The Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah begins this Friday, December 11th, at sundown. This holiday provides us Jews with an excellent excuse to light some…
The Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah begins this Friday, December 11th, at sundown. This holiday provides us Jews with an excellent excuse to light some candles, eat some latkes (fried potato goodness), get/give some presents, and gather around the menorah (the Jewish version of a Christmas tree). This is what Hanukkah means to me… but to many Jews around the world, it means so much more. It is a time of remembrance, celebration, and reverence for those who came before us.
I grew up in a very reform, but religious household. I went to temple on the high holidays (and some Fridays), went to religious school during the weeks, was a bar mitzvah, and went to a Jewish summer camp. During that time, whenever Hanukkah reared its beautiful little head, I was able to hear the story of why we celebrate the Holiday and what it meant for us Jews.
Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the army led by Antiochus IV. It also commemorates “the miracle of the container of oil,” a legend which is told in the Torah. Legend has it that following the victory of the Jewish people over Antiochus, there was only enough oil available to shed light upon the temple for one night… Miraculously, this oil shed light upon the temple for 8 nights, which is why Hanukkah is celebrated for that length of time.
So, during this Holiday season, let us all take a moment to pause and think about those who came before us. Take a moment, remember those loved ones who are now gone, appreciate those who are near and dear, and give thanks for the many miracles that have brought us to this new season.