Chanukah is coming up... Happy Hanukkah!

Discussion in 'Messianic Jews / Hebrew Roots Gentiles' started by IshChayil, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. IshChayil

    IshChayil Esteemed Member Male

    I saw a holiday card a couple decades ago which I still remember.
    It said: If you're Orthodox חנוכה שמח
    If you're Conservative Happy Chanukkah!
    If you're Reform Happy Hanukkah!
    and if you're very Reformed ... (open page)
    Merry Christmas!

    I still like that lol.
    Anyway Chanukah starts Chislev 24 (December 12) and continues through Tevet 2 (Dec. 20).
    This is a work permitted Holiday Kept by Jews, Messi's and several Hebrew Roots folks.

    The Gospel of John references Chanukah and Yeshua's participation in it with this passing remark:
    Yochanan 10:22:
    King Jimmy does a fine job here:
    22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
    23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.

    The Greek word translated here "feast of the dedication" is τὰ ἐγκαίνια (Ta egkainia)
    which maps back to חנוכה "Chanukkah" or "Hanukkah".
    This word occurs a couple of times in Nehemiah 12:27 fully as: חֲנֻכָּ֤ה (Chanukkah)
    The Septuagint translates it as: ἐνκαίνια
    which we can see is the same word used in John; without a doubt it's Hanukkah and we even get the extra information that it's during winter. The only 2 holidays in winter months are Hanukkah and Purim and the only one that's a "dedication" is Chanukkah since that's what Chanukkah/Hanukkah means.

    If you've never celebrated this holiday which Yeshua observed it's pretty simple.
    We use an 8 branched candelabra with a shamush (servant) candle to light the other candles.
    On the first night we recite the Shechechiyanu (lit. Who lifed us) blessing.
    It's a time of gratitude that we have survived to celebrate this occasion.

    The celebration originates from the successful Priest-led rebellion against the wicked Grecko-Syrian King Antiochus Epiphanes who outlawed torah study, biblical eating and he sacrificed a pig on the alter of the temple in Jerusalem. (I recommend reading the article it's terse and a nice summary of the corruption of the high priesthood, etc. just 2 centuries before Yeshua's birth).

    Anyway, after the successful rebellion the temple needed to be purified (pig blood, zeus statue, etc)
    but there was only one vat of kosher pure oil that hadn't been pillaged. It was marked as from the time of Solomon (according to tradition) so they knew the seal was kosher. The problem is it was only enough for 1 day of dedication in burning. Miraculously it lasted 8 days.
    While the holiday is literally called "dedication" the remembrance the 8 nights of candle lighting represent are the great miracle Hashem did for us in those days in the face of great evil and religious persecution (can you imagine living somewhere today where it was illegal to study parts of the bible?)

    In the US it is customary to give children 1 gift on each day of Chanukah.
    This is not an Israeli practice. I think it probably developed as a "competition" with Christmas; Jewish kids being jealous of Gentile kids getting gifts on Christmas so problem solved "we get 8 craaaazy nights" - Adam Sandler

    Modern games like spinning the dreidel (Yiddish word: top with 4 sides) are played by children to compete for chocolates. Interesting tidbit. In the diaspora the dreidal has these letters on it: ה נ ג ש
    Just like we use Arabic numerals, in Hebrew the letters of the alphabet also are numerals so they each have a value. So when kids spin the dreidals they stop spinning and fall with a certain letter facing up.
    Each letter represents one of the 4 countries/empires who tried to destroy the Jewish people and were later punished by Hashem. The spin for awhile but eventually all fall. Modernists claim that the top flat part of the dreidel represents Germany.
    dreidel_line_art.png The letters stand for "Great Sign Happened There"
    In Israel the letters on the dreidal (Hebrew: svivon) have a difference: ה נ ג פ
    Instead of "Great Sign Happened There" it's "Great Sign Happened Here".

    The details of the Chanukah rebellion and rededication of the Temple are detailed in the deuterocanonical book of 1 Maccabees. The Maccabees where the priest group who led the rebellion (descendants of Aaron).
    The first Chanukah is described in 1 Maccabees 4:36. (link is to NRSV translation).

    There are about 150 talmudic references to Hanukkah in various interesting legal capacities.
    To be clear, this feast is a lower level than torah ordered feasts; I mean the holiness level is lower.
    Feel free to chime in, ask questions, voice concerns, ask practical stuff like "where do I get a Chanukiah?"
    A Chanukiah is a menorah (candelabra) with an extra branch for the 8th night and usually an extra holder for the shamush (servant) candle we use to light the others.
    If you ever have the chance to be in Israel or in a Jewish section of a major city (New York) take a stroll through there on one of the later nights of Chanukkah. Often each family member has a Chanukia and so each house may have several lit Chanukias in the windows.

    Shalom u'varuchot!
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  2. steve

    steve Esteemed Member Male

    Nicely done!
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  3. IshChayil

    IshChayil Esteemed Member Male

    FOr those interested in how we know we are supposed to light candles.

    Here is a Talmudic record of a disagreement on if it should be 1 the first night and then an additional one each night or all of em right away then reduce.
    The 2 famous Rabbis with differing opinions where almost contemporaries to Yeshua
    Tractate Shabbat 21 "B"
    IX.9 A. Our rabbis have taught on Tannaite authority:
    B. The religious duty in respect to Hanukkah: There is to be a lamp for each man and his household. But those who excel have a lamp for each member of the household. And the most zealous—(stuff deleted here so you won't be bored)
    C. The House of Shammai say, “On the first day one lights eight candles, and from that time onward, diminishes them from day to day.”
    D. The House of Hillel say, “On the first day one lights one candle, and from that time onward, adds to them from day to day.”
    Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 2, p. 84). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

    If you haven't heard of these 2 rabbis Shammai was kind of like the works guy and Hillel was the grace guy in a manner of speaking.
    The L-rd's prayer can be seen as a shortened version of one of Hillel's prayers and to me it seems Yeshua was giving the nod to Hillel's way of praying / thinking about Repentance.

    Shammai died around 30AD while Hillel was already gone long before that. It is my opinion that often when the New Testament Greek tells us Yeshua is showing down "Pharisees" it is actually the Shammaites whom He is criticizing.
    I can see a well meaning monk, or translator of the text or something of that nature going to Jews later and asking "what's a Shammaite" and then when Paul says "I'm a Hillilite!" they ask "what's a Hillilite?" and the Jewish communities answering, "they are both Pharisees" so the Greek guy says "OK I'll just write Pharisee". Before you get mad at me, that's not saying the text is wrong. It's true they are both Pharisees.
    It makes more sense to me to split out these groups especially since Shammai's following would have been quite large by Yeshua's time even though Hillel won out in the long run.

    I'm not certain of this just thought it may be interesting to some folks who weren't aware of the factions within the Pharisees. It also helps me understand why later Paul can still in the present tense say "I am a Pharisee believing in the resurrection ...." because he may well have remained a Hillelite after his conversion.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
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  4. steve

    steve Esteemed Member Male

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