The Celebration Of Chanukah Research Paper

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The Celebration Of Chanukah Essay, Research Paper

The Celebration of Chanukah

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The taper visible radiation flickered in Dorothy Abramawitz s eyes. In her bantam, dumpy right manus she held the shammus, the host taper, and burned the wick until the fire was glowing brilliantly. While she began to illume the first taper on the Menorah, she heard her female parent s voice singing quietly, Boruch Atoh Adonoy, Eloheinu Melech Hoolom, Asher Kideshonu Bemitzvosov Vetzivonu Lehadlik Ner Chanukah. Blessed are You, Lord our God King of the existence, Who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us to inflame the visible radiations of Chanukah. She passed the shammus taper to her sister, who lit the 2nd taper and so passed it to her brother to illume the 3rd. Boruch Atoh Adonoy, Eloheinu Melech Hoolom, Sheoso Nisim La’avoseinu Bayomim Hoheim Bizman Hazeh. Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the existence, Who wrought miracles for our male parents in yearss of old, at this season. This passing of the candle went until all eight of the siblings had had a opportunity to illume a taper, and by the clip that had finished, it left the Chanukah Menorah to the full ablaze. Boruch Atoh Adonoy, Eloheinu Melech Hoolom, Shehechiyonu Vekiyimonu, Vehigionu Lizman Hazeh. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the existence, Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to make this season.

Dorothy watched the hot wax semivowel from the top of the taper, down its organic structure, and spatter on the wooden tabular array on which the Menorah was standing tall. Chanukah was her favourite Judaic vacation to observe. It was a clip of household, good nutrient, and gifts. It was a clip for recollection of the miracles that God had one time done for her people, and could

make one time once more. But this twelvemonth s jubilation was different. There were no gifts or excessive banquets. There was no laughter or loud jubilations. A black cover covered the window, so that she could non see the Russian landscape outside the house, and so that the Gestapo could non see the household s Judaic patterns. Everything they did had to be hidden now, had to be concealed.

Her brown eyes danced and her calendered brown coils shined in the firelight. Switching them from the Menorah toward her female parent, she had to laugh. Even her female parent s visual aspect was different this twelvemonth. On top of her female parent s caput was a yammika, the traditional chapeau that the work forces of the household wore on their caputs whenever they prayed or gave a approval. Dorothy s male parent had been gone for months now, sailed from Mother Russia to America, the new promised land, to happen them a place and freedom. Her female parent was making everything she could to do the vacation experience the same for Dorothy and her seven siblings, even sing the supplications. She hoped that, following twelvemonth, her male parent would be have oning the yammika, singing the supplications, and reciting the narrative of their ascendants one time once more, with the American landscape as the position from the window.1

Chanukah, besides known as the festival of visible radiations, is an eight twenty-four hours festival get downing on the twenty-fifth twenty-four hours of the Judaic month of Kislev. It falls sometime in the terminal of the month of December on the American calender. The Hebrew interlingual rendition of this word is rededication. Chanukah is likely one of the best known Judaic vacations. Many non-Jews think of this vacation as the Jewish Christmas, following many of the Christmas imposts, such as gift-giving and ornament. It is dry that this vacation, which

came about being because of the suppression of Judaic faith, has become the most secular vacation on our calendar. This jubilation is a banquet of release, symbolic of the triumph of the few over many, and of the weak over the strong.

The narrative of Chanukah begins with the reign of Alexander the Great, more than 2,000 old ages ago. Alexander captured much of the Judaic districts, such as Syria, Egypt and Palestine. Because he was so benevolent a swayer, he allowed these lands to go on with the observation of their faiths and traditions. After a century of being ruled by Alexander, Antiochus IV, who was Alexander s replacement, took control of this country.

Antiochus, the Syrian-Greek male monarch, began to stamp down and suppress the Judaic faith and attempted to coerce pagan religion upon the Jews. He merely desecrated the Judaic Temple. He placed non-Jewish priests in their Temple, adorned them with heathen graven images and tried coercing the Jews to idolize them. He and his guards made offerings to Greek Gods at their communion tables. They tore drapes, knocked down memorials, and wholly destroyed the inside of the Temple. Then, they did the individual act that defiled the Temple in itself – Antiochus brought in hogs. Hogs, in the Judaic faith, are a really unsacred, dirty animate being that are out to eat, and to give as forfeits to God. They brought the hogs in alive, and allow them walk over the thresh clasp of the Temple. The hogs relieved themselves, go forthing their fecal matters on the floor. This was the last blow for the Jews.

A adult male named Matthias and his five boies, the Maccabaeus, stood up to Antiochus

and his work forces. They proclaimed that they themselves would non idolize a God other than their God, and would non allow them do other Jews do so either. When the Syrians pursued them to stop their lives, they fled to the hills and collected people who were willing to contend for Judaic freedom. Though their ground forces was little compared to the Syrian hosts, after contending for about three old ages, the Jews were able to repossess T

inheritor freedom and independency.

