Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Meaning of Chanukah

Over 2,000 years ago the Jews were subjugated by a tyrant. Antiochus the IVth, ruler of the Seleucid empire, looted the Temple and installed a statue of Zeus there.  For a time, many Jews went along with these changes. Judaism was outlawed and people were instructed to pray to Zeus. Antiochus banned circumcision and ordered for the slaughter of pigs to be done in the Temple. Eventually, people rebelled and to the surprise of many, they were successful in ousting the Seleucid Greeks. The Temple was cleaned up and, according to the stories, only one non-defiled jar of oil was recovered. That oil was used for lighting the Shabbat lamp and rather than burning one night, it burned for 8 days and nights. This is the miracle of lights, and we've been partying in memory of that event ever since. It was proof that God didn't forsake us.

The moral of the story is, God helps those who help themselves.


GW said...

A relevant message indeed. You might also want to see the following post by Bookworm Room: http://www.bookwormroom.com/2012/12/08/happy-hanukkah-to-the-new-maccabees/

We are getting perilously close to the point where we need to start emulating the Maccabees in all respects.

Ex-Dissident said...

Thanks GW. Apparently, they used olive oil to light up the Temple menorahs and last night I did an experiment. I poured some light olive oil, that according to the bottle is good for frying, into a small container and made a lamp out of it. It smelled kind of sweet and very pleasant. Perhaps there was some nice wax residue in that container that previously held a candle or perhaps it was the smell of burnt olive oil; whatever it was, smelled great. This made me think of the way the old Temple must have smelled. Burning olive oil and roasting sacrificial lambs and cows....yum. Add lots of wine for welcoming in the Shabbat, and now we're talking real partying.