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Hanukkah
Hanukkah
(/ˈhɑːnəkə/ HAH-nə-kə; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‬ khanuká, Tiberian: khanuká, usually spelled חנוכה‎, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew, [ˈχanukə] or [ˈχanikə] in Yiddish; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah or Ḥanukah) is a Jewish holiday
Jewish holiday
commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
at the time of the Maccabean
Maccabean
Revolt against the Seleucid
Seleucid
Empire. Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev
Kislev
according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication. The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, called a Hanukkah
Hanukkah
menorah (or hanukkiah). One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. This unique candle is called the shamash (Hebrew: שמש‎, "attendant"). Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shamash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the holiday.[1] Other Hanukkah
Hanukkah
festivities include playing dreidel and eating oil-based foods such as doughnuts and latkes. Since the 1970s, the worldwide Chabad
Chabad
Hasidic
Hasidic
movement has initiated public menorah lightings in open public places in many countries.[2]

Contents

1 Etymology

1.1 Alternative spellings

2 Historical sources

2.1 Maccabees, Mishna, and Talmud 2.2 Narrative of Josephus 2.3 Other ancient sources

3 Story

3.1 Background 3.2 Traditional view 3.3 Academic sources 3.4 Timeline 3.5 Battles of the Maccabean
Maccabean
Revolt 3.6 Characters and heroes

4 Rituals

4.1 Kindling the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lights 4.2 Candle-lighting time 4.3 Blessings over the candles

4.3.1 Blessing for lighting the candles 4.3.2 Blessing for the miracles of Hanukkah 4.3.3 Hanerot Halalu

4.4 Maoz Tzur 4.5 Other customs 4.6 Special
Special
additions to daily prayers 4.7 Zot Hanukkah 4.8 Other related laws and customs

5 Customs

5.1 Music 5.2 Foods 5.3 Dreidel 5.4 Hanukkah
Hanukkah
gelt 5.5 Hanukkah
Hanukkah
in the White House

6 Dates 7 Symbolic importance 8 Gallery 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links

Etymology The name "Hanukkah" derives from the Hebrew verb "חנך‎", meaning "to dedicate". On Hanukkah, the Maccabean
Maccabean
Jews
Jews
regained control of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and rededicated the Temple.[3][4] Many homiletical explanations have been given for the name:[5]

The name can be broken down into חנו כ"ה, "[they] rested [on the] twenty-fifth", referring to the fact that the Jews
Jews
ceased fighting on the 25th day of Kislev, the day on which the holiday begins.[6] חנוכה‎ (Hanukkah) is also the Hebrew acronym for ח נרות והלכה כבית הלל — "Eight candles, and the halakha is like the House of Hillel". This is a reference to the disagreement between two rabbinical schools of thought — the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai
Shammai
— on the proper order in which to light the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
flames. Shammai
Shammai
opined that eight candles should be lit on the first night, seven on the second night, and so on down to one on the last night (because the miracle was greatest on the first day). Hillel argued in favor of starting with one candle and lighting an additional one every night, up to eight on the eighth night (because the miracle grew in greatness each day). Jewish law adopted the position of Hillel.[7]

Alternative spellings

Spelling variations due to transliteration of Hebrew Chet Nun Vav Kaf Hey

In Hebrew, the word Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is written חֲנֻכָּה‬ or חנוכה‎ (Ḥănukkāh). It is most commonly transliterated to English as Chanukah or Hanukkah, the latter because the sound represented by "CH" ([χ], similar to the Scottish pronunciation of "loch") is not native to the English language. Furthermore, the letter "ḥet" (ח‎), which is the first letter in the Hebrew spelling, is pronounced differently in modern Hebrew (voiceless uvular fricative) from in classical Hebrew (voiceless pharyngeal fricative [ħ]), and neither of those sounds is unambiguously representable in English spelling. Moreover, the 'kaf' consonant is geminate in classical (but not modern) Hebrew. Adapting the classical Hebrew pronunciation with the geminate and pharyngeal Ḥeth can lead to the spelling "Hanukkah"; while adapting the modern Hebrew pronunciation with no gemination and uvular Ḥeth leads to the spelling "Chanukah".[citation needed] Historical sources Maccabees, Mishna, and Talmud See also: Mishnah § Omissions The story of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
and the lighting of the menorah. These books are not part of the Tanakh
Tanakh
(Hebrew Bible) which came from the Palestinian canon; however, they were part of the Alexandrian canon which is also called the Septuagint
Septuagint
(sometimes abbreviated LXX).[8] Both books are included in the Old Testament
Old Testament
used by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches,[9] since those churches consider the books deuterocanonical. They are not included in the Old Testament
Old Testament
books in most Protestant Bibles since most Protestants consider the books apocryphal. Multiple references to Hanukkah
Hanukkah
are also made in the Mishna
Mishna
(Bikkurim 1:6, Rosh HaShanah 1:3, Taanit 2:10, Megillah 3:4 and 3:6, Moed Katan 3:9, and Bava Kama 6:6), though specific laws are not described. The miracle of the one-day supply of oil miraculously lasting eight days is first described in the Talmud, committed to writing about 600 years after the events described in the books of Maccabees.[10] Rav Nissim Gaon postulates in his Hakdamah Le'mafteach Hatalmud that information on the holiday was so commonplace that the Mishna
Mishna
felt no need to explain it. A modern-day scholar Reuvein Margolies suggests that as the Mishnah was redacted after the Bar Kochba revolt, its editors were reluctant to include explicit discussion of a holiday celebrating another relatively recent revolt against a foreign ruler, for fear of antagonizing the Romans.[11]

Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lamp unearthed near Jerusalem
Jerusalem
about 1900

The Gemara
Gemara
(Talmud), in tractate Shabbat, page 21b, focuses on Shabbat candles and moves to Hanukkah
Hanukkah
candles and says that after the forces of Antiochus IV
Antiochus IV
had been driven from the Temple, the Maccabees discovered that almost all of the ritual olive oil had been profaned. They found only a single container that was still sealed by the High Priest, with enough oil to keep the menorah in the Temple lit for a single day. They used this, yet it burned for eight days (the time it took to have new oil pressed and made ready).[12] The Talmud
Talmud
presents three options:[13]

The law requires only one light each night per household, A better practice is to light one light each night for each member of the household The most preferred practice is to vary the number of lights each night.

Except in times of danger, the lights were to be placed outside one's door, on the opposite side of the mezuza, or in the window closest to the street. Rashi, in a note to Shabbat
Shabbat
21b, says their purpose is to publicize the miracle. The blessings for Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lights are discussed in tractate Succah, p. 46a.[14] Narrative of Josephus The Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus
Josephus
narrates in his book, Jewish Antiquities XII, how the victorious Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
ordered lavish yearly eight-day festivities after rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
that had been profaned by Antiochus IV
Antiochus IV
Epiphanes.[15] Josephus
Josephus
does not say the festival was called Hanukkah
Hanukkah
but rather the "Festival of Lights":

"Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival. Judas also rebuilt the walls round about the city, and reared towers of great height against the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein. He also fortified the city Bethsura, that it might serve as a citadel against any distresses that might come from our enemies."[16]

Other ancient sources The story of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is alluded to in the book of 1 Maccabees
Maccabees
and 2 Maccabees. The eight-day rededication of the temple is described in 1 Maccabees
Maccabees
4:36–4:59, though the name of the festival and the miracle of the lights do not appear here. A story similar in character, and obviously older in date, is the one alluded to in 2 Maccabees 1:18–1:36 according to which the relighting of the altar fire by Nehemiah
Nehemiah
was due to a miracle which occurred on the 25th of Kislev, and which appears to be given as the reason for the selection of the same date for the rededication of the altar by Judah Maccabee.[citation needed] The above account in 1 Maccabees
Maccabees
4, as well as 2 Maccabees
Maccabees
1:9 portrays the feast as a delayed observation of the eight-day Feast of Booths (Sukkot)"; similarly 2 Maccabees
Maccabees
10:6 explains the length of the feast as "in the manner of the Feast of Booths". Another source is the Megillat Antiochus. This work (also known as "Megillat Benei Ḥashmonai", "Megillat Hanukkah", or "Megillat Yevanit") is extant in both the Aramaic and Hebrew languages; the Hebrew version is a literal translation from the Aramaic original. Recent scholarship dates it to somewhere between the 2nd and 5th Centuries, probably in the 2nd century,[17] with the Hebrew dating to the 7th century.[18] It was published for the first time in Mantua
Mantua
in 1557. Saadia Gaon, who translated it into Arabic in the 9th century, ascribed it to the elders of the School of Shammai
Shammai
and the School of Hillel.[19] The Hebrew text with an English translation can be found in the Siddur
Siddur
of Philip Birnbaum. The Scroll of Antiochus concludes with the following words:

