What Is the Which means of Hanukkah?

Because the winter season approaches, there are some particular holidays to look ahead to. One main vacation taking place in December 2023 is Hanukkah, which is a Jewish vacation also referred to as the Competition of Lights.

Hanukkah is well known by Jewish individuals around the globe. Traditions embody adorning the house and gathering to mild the menorah, recite Hanukkah blessings, eat fried meals, play Hanukkah video games like dreidel, and alternate Hanukkah items.

The historical past of the eight-day celebration is rooted within the rededication of the Holy Temple after the Jewish individuals reclaimed it from the Syrian-Greeks within the second century BCE. As they labored to revive the temple, they used an oil lamp fueled by a tiny little bit of oil that was solely imagined to final in the future. The oil miraculously lasted for eight days, and that’s what is taken into account the Hanukkah miracle.

“Hanukkah at all times coincides with the winter solstice,” Rabbi Jessica Minnen tells Lady’s Day. “It symbolizes the creation of sunshine within the darkest occasions. Jewish holidays are all linked to the earth and the cycle of seasons.”

We have got all of the solutions to your questions on Hanukkah, together with “when is Hanukkah this yr?” and “how is Hanukkah celebrated?” Hold studying for extra details about the gorgeous vacation and how one can have a good time it in 2023.

When is Hanukkah 2023?

In 2023, Hanukkah begins the night of Thursday, December 7 and ends the night of Friday, December 15. As a result of the dates of the vacation correspond to the lunisolar calendar, they modify annually. Sometimes, Hanukkah falls in November or December.

What does Hanukkah have a good time?

In response to Nationwide Geographic, the Syrian-Greeks invaded the Jewish homeland and captured Jerusalem, the place the Jewish Holy Temple was positioned. After the invasion, they tried to pressure the Jewish individuals to forgo their faith and customs and undertake Greek beliefs as a substitute. The Syrian-Greeks desecrated the Holy Temple and enacted legal guidelines forbidding the follow of Judaism.

“Think about your city being taken over by individuals telling you which you can’t follow your religion anymore, which can be making an attempt to remove your id. That’s what was taking place to the Jewish individuals,” Minnen explains.

Relatively than assimilate, the Jews rebelled towards their oppressors. A tiny military of Jews, led by a person known as Judah Maccabee (the Hebrew phrase for hammer), fought again towards the massive Syrian-Greek military, reclaiming each Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.

A nine-flame hanukkiah, a menorah for Hanukkah, burns by the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest website.

Gideon Mendel//Getty Photos

The Hanukkah Story

In response to Jewish custom, after the Jews gained again Jerusalem, they discovered that the Temple had been destroyed. They started to scrub it up and wished to mild the menorah (a seven-branched candelabrum used to mild the Temple) to present sacred mild to the restoration undertaking. Nevertheless, the oil used within the temple needed to be a particular, purified oil, and the Jews couldn’t discover any. They lastly discovered a tiny little bit of oil that might be sufficient for in the future. It miraculously lasted for eight days, which was simply sufficient time to purify extra oil to maintain the Temple lit.

Why is Hanukkah celebrated for eight days?

Hanukkah is well known for eight days due to the Hanukkah miracle, during which that tiny little bit of oil lasted for eight complete days and supplied mild to individuals restoring the temple. Right now, Hanukkah is also referred to as the Competition of Lights as a result of it marks the celebration of that miracle.

Hanukkah Which means

The Hebrew phrase Hanukkah means “dedication,” as the vacation commemorates the Jewish individuals’s rededication to the Temple.

Minnen says that the religious significance of Hanukkah is that, just like the Jews greater than two thousand years in the past dedicating themselves to restoring the Temple, Jewish individuals at present additionally take time throughout the vacation to replicate on who they are surely, and rededicate themselves to their religion.

what is hanukkah– menorah lighting

Menorahs are a gorgeous ornament, however in addition they maintain deep cultural and non secular significance for individuals who follow Judaism.

wundervisuals//Getty Photos

Hanukkah Traditions

Hanukkah is well known with various traditions, together with:

Lighting the Menorah

On the eight nights of Hanukkah, Jews mild the menorah, including an additional candle every evening till there are eight candles on the final evening. The trendy menorah, which can also be known as a hanukkiah, is a candelabra meant to commemorate the menorah from the Holy Temple, however, because the Wall Road Journal notes, it has 9 arms to accommodate the eight candles plus a shamash candle, which is the helper candle that’s used to mild different candles.

If open flames aren’t an possibility for you — perhaps you will have pets or young children at residence — you may think about using an electrical menorah, which lights up your property with small lightbulbs as a substitute of fireside.

Consuming Fried Meals

Minnen explains that “due to the miracle that occurred with the oil, we have a good time by consuming meals cooked in oil. The 2 most typical are latkes, that are fried potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, that are fried jelly doughnuts.”

what is hanukkah — potato latkes

Potato latkes and different meals fried in oil are symbolic of the Hanukkah story.

LauriPatterson//Getty Photos

Taking part in Dreidel

“One of many Greek legal guidelines was to ban the Jews from finding out Torah (the Outdated Testomony). So Jews would have secret gatherings to review collectively,” Minnen says. “They took these spinning tops with them to review so within the occasion {that a} soldier walked by and peeked within the home windows the place they have been, they’d shortly shut the books and spin the tops so it might appear like they have been simply taking part in a sport.”

what is hanukkah  boy playing dreidel game

Spinning tops, or dreidels in Jewish tradition, are a logo of resistance, not only a toy.

The Good Brigade//Getty Photos

She says the spinning tops, or dreidels, turned a logo of resistance, and Jews saved the customized of taking part in dreidel on Hanukkah. Dreidels are marked with the letters for the Hebrew phrases “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham,” which suggests “an important miracle occurred there” (referring to Jerusalem). Taking part in dreidel is fairly easy. Every of the Hebrew letters has a unique worth assigned to it. Relying on which letter your dreidel lands on after you spin it, you win or lose totally different quantities of gelt, which may both imply actual cash or chocolate cash wrapped in foil. The aim is to gather as a lot gelt as doable.

How will you observe Hanukkah this yr?

“There’s a instructing in Judaism that tells us we should always publicize the miracle of Hanukkah,” says Minnen. “This implies lighting candles in entrance of a window to amplify the sunshine for as many individuals as doable.” And sure, if doable additionally “celebrating with huge events.”

One other strategy to have a good time Hanukkah is by attending a public menorah lighting. These public menorah lightings regularly happen on the town squares, public parks, metropolis halls, and different neighborhood areas. You’ll be able to seek for ones taking place close to you and convey the entire household with you to have a good time. Public menorah lightings are usually open to the general public, which means non-Jewish individuals are additionally welcome to attend.

For individuals searching for a useful resource to present them a broader understanding of the vacation, Minnen recommends the brief film Lights on YouTube.