Sunday, December 9, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

Well, as everyone who is Jewish has noticed, Hanukkah has come and gone. Some people may still be celebrating (I haven’t quite worked out which side the extra days are on yet) but the day itself was on the 5th. For those of you who don’t know what Hanukkah is about, here is a bit of an article from


The festival of Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) was established to commemorate the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over the Greek-Syrians and the rededication of the Second Temple, which had been desecrated by the Greek-Syrians, to the worship of God. Thus, Hanukkah is a celebration of Jewish national survival and religious freedom.

In commemoration of these miracles, a Hanukkah Menorah (also called a Hanukkiah) is lit during each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah is the central observance of the festival. One candle is lit the first night, and an additional candle is lit each successive night. Thus, on the last night of Hanukkah, all eight candles of the Hanukkiah are lit. The candles should be lit by a window or door in order to fulfill the commandment to "publicize the miracle." While lighting the candles, blessings are recited and the ancient chant Hanerot Hallalu is traditionally sung. After lighting the candles, it is a tradition to sing Maoz Tzur.

Hanukkah is a fun festival, especially for children. After lighting the Hanukkah candles together, families (and often invited guests) will eat and play games. Traditional Hanukkah food is oil-rich in commemoration of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. Potato pancakes (Latkas in Yiddish, Livivot in Hebrew) are a Hanukkah favorite. Israelis eat Hanukkah doughnuts called soofganiot. Dreidel (sivovon in Hebrew) is a traditional Hanukkah game, with game rules so simple that the whole family, from toddlers to grandparents can play together. The custom of giving Hanukkah gelt (money) to children has evolved into a gift-giving tradition in many Jewish families today.


As you can see, the Jewish people celebrate a great deal of things on this festival of their’s. The only problem I have with it is the candles thing. Nowadays, with all of the stuff you can have in the house, leaving candles burn for many days can be a serious fire hazard. And, if you don’t need to worry about the fire spreading, what about it going out? Seven days is an awfully long time to have a candle burn. And if you solve the problem by getting long candles, then how do you deal with the major wax build up at the bottom? Seven days of burning one candle, the heat getting worse with each day that a new candle is lit? And you know it’s gotta be murder on the drapes when they put it in the window. I wonder how long it is left in the window after the last candle is lit…

Well, in any case, there is Hanukkah in a nutshell. I don’t quite understand it, but the Jewish people seem to like the holiday. Well… all except Lewis Black.

1 comment:

Ginny said...

You done a good job on this one. I like learning about some of these things. In your Blogs you have taught me a lot of things I didn't know. I just wish that you could get out to more people. You have a great talent. It needs to be recognized. And who is Lewis Black?