...After this, the sons of Israel
Israel
went up to the Temple and rebuilt its gates and purified the Temple from the dead bodies and from the defilement. And they sought after pure olive oil to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was sealed with the signet ring of the High Priest from the days of Samuel the prophet and they knew that it was pure. There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days. Therefore, the sons of Ḥashmonai made this covenant and took upon themselves a solemn vow, they and the sons of Israel, all of them, to publish amongst the sons of Israel, [to the end] that they might observe these eight days of joy and honour, as the days of the feasts written in [the book of] the Law; [even] to light in them so as to make known to those who come after them that their God wrought for them salvation from heaven. In them, it is not permitted to mourn, neither to decree a fast [on those days], and anyone who has a vow to perform, let him perform it.

Section from the Aramaic Scroll of Antiochus in Babylonian supralinear punctuation, with an Arabic translation

Original language (Aramaic):

בָּתַר דְּנָּא עָלוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבֵית מַקְדְּשָׁא וּבְנוֹ תַּרְעַיָּא וְדַכִּיאוּ בֵּית מַקְדְּשָׁא מִן קְטִילַיָּא וּמִן סְאוֹבֲתָא. וּבעוֹ מִשְׁחָא דְּזֵיתָא דָּכְיָא לְאַדְלָקָא בּוֹצִנַיָּא וְלָא אַשְׁכַּחוּ אֵלָא צְלוֹחִית חֲדָא דַּהֲוָת חֲתִימָא בְּעִזְקָת כָּהֲנָא רַבָּא מִיּוֹמֵי שְׁמוּאֵל נְבִיָּא וִיַדְעוּ דְּהִיא דָּכְיָא. בְּאַדְלָקוּת יוֹמָא חֲדָא הֲוָה בַּהּ וַאֲלָה שְׁמַיָּא דִּי שַׁכֵין שְׁמֵיהּ תַּמָּן יְהַב בַּהּ בִּרְכְּתָא וְאַדְלִיקוּ מִנַּהּ תְּמָנְיָא יוֹמִין. עַל כֵּן קַיִּימוּ בְּנֵי חַשְׁמוּנַּאי הָדֵין קְיָימָא וַאֲסַרוּ הָדֵין אֲסָּרָא אִנּוּן וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כּוּלְּהוֹן. לְהוֹדָעָא לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמֶעֲבַד הָדֵין תְּמָנְיָא יוֹמִין חַדְוָא וִיקָר כְּיּוֹמֵי מוֹעֲדַיָּא דִּכְתִיבִין בְּאוֹרָיְתָא לְאַדְלָקָא בְּהוֹן לְהוֹדָעָא לְמַן דְּיֵּיתֵי מִבַּתְרֵיהוֹן אֲרֵי עֲבַד לְהוֹן אֱלָהֲהוֹן פּוּרְקָנָא מִן שְׁמַיָּא. בְּהוֹן לָא לְמִסְפַּד וְלָא לְמִגְזַר צוֹמָא וְכָל דִּיהֵי עֲלוֹהִי נִדְרָא יְשַׁלְּמִנֵּיהּ [20] In the Christian Greek Scriptures, John 10:22–23 says Jesus walked in Solomon's Porch
Solomon's Porch
at the Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Temple during "the Feast of Dedication and it was winter." The Greek term that is used is "the renewals" (Greek ta enkainia τὰ ἐγκαίνια).[21] The Hebrew word for "dedication" is Hanukkah. The Aramaic New Testament uses the Aramaic word Khawdata (a close synonym), which literally means "renewal" or "to make new." [22] Josephus
Josephus
refers to the festival as "lights."[23] Story Background Further information: Coele-Syria

A model of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
during the Second Temple
Second Temple
Period

Judea
Judea
was part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom
Ptolemaic Kingdom
of Egypt until 200 BCE when King Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great
of Syria
Syria
defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt at the Battle of Panium. Judea
Judea
then became part of the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
of Syria.[24] King Antiochus III the Great
Antiochus III the Great
wanting to conciliate his new Jewish subjects guaranteed their right to "live according to their ancestral customs" and to continue to practice their religion in the Temple of Jerusalem.[25] However, in 175 BCE, Antiochus IV
Antiochus IV
Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus III, invaded Judea, at the request of the sons of Tobias.[26] The Tobiads, who led the Hellenizing Jewish faction in Jerusalem, were expelled to Syria
Syria
around 170 BCE when the high priest Onias and his pro-Egyptian faction wrested control from them. The exiled Tobiads
Tobiads
lobbied Antiochus IV Epiphanes to recapture Jerusalem. As Flavius Josephus
Josephus
relates:

The king being thereto disposed beforehand, complied with them, and came upon the Jews
Jews
with a great army, and took their city by force, and slew a great multitude of those that favored Ptolemy, and sent out his soldiers to plunder them without mercy. He also spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for three years and six months. — The Jewish War[27]

Traditional view

High Priest pouring oil over the menorah, Jewish new year card

When the Second Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
was looted and services stopped, Judaism
Judaism
was outlawed. In 167 BCE, Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. He banned brit milah (circumcision) and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple.[28] Antiochus's actions provoked a large-scale revolt. Mattathias (Mattityahu), a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah led a rebellion against Antiochus. It started with Mattathias
Mattathias
killing first, a Jew who wanted to comply with Antiochus's order to sacrifice to Zeus, and then a Greek official who was to enforce the government's behest (1 Mac. 2, 24–25[29]). Judah became known as Yehuda HaMakabi ("Judah the Hammer"). By 166 BCE Mattathias
Mattathias
had died, and Judah took his place as leader. By 165 BCE the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid
Seleucid
monarchy was successful. The Temple was liberated and rededicated. The festival of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
was instituted to celebrate this event.[30] Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be built in place of the polluted one and new holy vessels to be made. According to the Talmud, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the kohen gadol (high priest) was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night. The story goes that one flask was found with only enough oil to burn for one day, yet it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of kosher oil for the menorah. An eight-day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle.[31] The version of the story in 1 Maccabees
Maccabees
states that an eight-day celebration of songs and sacrifices was proclaimed upon re-dedication of the altar, and makes no specific mention of the miracle of the oil.[32] Academic sources

US Navy
US Navy
personnel light candles on Hanukkah

Some modern scholars argue that the king was intervening in an internal civil war between the Maccabean
Maccabean
Jews
Jews
and the Hellenized Jews in Jerusalem.[33][34][35][36] These competed violently over who would be the High Priest, with traditionalists with Hebrew/Aramaic names like Onias contesting with Hellenizing High Priests with Greek names like Jason and Menelaus.[37] In particular, Jason's Hellenistic reforms would prove to be a decisive factor leading to eventual conflict within the ranks of Judaism.[38] Other authors point to possible socioeconomic reasons in addition to the religious reasons behind the civil war.[39] What began in many respects as a civil war escalated when the Hellenistic kingdom of Syria
Syria
sided with the Hellenizing Jews
Jews
in their conflict with the traditionalists.[40] As the conflict escalated, Antiochus took the side of the Hellenizers by prohibiting the religious practices the traditionalists had rallied around. This may explain why the king, in a total departure from Seleucid
Seleucid
practice in all other places and times, banned a traditional religion.[41] The miracle of the oil is widely regarded as a legend and its authenticity has been questioned since the Middle Ages.[42] However, given the famous question Rabbi Yosef Karo
Yosef Karo
posed concerning why Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is celebrated for eight days when the miracle was only for seven days (since there was enough oil for one day),[43] it was clear that he believed it was a historical event. This belief has been adopted by most of Orthodox Judaism, in as much as Rabbi Karo's Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
is a main Code of Jewish Law. Timeline Further information: Second Temple
Second Temple
period

