Chanukkah is starting this Week

Photo: Miriam Woelke
Traditional Chanukkah Sufganiot (Donuts) at the Machane Yehudah Market in Jerusalem


This Tuesday is Erev Chanukkah and, as every year anew, Chabad – Lubavitch has set up Chanukkiyot all over town. I am always looking forward to the public lighting in Downtown Jerusalem. The following video shows the procedure of lighting the Chanukkah candles at Zion Square.


The eight days of Chanukkah are not just a nice holiday but do actually represent a special meaning. First of all, there is the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek occupation. The Greeks were no anti – Semites in a regular sense but what they were trying to do is destroying Judaism and forcing everyone to follow their idols. They had already prohibited Shabbat, Brit Milah and Rosh Chodesh. When they finally desecrated the Temple, the Maccabees who were Cohanim, started to fight back.
Then and today, we have Jews who are not interested in their own heritage and even start fighting their own religion. They want to be like everyone else and most of us knows at least on self – hating Jew. In the times of the ancient Greek occupation, those Jews who willingly accepted the Greek way of life were called Hellenists.
These Hellenists exist until today, as there are still Jews who want to get rid off anything Jewish and just live like anybody else in this world. However, G – d won’t allow it and people may try as hard as they can. In the end, they will always losing the battle, as we see now with the hatred of Ya’ir Lapid. 
The actual Chanukkah miracle was not the victory over the Greeks but the miracle with the oil in the Temple. That a flask containing kosher oil lasted for eight days and not for one day. Here, G – d was directly involved and this is why we light Chanukkah candles. Preferably with oil. 
For many secular Israeli children, Chanukkah stands for expensive presents. Computer games, computers, smartphones, you name it. Many religious families have less money and rather teach their kids the Chanukkah story and play with the Dreidel (Sevivon). Many chassidic Rebbes also play with the Dreidel while the candles are burning. It is not just a game but it does have a special kabbalistic meaning. In particular the letters printed on the Dreidel. 

Chanukkah Sameach – Happy Chanukkah !!!


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