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A Brief History of Hanukkah

(Hebrew: הכונח , alt. Chanukah), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE.

Hanukkah Candles

Hanukkah Candles

Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, and may occur from late November to late December on the Gregorian calendar. The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a special candelabrum, the Menorah or Hanukiah, one light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. An extra light called a shamash, (Hebrew: “guard” or “servant”) is also lit each night, and is given a distinct location, usually higher or lower than the others.

The purpose of the extra light is to adhere to the prohibition, specified in the Talmud (Tracate Shabbat 21b-23a), against using the Hanukkah lights for anything other than publicizing and meditating on the Hanukkah story. (The shamash is used

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Posted by on Dec 15 2008. Filed under Family and food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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