Hasmonean
Hasmonean
Kingdom, 143 BCE

Tombs of the Maccabees, Modi'in, Israel

198 BCE: Armies of the Seleucid
Seleucid
King Antiochus III (Antiochus the Great) oust Ptolemy V from Judea
Judea
and Samaria.[24] 175 BCE: Antiochus IV
Antiochus IV
(Epiphanes) ascends the Seleucid
Seleucid
throne.[44] 168 BCE: Under the reign of Antiochus IV, the second Temple is looted, Jews
Jews
are massacred, and Judaism
Judaism
is outlawed.[45] 167 BCE: Antiochus orders an altar to Zeus
Zeus
erected in the Temple. Mattathias
Mattathias
and his five sons John, Simon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah lead a rebellion against Antiochus. Judah becomes known as Judah Maccabee ("Judah the Hammer"). 166 BCE: Mattathias
Mattathias
dies, and Judah takes his place as leader. The Hasmonean
Hasmonean
Jewish Kingdom begins; It lasts until 63 BCE. 165 BCE: The Jewish revolt against the Seleucid
Seleucid
monarchy is successful in recapturing the Temple, which is liberated and rededicated (Hanukkah). 142 BCE: Re-establishment of the Second Jewish Commonwealth. The Seleucids recognize Jewish autonomy. The Seleucid
Seleucid
kings have a formal overlordship, which the Hasmoneans acknowledged. This inaugurates a period of population growth and religious, cultural and social development. This included the conquest of the areas now covered by Transjordan, Samaria, Galilee, and Idumea
Idumea
(also known as Edom), and the forced conversion of Idumeans to the Jewish religion, including circumcision.[46] 139 BCE: The Roman Senate
Roman Senate
recognizes Jewish autonomy.[47] 134 BCE: Antiochus VII Sidetes
Antiochus VII Sidetes
besieges Jerusalem. The Jews
Jews
under John Hyrcanus become Seleucid
Seleucid
vassals but retain religious autonomy.[48] 129 BCE: Antiochus VII dies.[49] The Hasmonean
Hasmonean
Jewish Kingdom throws off Syrian rule completely 96 BCE: Beginning of an eight-year civil war between Sadducee
Sadducee
king Alexander Yanai
Alexander Yanai
and the Pharisees.[50] 85–82 BCE: Consolidation of the Kingdom in territory east of the Jordan River.[51] 63 BCE: The Hasmonean
Hasmonean
Jewish Kingdom comes to an end because of a rivalry between the brothers Aristobulus II
Aristobulus II
and Hyrcanus II, both of whom appeal to the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
to intervene and settle the power struggle on their behalf. The Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) is dispatched to the area. 12 thousand Jews
Jews
are massacred in the Roman Siege of Jerusalem. The Priests of the Temple are struck down at the Altar. Rome annexes Judea.[52]

Battles of the Maccabean
Maccabean
Revolt Main article: Maccabean
Maccabean
Revolt

Maccabees
Maccabees
on the Knesset Menorah

Selected battles between the Maccabees
Maccabees
and the Seleucid
Seleucid
Syrian-Greeks:

Battle of Adasa ( Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
leads the Jews
Jews
to victory against the forces of Nicanor.) Battle of Beth Horon ( Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
defeats the forces of Seron.) Battle of Beth-zechariah
Battle of Beth-zechariah
(Elazar the Maccabee is killed in battle. Lysias has success in battle against the Maccabees, but allows them temporary freedom of worship.) Battle of Beth Zur
Battle of Beth Zur
( Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
defeats the army of Lysias, recapturing Jerusalem.) Dathema
Dathema
(A Jewish fortress saved by Judas Maccabeus.) Battle of Elasa ( Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
dies in battle against the army of King Demetrius and Bacchides. He is succeeded by Jonathan Maccabaeus and Simon Maccabaeus
Simon Maccabaeus
who continue to lead the Jews
Jews
in battle.) Battle of Emmaus ( Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
fights the forces of Lysias and Georgias). Battle of Wadi Haramia

Characters and heroes Main article: Maccabees

The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus, Rubens

Matityahu the High Priest, also referred to as Mattathias
Mattathias
and Mattathias
Mattathias
ben Johanan. Matityahu was a Jewish High Priest who, together with his five sons, played a central role in the story of Hanukkah.[53] Judah the Maccabee, also referred to as Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
and Y'hudhah HaMakabi. Judah was the eldest son of Matityahu and is acclaimed as one of the greatest warriors in Jewish history
Jewish history
alongside Joshua, Gideon, and David.[54] Eleazar the Maccabee, also referred to as Eleazar Avaran, Eleazar Maccabeus and Eleazar Hachorani/Choran. Simon the Maccabee, also referred to as Simon Maccabeus
Simon Maccabeus
and Simon Thassi. Johanan the Maccabee, also referred to as Johanan Maccabeus and John Gaddi. Jonathan the Maccabee, also referred to as Jonathan Apphus. Antiochus IV
Antiochus IV
Epiphanes. Seleucid
Seleucid
emperor controlling the region during this period. Judith. Acclaimed for her heroism in the assassination of Holofernes.[55][56] Hannah and her seven sons. Arrested, tortured and killed one by one, by Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
for refusing to bow to an idol.[57]

Rituals

Chanukah Menorah opposite Nazi building in Berlin, December 1932.

Public Hanukkah
Hanukkah
menorah in Nicosia, Cyprus

Hanukkah
Hanukkah
celebrated in the Polish Sejm, Warsaw

Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is celebrated with a series of rituals that are performed every day throughout the 8-day holiday, some are family-based and others communal. There are special additions to the daily prayer service, and a section is added to the blessing after meals.[58] Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is not a "Sabbath-like" holiday, and there is no obligation to refrain from activities that are forbidden on the Sabbath, as specified in the Shulkhan Arukh.[59][60] Adherents go to work as usual but may leave early in order to be home to kindle the lights at nightfall. There is no religious reason for schools to be closed, although in Israel
Israel
schools close from the second day for the whole week of Hanukkah.[61][62] Many families exchange gifts each night, such as books or games, and " Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Gelt" is often given to children. Fried foods (such as latkes (potato pancakes), jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot), and Sephardic
Sephardic
bimuelos) are eaten to commemorate the importance of oil during the celebration of Hanukkah. Some also have a custom of eating dairy products to remember Judith and how she overcame Holofernes
Holofernes
by feeding him cheese, which made him thirsty, and giving him wine to drink. When Holofernes
Holofernes
became very drunk, Judith
Judith
cut off his head.[63] Kindling the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lights Further information: Menorah (Hanukkah)
Menorah (Hanukkah)
and Miracle of the cruse of oil

