Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The Festival of Lights is a significant Jewish holiday that starts at sunset tonight and runs through sunset on December 28. It celebrates a miracle that occurred after the second century BCE Maccabean rebellion ousted the Greek forces occupying their land and they regained control of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
The Temple had been desecrated by the Greeks and the Maccabean troops were determined to reconsecrate it for Jewish spiritual purposes by burning ritual oil in the temple's menorah for eight days. To their dismay they discovered that the Temple only contained a one day supply of ritual oil in the single flask they discovered inside it.
They lit the oil and miraculously the tiny flask of oil fueled the temple’s menorah for eight nights.
This miracle is what Jews all over the world celebrate during Hanukkah. The first candle is lit on the first night, then two, and it continues until all eight candles on the menorah are lit.
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