Hanukkah is one of the few Jewish holidays that is not instituted in the Torah. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. Merriam-Webster’ uses the spelling “Hanukkah,” but “Chanukah” is also widely accepted. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple (as you’ll read below). In this spirit, many Hasidic Jews wish each other Gmar chatimah tovah ("may you be sealed totally for good"), a traditional greeting for the Yom Kippur season. If an account exists, we've sent an email with a link to reset your password. In North America especially, Hanukkah gained increased importance with many Jewish families in the latter part of the 20th century, including among large numbers of secular Jews, who wanted a Jewish alternative to the Christmas celebrations that often overlap with Hanukkah. [84], The reason for the Hanukkah lights is not for the "lighting of the house within", but rather for the "illumination of the house without," so that passersby should see it and be reminded of the holiday's miracle (i.e. It still forms part of the liturgy of the Yemenite Jews. [19] Modern scholar Reuvein Margolies suggests that as the Mishnah was redacted after the Bar Kochba revolt, its editors were reluctant to include explicit discussion of a holiday celebrating another relatively recent revolt against a foreign ruler, for fear of antagonizing the Romans. [28] Josephus does not say the festival was called Hanukkah but rather the "Festival of Lights": In the New Testament, John 10:22–23 says, "Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. Alex Wong/Getty Images. See, This is the first reference to the Feast of Dedication by this name (ta egkainia, ta enkainia [a typical "festive plural"]) in Jewish literature (Hengel 1999: 317). [84][111][112], There is a custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil (preferably olive oil) to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the Second Temple's Menorah alight for eight days. Chanukah? Judea was part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE when King Antiochus III the Great of Syria defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt at the Battle of Panium. [122], After lighting the candles, it is customary to play (or spin) the dreidel. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Kaufmann, Kohler (1901–1906). So today, Jews celebrate Hanukkah to remember their defeat over Antiochus, the restoration of the Temple of Jerusalem, and the miracle of the oil. There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days. Megillat Taanit (1st century) contains a list of festive days on which fasting or eulogizing is forbidden. The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah. In modern Israel, the national and military aspects of Hanukkah became, once again, more dominant. Another tradition for many children is spinning a dreidel, a four sided spinning top. The Jewish day begins at sunset. At Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, they celebrate Hanukkah with a nightly menorah lighting ceremony starting at … [citation needed], The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade" (NIV). 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