Boy in front of a menorah

Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lights in the dark

Each night throughout the 8 day holiday, a candle or oil-based light is lit. As a universally practiced "beautification" (hiddur mitzvah) of the mitzvah, the number of lights lit is increased by one each night.[64] An extra light called a shamash, meaning "attendant" or "sexton,"[65] is also lit each night, and is given a distinct location, usually higher, lower, or to the side of the others.[66] Among Ashkenazim the tendency is for every male member of the household (and in many families, girls as well) to light a full set of lights each night,[67][68] while among Sephardim the prevalent custom is to have one set of lights for the entire household.[69] The purpose of the shamash is to adhere to the prohibition, specified in the Talmud
Talmud
(Tractate Shabbat
Shabbat
21b–23a), against using the Hanukkah lights for anything other than publicizing and meditating on the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
miracle. This differs from Sabbath candles which are meant to be used for illumination and lighting. Hence, if one were to need extra illumination on Hanukkah, the shamash candle would be available, and one would avoid using the prohibited lights. Some, especially Ashkenazim, light the shamash candle first and then use it to light the others.[70] So altogether, including the shamash, two lights are lit on the first night, three on the second and so on, ending with nine on the last night, for a total of 44 (36, excluding the shamash). It is Sephardic
Sephardic
custom not to light the shamash first and use it to light the rest. Instead, the shamash candle is the last to be lit, and a different candle or a match is used to light all the candles. Some Hasidic
Hasidic
Jews
Jews
follow this Sephardic
Sephardic
custom as well.[71] The lights can be candles or oil lamps.[70] Electric lights are sometimes used and are acceptable in places where open flame is not permitted, such as a hospital room, or for the very elderly and infirm; however, those who permit reciting a blessing over electric lamps only allow it if it is incandescent and battery operated (an incandescent flashlight would be acceptable for this purpose), while a blessing may not be recited over a plug-in menorah or lamp. Most Jewish homes have a special candelabrum referred to as either a Chanukiah (the modern Israeli term) or a menorah (the traditional name, simply Hebrew for 'lamp'). Many families use an oil lamp (traditionally filled with olive oil) for Hanukkah. Like the candle Chanukiah, it has eight wicks to light plus the additional shamash light.[72] In the United States, Hanukkah
Hanukkah
became a more visible festival in the public sphere from the 1970s when Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Menachem M. Schneerson
called for public awareness and observance of the festival and encouraged the lighting of public menorahs.[73][74][75][76] Diane Ashton attributed the increased visibility and reinvention of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
by some of the American Jewish community as a way to adapt to American life, re-inventing the festival in "the language of individualism and personal conscience derived from both Protestantism and the Enlightenment".[77] The reason for the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lights is not for the "lighting of the house within", but rather for the "illumination of the house without," so that passersby should see it and be reminded of the holiday's miracle (i.e. that the sole cruse of pure oil found which held enough oil to burn for one night actually burned for eight nights). Accordingly, lamps are set up at a prominent window or near the door leading to the street. It is customary amongst some Ashkenazi Jews
Jews
to have a separate menorah for each family member (customs vary), whereas most Sephardi Jews
Jews
light one for the whole household. Only when there was danger of antisemitic persecution were lamps supposed to be hidden from public view, as was the case in Persia under the rule of the Zoroastrians, or in parts of Europe before and during World War II. However, most Hasidic
Hasidic
groups light lamps near an inside doorway, not necessarily in public view. According to this tradition, the lamps are placed on the opposite side from the mezuzah, so that when one passes through the door s/he is surrounded by the holiness of mitzvot (the commandments).[citation needed] Generally, women are exempt in Jewish law from time-bound positive commandments, although the Talmud
Talmud
requires that women engage in the mitzvah of lighting Hanukkah
Hanukkah
candles “for they too were involved in the miracle.”[78][79] Candle-lighting time

Biala Rebbe
Rebbe
lights the menorah

Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lights should usually burn for at least half an hour after it gets dark.[80] The custom of many is to light at sundown, although most Hasidim light later.[80] Many Hasidic
Hasidic
Rebbes
Rebbes
light much later to fulfill the obligation of publicizing the miracle by the presence of their Hasidim when they kindle the lights.[81] Inexpensive small wax candles sold for Hanukkah
Hanukkah
burn for approximately half an hour so should be lit no earlier than nightfall.[80] Friday night presents a problem, however. Since candles may not be lit on Shabbat
Shabbat
itself, the candles must be lit before sunset.[80] However, they must remain lit through the lighting of the Shabbat
Shabbat
candles. Therefore, the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
menorah is lit first with larger candles than usual,[80] followed by the Shabbat
Shabbat
candles. At the end of the Shabbat, there are those who light the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lights before Havdalah
Havdalah
and those who make Havdalah
Havdalah
before the lighting Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lights.[82] If for whatever reason one didn't light at sunset or nightfall, the lights should be kindled later, as long as there are people in the streets.[80] Later than that, the lights should still be kindled, but the blessings should be recited only if there is at least somebody else awake in the house and present at the lighting of the Hannukah lights.[83] Blessings over the candles See also: List of Jewish prayers and blessings § Hanukkah Typically two blessings (brachot; singular: brachah) are recited during this eight-day festival when lighting the candles. On the first night, the shehecheyanu blessing is added, making a total of three blessings.[84] The blessings are said before or after the candles are lit depending on tradition. On the first night of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
one light (candle or oil) is lit on the right side of the menorah, on the following night a second light is placed to the left of the first but it is lit first, and so on, proceeding from placing candles right to left but lighting them from left to right over the eight nights.[85] Blessing for lighting the candles [86] בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה.‬ Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah. Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
light[s]." Blessing for the miracles of Hanukkah [86] בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה.‬ Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, she'asa nisim la'avoteinu ba'yamim ha'heim ba'z'man ha'ze. Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time..." Hanerot Halalu After the lights are kindled the hymn Hanerot Halalu is recited. There are several different versions; the version presented here is recited in many Ashkenazic
Ashkenazic
communities:[87]

Ashkenazi version:

Hebrew Transliteration English

הנרות הללו אנו מדליקין על הנסים ועל הנפלאות ועל התשועות ועל המלחמות שעשית לאבותינו בימים ההם, בזמן הזה על ידי כהניך הקדושים. וכל שמונת ימי חנוכה הנרות הללו קודש הם, ואין לנו רשות להשתמש בהם אלא להאיר אותם בלבד כדי להודות ולהלל לשמך הגדול על נסיך ועל נפלאותיך ועל ישועותיך.

Hanneirot hallalu anu madlikin 'al hannissim ve'al hanniflaot 'al hatteshu'ot ve'al hammilchamot she'asita laavoteinu bayyamim haheim, (u)bazzeman hazeh 'al yedei kohanekha hakkedoshim. Vekhol-shemonat yemei Hanukkah
Hanukkah
hanneirot hallalu kodesh heim, ve-ein lanu reshut lehishtammesh baheim ella lir'otam bilvad kedei lehodot ul'halleil leshimcha haggadol 'al nissekha ve'al nifleotekha ve'al yeshu'otekha.

We kindle these lights for the miracles and the wonders, for the redemption and the battles that you made for our forefathers, in those days at this season, through your holy priests. During all eight days of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them except for to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations.

Maoz Tzur Main article: Ma'oz Tzur In the Ashkenazi tradition, each night after the lighting of the candles, the hymn Ma'oz Tzur
Ma'oz Tzur
is sung. The song contains six stanzas. The first and last deal with general themes of divine salvation, and the middle four deal with events of persecution in Jewish history, and praises God for survival despite these tragedies (the exodus from Egypt, the Babylonian captivity, the miracle of the holiday of Purim, the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
victory), and a longing for the days when Judea
Judea
will finally triumph over Rome.[88] The song was composed in the thirteenth century by a poet only known through the acrostic found in the first letters of the original five stanzas of the song: Mordechai. The familiar tune is most probably a derivation of a German Protestant
Protestant
church hymn or a popular folk song.[89] Other customs After lighting the candles and Ma'oz Tzur, singing other Hanukkah songs is customary in many Jewish homes. Some Hasidic
Hasidic
and Sephardi Jews
Jews
recite Psalms, such as Psalms
Psalms
30, Psalms
Psalms
67, and Psalms
Psalms
91. In North America and in Israel
Israel
it is common to exchange presents or give children presents at this time. In addition, many families encourage their children to give tzedakah (charity) in lieu of presents for themselves.[90][91] Special
Special
additions to daily prayers

"We thank You also for the miraculous deeds and for the redemption and for the mighty deeds and the saving acts wrought by You, as well as for the wars which You waged for our ancestors in ancient days at this season. In the days of the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
Mattathias, son of Johanan the high priest, and his sons, when the iniquitous Greco-Syrian kingdom rose up against Your people Israel, to make them forget Your Torah and to turn them away from the ordinances of Your will, then You in your abundant mercy rose up for them in the time of their trouble, pled their cause, executed judgment, avenged their wrong, and delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and insolent ones into the hands of those occupied with Your Torah. Both unto Yourself did you make a great and holy name in Thy world, and unto Your people did You achieve a great deliverance and redemption. Whereupon your children entered the sanctuary of Your house, cleansed Your temple, purified Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courts, and appointed these eight days of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
in order to give thanks and praises unto Your holy name."

