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Chanukah begins at sundown
November 28, 2021
Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day,wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting,special prayers and fried foods.
In the second century BCE, the HolyLand was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the peopleof Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance andbelief in the Lord. Against all odds, a small band of faithful but poorly armedJews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth,drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem andrededicated it to the service of the Lord.
When they sought to light theTemple’s Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a singlecruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously,they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, untilnew oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize thesemiracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of thefestival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one ofwhich is the shamash (“attendant”), which is used to kindle the othereight lights. On the first night, we light just one flame. On the second night,an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lightsare kindled. Special blessings are recited, often to a traditional melody,before the menorah is lit, and traditional songs are sung afterward. A menorahis lit in every household (or even by each individual within the household) andplaced in a doorway or window. The menorah is also lit in synagogues and otherpublic places.
See https://www.chabad.org/ for moreinformation.