Chanukah 101

Chanukah 101

Chanukah is the joyful eight-day celebration of the Jewish people that commemorates the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees. It’s not the Jewish version of Christmas — it’s actually much older than that (from 165 BCE).

Here’s your chance to learn more about it! Just keep reading below. Below this, we’ve got a series of Chanukah Devotionals (click here to jump), too.

Chello, Chanukah!

Chanukah comes early this year! Well, you know, actually it doesn’t! It comes EXACTLY when it always does — on 25 Kislev on the Hebrew Calendar. What we mean, of course, is that Chanukah corresponds to an earlier date on the Western calendar this year than most years. Chanukah is the joyful eight-day celebration of the ...

So is it Hanukkah/Chanukah Yet?

So… How exactly is this holiday spelled? With an “H” or a “Ch”? Are we supposed to double the “k” or not? Hanukkah? Hanukah? Chanukkah? Chanukah? It is really confusing! And the basic problem is that the holiday is actually spelled… חנוכה. Obviously, it is a Hebrew word and so it is composed of Hebrew letters. When we ...

Lighting the Chanukah Flame (Part 1)

The most well known of all the Chanukah traditions would be lighting the candles on the Chanukah Menorah, which is more correctly called a Chanukiah. Unlike the traditional menorah of the Temple that has seven lights, this lightstand has nine lights. There are eight that are all at the same level and a ninth that ...

Lighting the Chanukah Flame (Part 2)

How to light the Chanukiah Candles? Arrange the lights on the Chanukiah. On the first night, set one candle to the far right of the menorah (as you look at it from the front). On the following night, add a second light to the left of the first one, and then add one light each night of ...

This is How We Roll!

A favorite tradition of Chanukah is playing Dreidel. Now this is not something that we can associate with early Chanukah celebrations. Many scholars think that the dreidel developed from an Irish or English spinning top game that was introduced into Germany and then taken up by the Ashkenazi Jewish community. It was the Jewish community ...

It’s Not A Holiday Unless we get to EAT, Right?

Every Jewish holiday comes with a menu of special foods to eat. Even Yom Kippur’s day of solemn fast comes with a prescription for the food at the Break-Fast after sundown. So it should come as no surprise that there are special foods that are associated with Chanukah. The Miracle of the Oil, where one ...

Chanukah Devotionals

One Light: Light of the World

Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12, TLV For more than three years, the light in the Temple had been unlit. The ner tamid, the eternal flame, had been, ...

Two Lights: Two Peoples, First the Jew and then the Greek

“I, ADONAI, called You in righteousness, I will take hold of Your hand, I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations. – Isa 42:6, TLV On the second day of Chanukah, we light two lights using our shamash light. Two lights makes me think of the two ...

Three Lights: You are the Light of the World

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house.” – Mt 5:14-15, TLV Now Hang On!  I thought we had made ...

Four Lights: Four Big Ideas… that the Enemy Wants to Snuff Out

But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. – Book of 1 Maccabees 1: 62-63, NRV, Apocrypha The Syrian Greek King, Antiochus, who called himself Epiphanes ...

Five Lights: Lessons of the Fifth Chapters

In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, ...

Six Lights: The Miracle of the Sixth Month

Then in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by ADONAI into a town in the Galilee named Natzeret and to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Miriam… Behold, even your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son in her old age; and the one who ...

Seven Lights: The Lights of the Seventh Day

The people walking in darkness will see a great light. Upon those dwelling in the land of the shadow of death, light will shine. – Isaiah 9:2, TLV The seventh day of Chanukah this year begins at the the close of the Seventh Day celebration, the Shabbat celebration. Shabbat is an important part of Chanukah. Every Chanukah has at ...

Eight Lights: The Meaning of Eight!

Then Judah and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev. – 1 Maccabees 4:59, RSV Here we have come to ...