Summary: Hanukkah is a minor Jewish feast in the context of the other high holy days.
A Hanukkah is a minor Jewish feast in the context of the other high holy days.
1 It isn’t an observance commanded in the Torah (later feast/inter-testimental times).
a In modern times, Jews/Gentiles both, Hanukkah has become a prominent feast, right along side Passover.
aa It’s an 8 day feast (like Passover & Tabernacles)
bb Passover (has it’s lamb, unleaven bread), Tabernacles (has it’s booths/tents & “Ethrot”/Willow branch, Citrus, Palm, Sycamore branch); Hanakah has its unique traditions & symbols, too.
b Special Hanukkah menorah (Nine lamps because tradition forbids lighting a lamp from any other lamp other than the servant lamp.)
aa Each night a new candle is added. (Each member of the family has their own Hanukkah menorah)
bb Traditionally the candles are lit for at least 30 minutes and they are visible from the outside.
cc Not for Ordinary use (reading/work), they are sacred for this feast.
c Special foods (Latkes, Jelly doughnuts fried in oil; Cheese (Judith/Holofernes)
d Special game (Dreidel is probably a game from mediaeval Germany)
aa Before WWII they were cast out of lead or carved out of wood (Today most dreidels are made either in Jerusalem or Japan)
bb It reminds them of the “turnover” of events when Judas Maccabees small militia toppled the great army of Antiochus IV.
cc It reminds them of how the strong were “spun” in the hands of the week.
dd The dreidel is spun from above, illustrating that it is God who spins worldly events to their rightful conclusion. (He’s already there!)
ee Each side has a Jewish letter (remember that letters have numbers in the Aleph-Bet); Nun, gimmel, heh, and shin (Acrostic for “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” - - - “A great miracle happened there.”
2 The great miracle was how God made one days worth of anointed oil burn for eight days.
B The Great Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 606 B.C. then rebuilt by Nehemiah, Ezra, Zerrubabel under the Persian Era.
1 Eventually the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great (He was VERY tolerant of the Jews/Temple practices)
a The tolerance, understanding towards the Jews ended when Alexander died.
aa Left his empire in shambles with four of his generals vying for dominance.
bb They split Alexander’s Empire four different ways.
b The Ptolemies took control of the south (Egypt); Seleucides took north (Syria) leaving Judea in the middle (Intersection of Europe, Asia & Africa) to be used as the prize in a tug of war between the Ptolemies & Seleucides.
aa Eventually the Seleucides, under the leadership of Antiochus IV, took Judea.
bb Antiochus is a title, not a name. (Pharaoh, Emperor, Agag, President, King, etc.)
2 Antiochus forced the citizens of Judea to adopt his brand of faith (paganism blended with philosophy/religion from previously conquered people groups.)
a A whole lot of everything but not enough of anything.
b Many in Israel (Jews) accepted the state approved religion (Hellenism) of Antiochus.