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ImageWhat is the basic reason for celebrating the holiday of Chankuah, or Hanukkah as it is more commonly known?

Chanukah is the ‘Festival of Dedication’ as well as the ‘The Festival of Lights’.  The holiday commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks in 165 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era).  It also honors the memory of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.  The temple had been defiled by the Greeks who, among other things, erected a statue of Zeus in the temple’s Holy of Holies.  (The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Temple in Jerusalem, which hosted the Ark of the Covenant.) Each night of the festival an additional the Menorah (an eight branch candelabra) is lit, starting with one candle and adding another each night,  until on the last night, eight candles are burning. According to tradition, when the Temple was re-captured, only one small vessel of consecrated oil — enough for just one day — was found. Miraculously, it sufficed for eight days until new oil could be prepared and the festival was established for this length of time to commemorate the miracle.

Chanukah is a joyous holiday, celebrated every year by Jews around the world with the lighting of candles, traditional Chanukah treats such as potato latkes (fried potato pancakes) and donuts, games such as Draidel (a specially constructed spinning top), and Chanukah Gelt (Chanukah money or gifts) for children.

How to Chanukah is a children’s picture book that explains why we celebrate eight days of Chanukah every year. Lovely and lighthearted rhymes describe the miracle of the one little untainted can of oil found in Holy Temple, with enough oil for one night’s lighting, which lasted for the full eight days.

How to Chanukah also recommends that Chanukah gifts should be of the literary kind, and urges parents to purchase books with good values for their children.

For extensive coverage of the how, why, when and more about the Holiday of Chanukah, you may wish to visit the MazorGuide Jewish Holidays website at http://www.mazornet.com/holidays/Chanukah/home.htm.

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