Translation of Al ha-Nissim[92]

An addition is made to the "hoda'ah" (thanksgiving) benediction in the Amidah
Amidah
(thrice-daily prayers), called Al ha-Nissim ("On/about the Miracles").[93] This addition refers to the victory achieved over the Syrians by the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
Mattathias
Mattathias
and his sons.[94][95] The same prayer is added to the grace after meals. In addition, the Hallel (praise) ( Psalms
Psalms
113 – Psalms
Psalms
118) are sung during each morning service and the Tachanun penitential prayers are omitted.[94][96] The Torah is read every day in the shacharit morning services in synagogue, on the first day beginning from Numbers 6:22 (according to some customs, Numbers 7:1), and the last day ending with Numbers 8:4. Since Hanukkah
Hanukkah
lasts eight days it includes at least one, and sometimes two, Jewish Sabbaths (Saturdays). The weekly Torah portion for the first Sabbath is almost always Miketz, telling of Joseph's dream and his enslavement in Egypt. The Haftarah
Haftarah
reading for the first Sabbath Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is Zechariah 2:14 – Zechariah 4:7. When there is a second Sabbath on Hanukkah, the Haftarah
Haftarah
reading is from 1Kings 7:40 – 1Kings 7:50. The Hanukkah
Hanukkah
menorah is also kindled daily in the synagogue, at night with the blessings and in the morning without the blessings.[97] The menorah is not lit during Shabbat, but rather prior to the beginning of Shabbat
Shabbat
as described above and not at all during the day. During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
"Megillat Antiochus" was read in the Italian synagogues on Hanukkah
Hanukkah
just as the Book of Esther
Book of Esther
is read on Purim. It still forms part of the liturgy of the Yemenite Jews.[18] Zot Hanukkah The last day of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is known by some as Zot Hanukkah
Hanukkah
and by others as Chanukat HaMizbeach, from the verse read on this day in the synagogue Numbers 7:84, Zot Hanukkat Hamizbe'ach: "This was the dedication of the altar". According to the teachings of Kabbalah
Kabbalah
and Hasidism, this day is the final "seal" of the High Holiday season of Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
and is considered a time to repent out of love for God. In this spirit, many Hasidic
Hasidic
Jews
Jews
wish each other Gmar chatimah tovah ("may you be sealed totally for good"), a traditional greeting for the Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
season. It is taught in Hasidic
Hasidic
and Kabbalistic literature that this day is particularly auspicious for the fulfillment of prayers.[98] Other related laws and customs It is customary for women not to work for at least the first half-hour of the candles' burning, and some have the custom not to work for the entire time of burning. It is also forbidden to fast or to eulogize during Hanukkah.[99] Customs Music Main article: Hanukkah
Hanukkah
music

Radomsk Hasidic
Hasidic
Ma'oz Tzur
Ma'oz Tzur
sheet music.

A large number of songs have been written on Hanukkah
Hanukkah
themes, perhaps more so than for any other Jewish holiday. Some of the best known are "Ma'oz Tzur" (Rock of Ages), "Latke'le Latke'le" (Yiddish song about cooking Latkes), " Hanukkiah
Hanukkiah
Li Yesh" ("I Have a Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Menorah"), "Ocho Kandelikas" ("Eight Little Candles"), "Kad Katan" ("A Small Jug"), "S'vivon Sov Sov Sov" ("Dreidel, Spin and Spin"), "Haneirot Halolu" ("These Candles which we light"), "Mi Yimalel" ("Who can Retell") and "Ner Li, Ner Li" ("I have a Candle"). Among the most well known songs in English-speaking countries are "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel"[100] and "Oh Chanukah".[101] Among the Rebbes
Rebbes
of the Nadvorna Hasidic
Hasidic
dynasty, it is customary for the Rebbes
Rebbes
to play violin after the menorah is lit.[102] Penina Moise's Hannukah Hymn published in the 1842 Hymns Written for the Use of Hebrew Congregations was instrumental in the beginning of Americanization of Hanukkah.[77][103][104] Foods

Potato latke frying in hot olive oil.

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 Second Temple's Menorah alight for eight days.[105] Traditional foods include potato pancakes, known as latkes in Yiddish, especially among Ashkenazi families. Sephardi, Polish, and Israeli families eat jam-filled doughnuts (Yiddish: פאנטשקעס‎ pontshkes), bimuelos (fritters) and sufganiyot which are deep-fried in oil. Hungarian Jews
Jews
eat cheese pancakes known as "cheese latkes".[106]

Sufganiyot
Sufganiyot
/ doughnuts filled with strawberry jelly

Latkes are not popular in Israel, having been largely replaced by sufganiyot due to local economic factors, convenience and the influence of trade unions.[107] Bakeries in Israel
Israel
have popularized many new types of fillings for sufganiyot besides the traditional strawberry jelly filling, including chocolate cream, vanilla cream, caramel, cappuccino and others.[108] In recent years, downsized, "mini" sufganiyot containing half the calories of the regular, 400-to-600-calorie version, have become popular.[109] Rabbinic literature also records a tradition of eating cheese and other dairy products during Hanukkah.[110] This custom, as mentioned above, commemorates the heroism of Judith
Judith
during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews
Jews
and reminds us that women also played an important role in the events of Hanukkah.[111] The deuterocanonical book of Judith
Judith
(Yehudit or Yehudis in Hebrew), which is not part of the Tanakh, records that Holofernes, an Assyrian general, had surrounded the village of Bethulia as part of his campaign to conquer Judea. After intense fighting, the water supply of the Jews
Jews
was cut off and the situation became desperate. Judith, a pious widow, told the city leaders that she had a plan to save the city. Judith
Judith
went to the Assyrian camps and pretended to surrender. She met Holofernes, who was smitten by her beauty. She went back to his tent with him, where she plied him with cheese and wine. When he fell into a drunken sleep, Judith
Judith
beheaded him and escaped from the camp, taking the severed head with her (the beheading of Holofernes
Holofernes
by Judith
Judith
has historically been a popular theme in art). When Holofernes' soldiers found his corpse, they were overcome with fear; the Jews, on the other hand, were emboldened and launched a successful counterattack. The town was saved, and the Assyrians defeated.[112] Roast goose
Roast goose
has historically been a traditional Hanukkah
Hanukkah
food among Eastern European and American Jews, although the custom has declined in recent decades.[113] Dreidel Main article: Dreidel

Dreidels / Spinning tops in a Jerusalem
Jerusalem
market

After lighting the candles, it is customary to play (or spin) the dreidel. The dreidel, or sevivon in Hebrew, is a four-sided spinning top that children play with during Hanukkah. Each side is imprinted with a Hebrew letter which is an abbreviation 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. On dreidels sold in Israel, the fourth side is inscribed with the letter פ‎ (Pe), rendering the acronym נס גדול היה פה‎ (Nes Gadol Haya Po, "A great miracle happened here"), referring to the fact that the miracle occurred in the land of Israel, although this is a relatively recent innovation. Stores in Haredi neighborhoods sell the traditional Shin dreidels as well, because they understand "there" to refer to the Temple and not the entire Land of Israel, and because the Hasidic
Hasidic
Masters ascribe significance to the traditional letters.[114][115] Hanukkah
Hanukkah
gelt Main article: Hanukkah
Hanukkah
gelt

Chocolate gelt

Chanukkah gelt
Chanukkah gelt
(Yiddish for "Chanukkah money") known in Israel
Israel
by the Hebrew translation dmei Hanukkah, is often distributed to children during the festival of Hanukkah. The giving of Hanukkah gelt
Hanukkah gelt
also adds to the holiday excitement. The amount is usually in small coins, although grandparents or relatives may give larger sums. The tradition of giving Chanukah gelt dates back to a long-standing East European custom of children presenting their teachers with a small sum of money at this time of year as a token of gratitude. One minhag favors the fifth night of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
for giving Hanukkah
Hanukkah
gelt.[116] Unlike the other nights of Hanukkah, the fifth does not ever fall on the Shabbat, hence never conflicting with the Halachic injunction against handling money on the Shabbat.[117] Hanukkah
Hanukkah
in the White House Main article: White House
White House
Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Party

President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
(left, back turned to camera) in the Oval Office, receiving a Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Menorah as a gift from the Prime Minister of Israel, David
David
Ben-Gurion (center). To the right is Abba Eban, the Ambassador of Israel
Israel
to the United States.

