Quick Few Words on Chanukah…
A time of candle lighting, doughnuts, latkas and celebration but what is really going on behind the scenes in our celebration of Chanukah and what should we actually be focusing on?

Chanukah is a celebrating of two miracles; the more highlighted of these is that of the miracle with the oil which kept burning for 8 days in the Beis Hamikdash (temple) even though the amount present would not usually be able to last more than a day. More importantly however, we celebrate our victory over the Greeks in war .

The word חנוכה when broken down means; חנו – they rested, on the 25th day ‘כה’ which literally means we won the war against the Greeks on this day, hence why Chanukah is celebrated on the 25th Tammuz. The reason the celebration is 8 days is in memory of the 8 days in which the oil burnt (which was also the amount of time it took to go and get new oil from reserves in the Judean Hills). The Chanukiah is therefore specifically designed to symbolise this miracle and is not a replica of the Menorah from the Beis Hamikdash which had 6 arms, not 8! The lights are also seen as a symbolism of our relationship with Hashem;

• The oil is symbolic of Jews- just like oil, we as Jews always float to the top in whatever society we appear in, from Yoseph to Einstein… and sometimes unfortunately in less pleasant ways for example we love to get put in prison for fraud. It is said that a Jew has the ability to rise much higher than a goy but he can also sink much lower.

• A wick in Hebrew is spelt פתילה which can be rearranged to spell תפילה/teffilah which means prayer… this is the connection from the oil to the flame just as prayer is our connection to Hashem

• And the flame is… yep you guessed it… Hashem, the powerful energy above

Throughout the generations we have predominantly experienced two types of persecution; efforts to actually destroy us physically (for example Haman during Persian times, and more recently the Nazis) and then there have been attempts to destroy us spiritually as Jews (for example the Greeks and the Spanish during the inquisition)… the difference between trying to murder us all and trying to stop us being Jewish is that the Greeks were quite happy for us to live, as long as it wasn’t as Jews… they wanted us to assimilate into their way of life with all forms of Torah, Mitzvahs and Teffilah being banned (similarly the Spanish would let Jews live if they ‘converted’ to Chris-insanity… oops, I mean Christianity).

We have to remember that the Hamoneans who fought under Mattisyahu were frum people fighting for the ability to follow the Torah… they were fighting against the Greek philosophy on physicality based around vanity, sexual immorality, sports etc… some of things which suck us into society today and make us forget our role as Jews. Ironically ‘Chanukah parties’ in clubs have now become the means by which young Jews celebrate the festival, with the focus of these evenings based on revelry and physicality you have to remember which side of this battle we were fighting!

As you sing ‘צור מעוז/Maoz Tsor’ this year, take a look at the translation and what you are actually singing (yes I know, something we never dream of actually doing) and read through all the evil empires which rose up against us… the Egyptians, the Babylonians, Haman and the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans… and that isn’t even mentioning the Spanish Inquisition, all the atrocities committed by the Poles and the Russians over the years, The Nazis and the Arabs…the list is almost endless!! This is a time of the year to thank Hashem for saving us from all these great evils who weren’t great enough to destroy his chosen nation. Remember who you are, what our people went through to protect that identity and how you are going to pass it on to the next generation. Surely we have a responsibility to at least study what it means to be a Jew in appreciation to generations of martyrs and all the suffering we have endured. So this year decline your Chanukah ‘Party’ invitations unless it is a kosher one and celebrate properly what it means to be a Jew, something the Greeks tried so adamantly to stop.

Xmas? – Is this mere coincidence

• The Goyim have a festival on the 25th day of the coldest month in their calendar too?!
• They don’t begin their day like any other in the morning but start the night before as well?!
• They place a tree in the window of the house so everyone can see it?!
• They place lights on this tree with the main ‘shamash’/big one at the top?!
• They sing songs (carols) and proclaim praise and thanks to G-d?!
• They give presents to each other and talk of Kings bringing presents?! (we do this to celebrate the presents brought to the Mishkon by the princes for it’s inauguration)

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