holidaysheet_chanukah by xuyuzhu


									To help enrich your appreciation of the upcoming holiday, Kolel is happy to provide this “fact sheet.” We hope it helps
you prepare both spiritually and physically. Please feel free to study with us any time at or at any of our
classes at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre, or the Family Resource
Centre at the Promenade. You can reach us at 416-636-1880 ext 255.

WHAT IS IT?                                                     has an additional central or taller ninth candle called
The annual eight-day “festival of lights”                       the shamash (“helper”) is lit each evening at sunset.
Chanukah=dedication                                             (On Shabbat the Chanukiah is lit BEFORE the
Pronounced in Hebrew “Chah-noo-kah” with the                    Shabbat candles.) The shamash is used to light the
accent on “cha”; in popular parlance as “Hah-nah-               other candles.You light the newest candle first, i.e.
kah”.(Remember the “ch” sound is guttural and                   light from the left of the Chanukiah, adding one new
not ch as in chair.) This holiday seems to be                   candle each night. (The blessings and
spelled a million ways! You’ll see Chanukah or                  choreography appear on the other side of this
Hanukah or Hanukkah or Chanukkah...                             sheet.) It is traditional to put the Chanukiah in your
                                                                window facing the street in order to “publicize the
WHY IS IT?                                                      miracle.” Some families light one Chanukiah for each
Chanukah commemorates the victory of the                        person, and some use olive oil and wicks as well as
Maccabees over the oppressive rule of                           candles to remind them of the miracle of the oil.
Antiochus and the Syrio-Greeks who had                          Children play the game of dreidel which is a
conquered Israel in the 2nd century BCE.                        spinning top, and gifts can be exchanged.
Antiochus had outlawed the main precepts of                     Chanukah is often put together with the winter
Judaism and had decreed that idolatrous                         festivals of other religions but it has nothing to do
practices be instituted at the Temple, defiling the             either religiously or historically with them, except
altar. Led by Judah, the small Maccabee army                    that it falls at that time of year. It’s important to
won, and they rededicated the altar. The Talmud                 remember Chanukah has its roots in a revolution
relates that when they came to light the Temple                 against assimilation!
candelabra (Menorah) there was only enough oil
for one day, but it miraculously lasted for eight               WHAT DO WE EAT?
days until more could be secured. An eight day                  Latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil) with
festival of lights was instituted to remember not               applesauce and/or sour cream; today there are
only this military victory, but the spiritual lesson of         many modern versions of latkes made of
keeping Judaism alive even in dark times, fighting              everything from zucchini to rice! The point is to eat
the denial of our unique tradition, and keeping faith           something fried in oil to remember the miracle of the
that miracles can happen!                                       oil. In Israel the tradition is to eat jelly donuts
                                                                (sufganiot.) There is also a tradition of eating cheese
WHEN IS IT?                                                     because of the story of Judith, a pious woman who
The 25th of the Hebrew month Kislev, which                      was able to trick the general Holofernes by feeding
usually falls somewhere between November                        him cheese, making him thirsty so he drank wine
and December.                                                   and fell asleep, and then killing him, bringing
                                                                inspiration to the beleaguered Jews.
The festival of Chanukah actually does not                      WHAT DO WE SAY?
appear in the Torah. It is based on both the                    Since Chanukah is not actually a “chag” (Torah-
Book of Maccabees (found in the Apocrypha)                      ordained holiday in which we do no work) we
and the Talmud.                                                 generally do not say “chag sameach” as in other
                                                                holidays like Sukkot or Pesach. Instead we add the
WHAT DO WE DO?                                                  word “urim” (lights) and say “Chag Urim Sameach”.
Chanukah is a home-based celebration. A special                 In English is is appropriate to just say “Happy
eight-branched menorah, called a Chanukiah, which               Chanukah.”

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