Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greeks and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem (hanukkat ha-mizbeah) in the year 164 BCE. According to the book of Maccabees, Jews were not able to celebrate Sukkot that year because of the impurities in the Temple, and so they established a delayed 8-day celebration in the Hebrew month of Kislev. According to legend, when the Maccabees re-entered the Temple, they could find only enough oil to light the Menorah for one day; but a miracle happened and the lights remained bright for eight days.
There are special liturgical additions in our services during Hanukkah, but the most prominent aspect of the holiday is the kindling of the hanukiyyah (8-branch candelabra) each evening to fulfill the mitzvah of pirsumei nissa (publicizing the miracle). At B’nai Israel, our celebration is always marked by a special community event.
Click here for our Guide to Celebrating Hanukkah at Home.
Hanukkah Facebook Connections – This Hanukkah be sure to snap a picture of your family lighting candles and put it on our Facebook page. Let’s share the holiday together!