The United States
United States
has a history of recognizing and celebrating Hanukkah
Hanukkah
in a number of ways. The earliest Hanukkah
Hanukkah
link with the White House
White House
occurred in 1951 when Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion presented United States
United States
President Harry Truman
Harry Truman
with a Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Menorah. In 1979 president Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
took part in the first public Hanukkah
Hanukkah
candle-lighting ceremony of the National Menorah held across the White House
White House
lawn. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush displayed a menorah in the White House. In 1993, President Bill Clinton invited a group of schoolchildren to the Oval Office
Oval Office
for a small ceremony.[118] The United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
has released several Hanukkah-themed postage stamps. In 1996 the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
(USPS) issued a 32 cent Hanukkah
Hanukkah
stamp as a joint issue with Israel.[119] In 2004 after 8 years of reissuing the menorah design, the USPS issued a dreidel design for the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
stamp. The dreidel design was used through 2008. In 2009 a Hanukkah
Hanukkah
stamp was issued with a design featured a photograph of a menorah with nine lit candles.[120] In 2001, President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
held an official Hanukkah
Hanukkah
reception in the White House
White House
in conjunction with the candle-lighting ceremony, and since then this ceremony has become an annual tradition attended by Jewish leaders from around the country.[121] In 2008, George Bush linked the occasion to the 1951 gift by using that menorah for the ceremony, with a grandson of Ben-Gurion and a grandson of Truman lighting the candles.[122] In December 2014, two Hanukkah
Hanukkah
celebrations were held at the White House. The White House
White House
commissioned a menorah made by students at the Max Rayne school in Israel
Israel
and invited two of its students to join U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
and First Lady Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
as they welcomed over 500 guests to the celebration. The students' school in Israel
Israel
had been subjected to arson by extremists. President Obama said these "students teach us an important lesson for this time in our history. The light of hope must outlast the fires of hate. That’s what the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
story teaches us. It’s what our young people can teach us— that one act of faith can make a miracle, that love is stronger than hate, that peace can triumph over conflict.”[123] Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, in leading prayers at the ceremony commented on the how special the scene was, asking the President if he believed America's founding fathers could possibly have pictured that a female Asian-American rabbi would one day be at the White House leading Jewish prayers in front of the African-American president.[124] Dates Further information: Jewish and Israeli holidays 2000–2050 The dates of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
are determined by the Hebrew calendar. Hanukkah begins at the 25th day of Kislev
Kislev
and concludes on the 2nd or 3rd day of Tevet
Tevet
( Kislev
Kislev
can have 29 or 30 days). The Jewish day begins at sunset. Hanukkah
Hanukkah
begins at sunset of the date listed.

27 November 2013 16 December 2014 6 December 2015 24 December 2016 12 December 2017 2 December 2018 22 December 2019 10 December 2020

In 2013, on 28 November, the American holiday of Thanksgiving fell during Hanukkah
Hanukkah
for only the third time since Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln. The last time was 1899; and due to the Gregorian and Jewish calendars being slightly out of sync with each other, it will not happen again in the foreseeable future.[125] This convergence prompted the creation of the portmanteau neologism Thanksgivukkah.[126][127][128] Symbolic importance

Second night of Hannukah at Jerusalem's Western Wall

Major Jewish holidays
Jewish holidays
are those when all forms of work are forbidden, and that feature traditional holiday meals, kiddush, holiday candle-lighting, etc. Only biblical holidays fit these criteria, and Chanukah was instituted some two centuries after the Hebrew Bible was completed. Nevertheless, though Chanukah is of rabbinic origin, it is traditionally celebrated in a major and very public fashion. The requirement to position the menorah, or Chanukiah, at the door or window, symbolizes the desire to give the Chanukah miracle a high-profile.[129] Some Jewish historians suggest a different explanation for the rabbinic reluctance to laud the militarism. First, the rabbis wrote after Hasmonean
Hasmonean
leaders had led Judea
Judea
into Rome’s grip and so may not have wanted to offer the family much praise. Second, they clearly wanted to promote a sense of dependence on God, urging Jews
Jews
to look toward the divine for protection. They likely feared inciting Jews
Jews
to another revolt that might end in disaster, like the CE 135 experience.[130] With the advent of Zionism and the state of Israel, however, these themes were reconsidered. In modern Israel, the national and military aspects of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
became, once again, more dominant.[131][132]

US President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
attends Menorah Lighting, Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C., 1979

In North America especially, Hanukkah
Hanukkah
gained increased importance with many Jewish families in the latter part of the 20th century, including among large numbers of secular Jews, who wanted a Jewish alternative to the Christmas
Christmas
celebrations that often overlap with Hanukkah. Though it was traditional among Ashkenazi Jews
Jews
to give "gelt" or money to children during Hanukkah, in many families this has been supplemented with other gifts so that Jewish children can enjoy gifts just as their Christmas-celebrating peers do.[133] While Hanukkah
Hanukkah
is a relatively minor Jewish holiday, as indicated by the lack of religious restrictions on work other than a few minutes after lighting the candles, in North America, Hanukkah
Hanukkah
in the 21st century has taken a place equal to Passover
Passover
as a symbol of Jewish identity. Both the Israeli and North American versions of Hanukkah emphasize resistance, focusing on some combination of national liberation and religious freedom as the defining meaning of the holiday.[134] Some Jews
Jews
in North America and Israel
Israel
have taken up environmental concerns in relation to Hanukkah's "miracle of the oil", emphasizing reflection on energy conservation and energy independence. An example of this is the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life's renewable energy campaign.[135][136][137] Gallery An entire room of Paris's Museum of Jewish Art and History is dedicated to Hanukkah, through an exceptional collection of Hanukkiyot, in a variety of shapes and designs, origins and periods. This panorama stands as a metaphor for the great diversity of Jewish customs throughout the world.