Then began the clip of reconstructing and rededicating the Temple. There was much cleansing and mending to be done so that the Temple would be wholly restored. At this clip, there was really small oil left that had non been made impure by the Syrians. Oil was needed to illume the Menorah, or candelabra, and at that place was merely adequate oil to last through one dark ( Tracey ) . And so the Jews began the cleaning of the Temple. They restacked the alters with new rocks, washed hog s blood from the walls, burned the graven images of other Gods, and swept the floors. Miraculously, the oil that should hold burned out after one dark lasted the Jews eight yearss, the clip it took them to finish the undertaking of reconstructing the Temple ( Krythe 245 ) .

After the Restoration had been completed, on the 25th twenty-four hours of Kislev, the priests made a forfeit on the new alter and rededicated the Temple to God. The Jews celebrated a banquet in symbolism of their subjugation and battle for spiritual freedom ( Krythe 245, 246 ) .

In Book XII, Chapter VII, of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus describes this jubilation: Now [ the Maccabaeus ] celebrated the festival of the Restoration of the forfeits of the temple for eight yearss; and omitted no kind of pleasances thereon; but [ they ] feasted them upon really rich and glorious forfeits; and he honored God, and delighted them by anthem and Psalms. Nay, they were so

really glad at the resurgence of their imposts, when, after a long clip of intermission, they out of the blue had regained the freedom of their worship that they made it a jurisprudence for their descendants, that they should maintain a festival on history of the Restoration of their temple worship, for eight yearss. And from that clip to this, we celebrate this festival, and name it Lights. I suppose the ground was, because this autonomy beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to the festival … ( qtd. in Krythe 246 ) .

Today, we celebrate Chanukah by illuming tapers. These tapers are arranged on a candelabra, called a Menorah. The Menorah holds nine tapers: one for each dark, and the shammus taper, the retainer taper used to illume all the others ( Tracey ) . Each flushing another visible radiation is added to the Menorah until all eight visible radiations radiance on the 8th dark. While the shammus taper is lit, three berakhot, or approvals, are recited. The tapers are to fire all the manner out, undisturbed. After the visible radiations are kindled, a Thanksgiving supplication is said ( For Every Jew ) .

During this jubilation, members of the household exchange gifts, eat traditional nutrients, and play games. Each dark of Chanukah a gift is given, ( Krythe 247 ) . Small sums of boodle, or money, is besides frequently given. Fried nutrients are traditional, because of the significance of the oil. Potato potato pancakes, which are fried potato bars, are most popular. Of all the Chanukah games, dreidal is the most played. It is a gambling game, played with a square top for pennies, cocoa coins, and things of that kind. Many vocals are sung, and a good clip is had by all ( JSOURCE ) .

To Jews in all ages, the narrative of Chanukah dramatically demonstrates that there was no force in the universe that could win in oppressing the free and dedicated spirit in adult male ( Ickis 89 ) . Though these Hebrews were persecuted, their God proved Himself to be a powerful, loving and marvelous God. The Jews decidedly have cause for jubilation.

By now, there was a big aggregation of different colored wax on the wooden tabular array. Little Dorothy and her brothers and sisters sat around the tabular array, waiting for the concluding Chanukah taper on the Menorah to fire its last. Finally, the fire flickered, the fire died and a slow column of fume began to lift. Dorothy smiled as her female parent sang the concluding supplication, Hanairos Halalu Anu Madelikin, Al hatesuos, ve’al hanisim, ve’al hanifelaot, sheasisa la’avosaynu bayamim haham bizmman haze, Al yeday cohanecha hakedoshim. Vechal shemonas yemay Hanukkah, hanaros halalu kodesh jambon, veayn lanu reshus lehishetamash bahayn, elah lireosan bilebad, ceday lehodos ulehalal leshimechah hagadol, al niseychah veau nifeleosecha, val yeshuosecha. We kindle these visible radiations to mark the economy Acts of the Apostless, miracles and admirations which You have performed for our sires, in those yearss at this clip through You holy Kohanim. throughout the eight yearss of Chanukah, these visible radiations are sacred, and we are non permitted to do usage of them, but merely to look at them, in order to offer thanks and congratulations to Your great Name for Your miracles, for Your admirations and for Your redemptions ( For Every Hebrew: Chanukah ) .1


1 Adapted from an interview over the phone with Dorothy Young, my Russian-Jewish great-grandmother. She retold memories of Chanukahs during her childhood. Through amplifications of her contemplations, I was able to make the narrative that I have about Dorothy Abramawitz.

Plants Cited

Ickis, Marguerite. The Book of Festival Holidays. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co, 1964.

Krythe, Maymie. All About American Vacations: How More Than 50 of Our Holidays Originated and Are Observed Today. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1962.

Mitchell, Bard. Chanukah. American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise s The Judaic Student Online Research Center ( JSOURCE ) . 4 December 2000,

Tracey, Rich. Chanukkah. Judaism 101. 7 December 2000,

For Every Jew: Chanukah. For Every Jew. 4 December 2000,


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