Plaut (Cleanings 299) notes that vayigash (approached) is used in three different contexts within the Tanakh. People “move forward” (NRSV) into battle or confrontation (2.Sam. 10:13); they “approach” (JSP) others … more
Chanukah is known as the Festival of Light
Chanukah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BCE. Click here to hear the Chanukah “Maoz Tzur” song.
Chanukah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
Israeli families eat jam-filled doughnuts (Yiddish: פאנטשקעס pontshkes), bimuelos (fritters) and sufganiyot which are deep-fried in oil. Bakeries in Israel have popularized many new types of fillings for sufganiyot.
There is a custom of eating foods fried or baked in oil (preferably olive oil) to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame in the Temple alight for eight days. Traditional foods include potato pancakes, known as latkes in Yiddish, especially among Ashkenazi families.
The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Chanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch.
is a four-sided spinning top that children play with on Chanukah.. Each side is imprinted with a Hebrew letter. These letters are an acronym for the Hebrew words נס גדול היה שם (Nes Gadol Haya Sham, “A great miracle happened there”), referring to the miracle of the oil that took place in the Beit Hamikdash.
The miracle of the oil
When the royal Hasmonean family overpowered and was victorious over [the Greeks], they searched and found only a single cruse of pure oil… enough to light the menorah for a single day. A miracle occurred, and they lit the menorah with this oil for eight days.
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