France, 14th century

France, 16th century

Germany, 17th century

Italy, 18th century

Poland, 18th century

France, 19th century

Europe, 19th century

Yemen, 20th century

Tunisia, 20th century

Israel, 20th century

See also

Judaism
Judaism
portal

Hasmonean
Hasmonean
kingdom Jewish greetings Miracle of the cruse of oil

References

^ "How to Light the Menorah". chabad.org. Archived from the original on 5 June 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.  ^ "JTA NEWS". Joi.org. Archived from the original on 6 October 2007.  ^ "BBC - Schools - Religion - Judaism". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Being Jewish: The Spiritual and Cultural Practice of Judaism
Judaism
Today, Ari L. Goldman, Simon and Schuster, pg141 ^ Scherman, Nosson. "Origin of the Name Chanukah". Torah.org. Archived from the original on 7 December 2012.  ^ Ran Shabbat
Shabbat
9b ("Hebrew text". ) ^ Orthodox Union, The Lights of Chanukah – Laws and Customs. 9 April 2014. ^ Carson, D. A. (2005). Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 307. ISBN 9781597521185. E. AN ALEXANDRIAN CANON? Some assert that the Greek translation of the Old Testament (called the Septuagint
Septuagint
or LXX) offers evidence that the canon of diaspora Judaism  ^ "The Old Testament". Orthodoxchristian.info. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Dolanksy, Shawna (23 December 2011). "The Truth(s) About Hanukkah". Huffington Post.  ^ Yesod Hamishna Va'arichatah pp. 25–28 ("Hebrew text". ) ^ "Jewishvirtuallibrary.org". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 25 December 2011.  ^ Adsole, Atenebris. "Babylonian Talmud: Shabbath 21". Come-and-hear.com. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "Sukkah 46a:8". www.sefaria.org.  ^ Josephus. "Jewish Antiquities". doi:10.4159/DLCL.josephus-jewish_antiquities.1930. Retrieved 1 July 2016.   – via digital Loeb Classical Library (subscription required) ^ Perseus.tufts.edu, Jewish Antiquities xii. 7, § 7, #323 ^ Zvieli, Benjamin. "The Scroll of Antiochus". Retrieved 28 January 2007.  ^ a b "The Scroll Of The Hasmoneans". Archived from the original on 28 May 2007.  ^ Saadia Gaon, Introduction to Sefer Ha-Iggaron (ed. Abraham Firkovich), Odessa 1868 (Hebrew); See also The Scroll of Antiochus and The Unknown Chanukah Megillah ^ Hubarah, Yosef. "Sefer Ha-Tiklāl (Tiklal Qadmonim)". Jerusalem 1964, pp. 75b–79b, s.v. מגלת בני חשמונאי (Hebrew).  Missing or empty url= (help) ^ This is the first reference to the Feast of Dedication by this name (ta egkainia, ta enkainia [a typical “festive plural”]) in Jewish literature (Hengel 1999: 317). " ^ Andrew Gabriel Roth, Aramaic English New Testament, 3rd Ed., Netzari Press LLV, 2008, p.266 ^ Mercer Dictionary of the Bible ed. Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard – 1990 -"Hence Hanukkah
Hanukkah
also is called the Feast of Lights, an alternate title Josephus
Josephus
confirms with this rationale: "And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it 'Lights.' I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival." (per The works of Flavius Josephus
Josephus
translated by William Whiston) ^ a b Sacchi, Paolo (13 October 2004). "The History of the Second Temple Period". Bloomsbury Publishing – via Google Books.  ^ "Livy". Thelatinlibrary.com. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Old.perseus.tufts.edu[permanent dead link] Jewish War i. 31 ^ Josephus, Flavius (20 July 2012). "The Great Roman-Jewish War". Courier Corporation – via Google Books.  ^ Old.perseus.tufts.edu[permanent dead link], Jewish War i. 34 ^ "1 Maccabees". www.earlyjewishwritings.com.  ^ "1 Macc. iv. 59". Archived from the original on 27 June 2004.  ^ "All's Well – When it Ends". www.chabad.org.  ^ "1 Macc. iv. 36". Archived from the original on 16 January 2008.  ^ Telushkin, Joseph (1991). Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History. W. Morrow. p. 114. ISBN 0-688-08506-7.  ^ Johnston, Sarah Iles (2004). Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Harvard University Press. p. 186. ISBN 0-674-01517-7.  ^ Greenberg, Irving (1993). The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays. Simon & Schuster. p. 29. ISBN 0-671-87303-2.  ^ Schultz, Joseph P. (1981). Judaism
Judaism
and the Gentile Faiths: Comparative Studies in Religion. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 155. ISBN 0-8386-1707-7. Modern scholarship on the other hand considers the Maccabean
Maccabean
revolt less as an uprising against foreign oppression than as a civil war between the orthodox and reformist parties in the Jewish camp  ^ Gundry, Robert H. (2003). A Survey of the New Testament. Zondervan. p. 9. ISBN 0-310-23825-0.  ^ Grabbe, Lester L. (2000). Judaic Religion in the Second Temple Period: Belief and Practice from the Exile to Yavneh. Routledge. p. 59. ISBN 0-415-21250-2.  ^ Freedman, David
David
Noel; Allen C. Myers; Astrid B. Beck (2000). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 837. ISBN 0-8028-2400-5.  ^ Wood, Leon James (1986). A Survey of Israel's History. Zondervan. p. 357. ISBN 0-310-34770-X.  ^ Tcherikover, Victor (1999) [1959]. Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews. Baker Academic. ISBN 0-8010-4785-4.  ^ Skolnik, Berenbaum, Fred, Michael (2007). Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 9. Granite Hill Publishers, pg 332.  ^ https://chicagotorah.org/why-eight-days/ ^ M. Zambelli, "L'ascesa al trono di Antioco IV Epifane di Siria," Rivista di Filologia e di Istruzione Classica 38 (1960) 363–389 ^ Newsom, Carol Ann; Breed, Brennan (2014). Daniel: A Commentary. Presbyterian Publish Corp. p. 26 ^ Josephus, Ant. xiii, 9:1., via ^ 1 Maccabees
Maccabees
8:17-20 ^ Smith, Mahlon H. "Antiochus VII Sidetes".  ^ Ginzburg, Louis (1901). "Antiochus VII., Sidetes". Jewish Encyclopedia.  ^ Ginzberg, Louis. "ALEXANDER JANNÆUS (Jonathan)". Retrieved 2017-12-13.  Jewish Encyclopedia. ^ Ginzberg, Louis. "ALEXANDER JANNÆUS (Jonathan)". Retrieved 2017-12-13. His three years' war east of the Jordan (about 85-82) was successful; and he conquered Pella, Dium, Gerasa, Gaulana, Seleucia, and the strong fortress Gamala.  Jewish Encyclopedia. ^ Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews
Jews
14:70-71 ^ Dr. Chuck Missler. "Happy Hanukkah". Mattathias
Mattathias
and his five sons became the nucleus of a growing band of rebels against Antiochus.  ^ Saundra L. Washington. God's Intertestamental Silence: Then Came Jesus Christ. p. 14.  ^ "On Hanukkah, Women As Role Models". Also in the Apocrypha is the Book of Judith, which tells how this heroine stopped the siege of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
by decapitating Holofernes, a major military leader for the enemy.  ^ "December: Judith
Judith
and the Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Story". For several centuries there was another hero associated with Hanukkah: Judith.  ^ Elizabeth A. Dice. Christmas
Christmas
and Hanukkah. p. 24.  ^ "Chanukah with Torah Tidbits - Jewish Holidays". Ou.org. 29 June 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Shulkhan Arukh
Shulkhan Arukh
Orach Chayim 670:1 ^ "The Laws of Chanukah by Rabbi Mordechai Becher". Ohr.edu. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Skop, Yarden (24 March 2014). "Education Ministry Changes Start of School Year - Again". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 12 December 2017 – via Haaretz.  ^ "לוח החופשות והימים המיוחדים לשנת תשע"ח". Edu.gov.il. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "Chanukah - Its Customs". Kashrut.com. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Shulkhan Arukh
Shulkhan Arukh
Orach Chayim 671:2 ^ "How to Light the Menorah - Light Up Your Environment!". Chabad.org. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "The Laws of Chanukah by Rabbi Mordechai Becher". Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "Halacha L'Maaseh on Chanuka". Orthodox Union. Retrieved 2 December 2017.  ^ "Why Don't Women Work While the Chanukah Candles Are Burning?". Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center. Retrieved 2 December 2017.  ^ "Hakirah.org" (PDF). Hakirah.org. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ a b Shulkhan Arukh
Shulkhan Arukh
Orach Chayim 673:1 ^ "The following is a response from Hakham Ya". Midrash.org. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "OU's Chanukah Guide - Everyday Jewish Living - Synagogue Resources".  ^ Joshua
Joshua
Eli Plaut, A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to be Jewish. Rutgers University Press, 2012. Page 167. ^ Jonathan D. Sarna, How Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Came To The White House. Forward, 2 December 2009. ^ Joseph Telushkin, Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History. HarperCollins, 2014. Page 269. ^ Menachem Posner, 40 Years Later: How the Chanukah Menorah Made Its Way to the Public sphere. 1 December 2014. ^ a b Ashton, Dianne (2013). Hanukkah
Hanukkah
in America: A History. NYU Press. p. 42–46. ISBN 9781479858958. Throughout the nineteenth century some Jews
Jews
tried various ways to adapt Judaism
Judaism
to American life. As they began looking for images to help understand and explain what a proper response to American Challenges might be, Hanukkah
Hanukkah
became ripe for reinvention. In Charleston, South Carolina, one group of Jews
Jews
made Hanukkah
Hanukkah
into a time for serious religious reflexion that responded to their evangelical Protestant milieu...[Moise's] poem gave Hanukkah
Hanukkah
a place in the emerging religious style of American culture that was dominated by the language of individualism and personal conscience derived from both Protestantism and the Enlightenment. However, neither the Talmud
Talmud
nor the Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
identifies Hanukkah
Hanukkah
as a special occasion to ask for the forgiveness of sins.  ^ Babylonian Talmud: Shabbat
Shabbat
23a ^ Yosef, Rabbeinu Ovadia. "The Obligation of Women Regarding Chanukah Candles : Daily Halacha Based on the Rulings of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt"l". Halachayomit.co.il. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ a b c d e f "Chanukah Guide". Retrieved 4 December 2015. the menorah must contain enough fuel at the time of the lighting to burn until 30 minutes after nightfall  ^ http://rabbikaganoff.com/some-light-chanukah-questions/ see statement about lighting when people are around ^ "CTI Laws and Customs of Chanukah". Retrieved 4 December 2015.  ^ "What to do on Chanukah". Retrieved 4 December 2015.  ^ Shulkhan Arukh
Shulkhan Arukh
Orach Chayim 676:1–2 ^ "The Lights of Chanukah: Laws and Customs - Jewish Holidays". 9 April 2014.  ^ a b Celebrate!: The Complete Jewish Holidays Handbook. Jason Aronson, Incorporated. 2000. ISBN 9781461627722. Retrieved 2017-12-18.  ^ Shulkhan Arukh
Shulkhan Arukh
Orach Chayim 676:4 ^ "Maoz Tzur: Translation & Explanation - Jewish Holidays". 29 June 2006.  ^ "Maoz Tzur: Rock of Ages". My Jewish Learning.  ^ " Hanukkah
Hanukkah
ushers in 'tzedakah,' a religious obligation to do what is right and just". 7 December 2012.  ^ "The Fifth Night Project: Teaching Giving During Hanukkah". 11 December 2012.  ^ Singer, Isidore (1905). "Chanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication". New Era Illustrated Magazine. 5: 621 – via Google Books.  ^ Shulkhan Arukh
Shulkhan Arukh
Orach Chayim 682:1 ^ a b "Chanukah with Torah Tidbits - Jewish Holidays". 29 June 2006.  ^ "Al Hanisim: Concerning the Miracles - My Jewish Learning".  ^ "133. Days on Which Tachanun is Omitted - OU Torah".  ^ "Chanuka - Lighting in Shul - Torah Musings". www.torahmusings.com.  ^ "Hanukkah's Last Light".  ^ "The Laws of Chanukah". Ohr Somayach.  ^ "Chanukah - Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel". As one of the most famous Chanukah songs...  ^ " Oh Chanukah
Oh Chanukah
(Jewish Traditional) sheet music for Trombone". Oh Chanukah (or Oj Chanukah) is a very popular modern English Chanukah song.  ^ Greenberg, Shlomo; Haredim, Behadrey (15 December 2012). "Belz resumed practice of playing violin at candle lighting". bhol.co.il. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2015.  ^ Ashton, Dianne. "Quick to the Party: The Americanization of Hanukkah and Southern Jewry". Southern Jewish History. 12: 1–38.  ^ "The Philadelphia Jewish Voice". Pjvoice.com. 7 January 2006. Retrieved 25 December 2011.  ^ " Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Q&A". The New York Times. 12 December 2006.  ^ Jeffay, Nathan (17 December 2009). "Why Israel
Israel
is a latke-free zone". thejc.com.  ^ Gur, Jana, The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey, pp. 238–243, Schocken (2008) ISBN 0-8052-1224-8 ^ [1][permanent dead link] ^ Benyamina Soloveitchik, Why All the Oil and Cheese?. ^ "The Story of Yehudit - The Woman Who Saved the Day". Chabad.org. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Mishna
Mishna
Berurah 670:2:10 ^

