As the winter chill sets in, the nights grow longer, and a unique warmth ignites in Jewish homes worldwide: the warmth of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. This eight-day celebration, rich in its history and tradition, isn’t only a religious observance but a time for joy, reflection, unity, and a glowing reminder of the power of hope and miracles.
Hanukkah dates back over two thousand years and commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The story tells of the Maccabees, a group of Jewish warriors who triumphed over the larger, more equipped Greek-Syrian armies. The real miracle of Hanukkah is about a small flask of oil.
When the Maccabees reclaimed the temple, they found only enough of this sacred oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for just one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight days, enough time to prepare a fresh supply.
The centerpiece of Hanukkah is the menorah. The menorah symbolizes light and hope and is a nine-branched candelabrum. Each night, a candle is lit with the ‘shamash’ (helper candle), and by the eighth night, a fully lit menorah is glowing, symbolizing the eight miraculous days. The light from the menorah is a beam of hope and resilience.
Hanukkah is also a time for joy and play, especially with spinning the dreidel, a four-sided top with Hebrew letters. Each letter represents a phrase in Hebrew: “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” (which means “A great miracle happened there”). Families gather to play, with chocolate coins (gelt) often used as tokens.
Delicious food, especially oil-fried foods, is a big part of this holiday to commemorate the miracle of the sacred oil. Some of those delicious foods are latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts), which are Hanukkah staples, thus combining tradition with tasty delight.
As the candles flicker and the dreidel spins, Hanukkah invites us all to bask in its warmth and light, reminding us of the joy and wonder found in life’s simple miracles.
We ask whether there are simple miracles, look at a great friend or your wonderful pet, and think not. Miracles are all grand, regardless of their complexity.
From the Jobsite:
Thanks for the share Eleanor Cummings Design! Such an amazing project.
by Gerald Olesker, CEO/Founder, ADG Lighting