Chanukah: Light Conquers the Darkness

Candles and menorahBeginning at sundown on December 8, the Jewish holiday of Chanukah lasts for eight days and  nights during the month of Kislev.

Chanukah, also known as The Festival of Lights, is a time when the Jewish People have for centuries commemorated the rededication of the Second Temple around 165 B.C.

King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon’s Temple when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem in 587 B.C. After their 70 years of captivity, the Jews returned to Jerusalem and built the Second Temple, which was dedicated in 517 B.C.

That Second Temple was desecrated by King Antiochus from Syria, who not only ordered a halt to all Jewish traditions, but also burned all the Torahs he could find and even went as far as sacrificing pigs in the Temple!

A few years later, a group of Jewish warriors, the Maccabees, rose up in revolt and cleansed the Temple of all of the recent horrors.

According to the Talmud, as the rededication of The Temple started, a special, blended oil was needed to put into the menorah in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night, every night. But they could only find one small jug of the oil that had remained uncontaminated because it was still sealed. The problem was that the jug only contained enough oil for the menorah to stay alight for one day.

But when it was lit, miraculously it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil!

You can imagine the celebration as once again the Temple was restored and put back into use. Ever since, the Jewish People have had an eight-day festival to commemorate that miracle.

Visit our Chanukah section on our website.

Jewish Voice Ministries International

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