John Cooper, Eat and be Satisfied: A Social History of Jewish Food (Jason Aronson, 1993), p. 192. Florence Fabricant, Hanukkah's a-Coming: Geese Are Getting Fat, New York Times (23 November 1994). Jeffrey Yoskowitz, Goose: A Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Tradition, New York Times (24 December 2016).

^ "The Surprising Origin of the Dreidel
Dreidel
- My Jewish Learning".  ^ Rosenberg, Anat (14 December 2014). "Gyration Nation: The Weird Ancient History of the Dreidel" – via Haaretz.  ^ Golinkin, David. "Why Do We Give Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Gelt and Hanukkah Presents?", Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, 19 December 2014. Accessed 28 December 2016. ^ Lebowitz, Aryeh. "Chanukah Gelt and Gifts", Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev, 11 December 2005, Volume XVII – Issue 6. Accessed 28 December 2016. "In fact, the Orchos Rabeinu in cheilek ג teaches that the Steipler Gaon maintained the minhag of giving out Chanukah gelt davka on the fifth night of Chanukah. Why specifically the fifth night? Answers the Orchos Rabeinu, since the fifth night is the only night that cannot coincide with Shabbos." ^ "How Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Came to the White House". The Jewish Daily Forward. 2 December 2009.  ^ "Israeli-American Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Stamp". Mfa.gov.il. 22 October 1996. Retrieved 17 January 2013.  ^ Service, United States
United States
Postal. "Stamp Announcement 09-47: Hanukkah". about.usps.com. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "5 Thoughts On The Furor Over The White House's Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Party". Thefederalist.com. 11 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "From the Archives: Hanukkah
Hanukkah
at the White House". Obamawhitehouse.archives.gov. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "Arab-Jewish school's menorah lights up White House
White House
Hanukkah
Hanukkah
party". Timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "A Most Inspiring Hanukkah
Hanukkah
at the White House". Blogs.forward.com. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Hoffman, Joel (24 November 2013). "Why Hanukkah
Hanukkah
and Thanksgiving Will Never Again Coincide". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2 December 2013.  ^ Amy Spiro (17 November 2013). "Thanksgivukka: Please pass the turkey-stuffed doughnuts". Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Post. Retrieved 22 November 2013.  ^ Christine Byrne (2 October 2013). "How To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, The Best Holiday Of All Time". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 10 October 2013.  ^ Stu Bykofsky (22 October 2012). "Thanks for Thanukkah!". Philly.com. Retrieved 11 October 2013.  ^ "Chanukah FAQs". Chabad.org. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Dianne Ashton, Hanukkah
Hanukkah
in America: A History, New York: New York University Press, 2013; p. 29. ^ Bonna Haberman (1 October 2014). Rereading Israel: The Spirit of the Matter. Urim Publications. pp. 152–. ISBN 978-965-524-202-7.  ^ Michael Berkowitz (2004). Nationalism, Zionism and ethnic mobilization of the Jews
Jews
in 1900 and beyond [electronic resource]. BRILL. pp. 244–. ISBN 90-04-13184-1.  ^ " Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Gifts - My Jewish Learning". Myjewishlearning.com. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ Institute, Shalom Hartman. "Reinventing Hanukkah: The Israeli Politics of the Maccabean
Maccabean
Holiday". hartman.org.il. Retrieved 12 December 2017.  ^ "Shalom Center on Hannukah and the environment". Theshalomcenter.org. 16 November 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2011.  ^ Hoffman, Gil (4 December 2007). " Jerusalem
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Post: Green Hanukkia' campaign sparks ire". Fr.jpost.com. Archived from the original on 4 December 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2011.  ^ Dobb, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder (6 July 2011). "CFL Hannukah Installation ceremony". Coalition on Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL). Archived from the original on 28 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Kaufmann, Kohler (1901–1906). "ḤANUKKAH". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.  Further reading

Ashton, Dianne (2013). Hanukkah
Hanukkah
in America: A History. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-0739-5. 

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Day after Thanksgiving (24) Election Day (CA, DE, HI, KY, MT, NJ, NY, OH, PR, WV, proposed federal) Family Day (NV) Hanukkah
Hanukkah
(religious) Lā Kūʻokoʻa (HI, unofficial) Native American Heritage Day (MD, WA) Obama Day
Obama Day
(Perry County, AL)

December

Christmas
Christmas
(religious, federal)

Alabama Day (AL) Christmas
Christmas
Eve (KY, NC, SC) Day after Christmas
Christmas
(KY, NC, SC, TX) Festivus Hanukkah
Hanukkah
(religious, week) Indiana Day
Indiana Day
(IN) Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa
(religious, week) National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
(36) New Year's Eve Pan American Aviation Day (36) Rosa Parks Day
Rosa Parks Day
(OH, OR) Wright Brothers Day (36)

Varies (year round)

Eid al-Adha
Eid al-Adha
(religious) Eid al-Fitr
Eid al-Fitr
(religious) Ramadan
Ramadan
(religious, month)

Legend: (federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies Bold indicates major holidays commonly celebrated in the United States, which often represent the major celebrations of the month. See also: Lists of holidays, Hallmark holidays, public holidays in the United States, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.

Authority control

LCCN: sh85058776 GND: 4322509-3 SUDOC: 027900703 BNF:

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