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Hanukkah
by PJ

PJPA2.GIF



Chanukah, Hanukkah, Chanukkah! What does it mean? "Hanukkah" means "dedication." It is the Feast of Dedication. Hanukkah's theme is that of a miracle! It is neither a Temple holiday nor one of the pilgramage festivals, but a festival of lights commemorating the miracle of the oil in the lamp.

I have been asked many times why there are so many spellings of "Hanukkah."  Translating into English, it is impossible to render a precise spelling from the Hebrew word.  It's only possible to translate a similar sound which accounts for the various spellings. 


Hanukkah is the story retold annually of heroes and bravery, about Yehuda/Judah the Maccabee as he led his followers, those loyal to HaShem, against the Syrians. In fact, maybe it's time I just told the story.


After the death of Alexander the Great, the empire was divided among Alexander's four generals, two being Ptolomes of Egypt and Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria. Antiochus Epiphanes was not satisfied and wanted to take Egypt as well. Between Syria and Egypt is a little nation called Israel.


Every successful General needs to be able to pay his troops and Antiochus Epiphanes became aware that Jews had cash, using the Temple as a bank. So the army of Syria sacked the Temple, and Antiochus Ephiphanes had the Temple implements melted down.


Antiochus Epiphanes saw the strength of the Jewish people was in their religion and he sought the destruction of Judaism by means of suspending Temple ritual, destroying Torahs, not allowing Jews to keep sabbath, outlawing kosher food, outlawing circumcision and finally he went into the Holy of Holies and made an altar to Zeus and sacrificed swine.


There arose bitter discontentment and there were those who were waiting for a time to revolt. One day as Jews were forced to assemble to slaughter a pig, a Hasmonian, from the Priesthood of Zadok, named Mattatias, slayed the Syrian captain instead and called out, "all those for G-d follow me." The group overcame the soldiers and as news spread more Jews joined their ranks. With the bulk of the Syrian forces in Egypt, they kept attacking the small Syrian forces.


The son of Mattatias, Yehuda "The Hammer" Maccabee, retook the Temple and the Temple was cleaned and prepared to worship G-d.


In the Temple a menorah was lit every day. The oil used in the menorah was the purest olive oil and the rabbis say the oil was so pure, only the first drop of oil from each olive could be used. Because of the need for strict purity, it took seven days to make a single batch of oil. After the Temple had been cleaned and the Priests were ready to light the Temple menorah, they could only find one jar of oil that was fit to use. There was enough for only one day but it lasted eight by the power of G-d.


The Feast of Dedication was added during the inter-testament period to celebrate freedom from the yoke of the Syrians and the re-dedication of the Temple. It is the only feast not mentioned in the Tanakh/Old Testament although it is mentioned in the Brit Chadesh/New Covenant.

Hanukkah also speaks of eternal light and eternity with G-d where all is light.


The tradition of Hanukkah as it is known today began during Diaspora as Jews were in the lands of non-Jews and Christians would give presents to their children at Christmas, near the time of Hanukkah. Jewish children growing up wanted to participate in Christmas because they wanted gifts so Hanukkah became a season of giving.

During the Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah, Yeshua spoke of His miracles. Yochanan/John 10:37-38 "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." Yeshua wanted the people of His day to see His miracles and believe in Him as a result. His miracles point to his divine and messianic identity. In this way Yeshua personified the message of Hanukkah which is G-d is actively involved in the affairs of His people.


Hanukkah reminds us that G-d is a G-d of miracles, not just of concept and religious ideals. He has broken through into human history and continues to do so today. I believe that those who personally know Yeshua can speak of G-d working miracles in their lives.

Yeshua preached three sermons in which He declared Himself the "light of the world." Yochanan/John 12:35-36 "Then Yeshua said to them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Yeshua, and departed, and did hide himself from them." Yeshua is the light of the world and the light of Hanukkah.


 

“Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible."
 
~JEWISH FEASTS & Important Days~
 
Pessach - Sundown Monday April 10 - Sundown Tuesday April 18
Yom Ha'Bikkurim - Sundown Saturday April 15 - Sundown April 16

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