stands to do what is right in the face of opposition, can still make a difference in the world. Something to think about during this Festival of Lights.


More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1589&letter=A
 

Carol

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A wonderful celebration of religious freedom. :asian:

All the best for a happy and peaceful Chanukah!
 
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