The traditional greeting Jews extend to one another during
this holiday is hag orim same'ach. Happy Feast of Lights! Happy Hanukkah!
This is the Jewish year
5775, which is the year 2015 to most of the world.
Hanukkah begins on the 25 of Kislev, which begins Tuesday Evening, December
16th, 2014. We will have a special service at the
synagogue on the Fifth Night of Hanukkah, Saturday,
December 20th, 2014 at 6:00 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Our service will be held at the Baymont Inn in Maryland Farms, Brentwood. It is
behind the Publix on Old Hickory Boulevard.
We will have some refreshments
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that occurs in December (on the 25th day
of the Hebrew month Kislev), Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, marks the rededication of
the Temple of Jerusalem after its recapture from the Syrian Greeks c.165 BC. A legend of a
miracle is recorded in the Talmud--the burning of a day's supply of pure olive oil for
eight days, until fresh jars of clean oil could be brought into the temple--accounts for
the eight days during which candles are kindled during Chanukah. The eight-branched
menorah, candelabrum has become a symbol of the holiday. The Book of Second Maccabees, one
of the earliest sources on the origins of Hanukkah, connects the eight days of the
festival with the eight-day observance of Sukkot, the feast of Tabernacles. According to
the text, the first Hanukkah in 164 B.C.E. was celebrated as a delayed Sukkot, since the
Maccabees had been unable to observe the holiday properly while they were fighting in the
hills. That first Hanukkah observance featured wands wreathed with leaves branches and
palm leaves also known as the lulav.
Hanukkah commemorates the restoration of the
The Maccabees were a family of village priests from
Jerusalem who, in 168 BC, instigated an uprising to defend Judaism against both the
SELEUCIDS, the Hellenistic rulers of Syria-Palestine, and Jews who had become Greek
assimilationists or Hellenists.
Maccabee - MA-KAH-BEE - it means MALLET or HAMMER and refers to the
hammer-like blows that Judah levied against the Syrian forces in his march to victory.
When read: MAC-BEE - it means EXTINGUISHED or VANQUISHED. It was also an acrostic for the
first letters of the verse in Exodus 15:11, which read: MI CHAMOCHA BAELIM ADONAI - WHO IS
LIKE UNTO THEE, O LORD, AMONG THE GODS. Thus, the name is derived from the epithet
Maccabeus ("hammer" or "extinguisher") bestowed on the most famous
member of the family, Judas (d. 161 BC).
The uprising began when the aged Mattathias--father of Judas and
great-great-grandson of Hasmon (hence the name Hasmoneans also applied to the
family)--killed an apostate Jew who was about to offer sacrifice to Zeus on an altar set
up by the Seleucid King ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES in the Temple precincts at Jerusalem.
Mattathias's five sons carried on the uprising, three of them successively in leadership
roles: Judas, Jonathan (d. 143), and Simon (d. 135). I could not locate the information
about the two other sons, so we will call them Levi and Larry for now.
The MACCABEES, leaders of the Jews who fought against the Syrian
Greeks, instituted Chanukah. The Maccabees took over as the priests of the Temple and as
the rulers of the Jewish State that they founded. Songs and stories associated with the
holiday therefore refer to the Maccabees, particularly to Judas Maccabee, and to their
victory: "the weak over the strong, the few over the many, and those who fear Thy
Name over those who desecrate it." Chanukah is also called the Festival of Lights,
the Feast of Dedication, or the Feast of Maccabees. The New Testament speaks of Hanukkah.
It says in the book of John, Chapter 10 verse 22-28; "At that time the Feast of
Hanukkah (Dedication) took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Yeshua (the Hebrew name
of Jesus) was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews (Jewish Leaders)
therefore gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will you keep us in
suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."
The procedure of illuminating Hanukkah lights: The Shamash (Servant
Messiah) candle has its own special place. Start placing the others at the far right. Add
one candle for each of the eight nights and place right to left for adding candles, left
to right for lighting candles.
The center, highest light (which is sometimes found on the side of the
menorah) is the "shamash." This candle represents the Messiah the Light of the
World. Since one is not supposed to use the lights of the menorah for personal
benefit, the shamash (lit. "helpers or servant") is used every day to light the
Throughout the 8 days of Chanukah, the candles are placed in the
Menorah from right to left, but are lit from left to right.
On the first night, place to the far right, and then place the servant
candle in its special place (usually stands higher than the others). Light the
Servant candle then light and use the flame of the servant candle to light the first
On the second night, place two new candles starting on the right.
Place a new servant candle in its special place. Light the Servant candle then
light the others from the left to the right.
After eight nights you should have used 44candles. ( 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6
+ 7 + 8 + 9 = 44).
Below you will find the traditional blessings to recite when lighting
the Chanukah candles. The first two are recited every night during the candle lighting
ceremony. The third is a blessing of joy and is traditionally recited at the beginning of
all festivals. The third blessing is only recited on the first night.
1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha'olam Asher kid'shanu
b'mitzvotav, V'tsivanu, L'hadlik ner shel Chanukah.
Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has
sanctified our lives through His commandments, commanding us to kindle the Chanukah
2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha'olam she'asa nisim
la'avoteinu b'yamim ha'heym b'zman hazeh.
Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who performed
miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.
3. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha'olan Shehecheeyanoo,
v'keey'manoo V'heegeeyanoo lazman hazeh
Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, for giving us
life, for sustaining us, and for helping us to reach this moment.
It is a tradition to eat foods fried in oil. It doesn't sound healthy,
but it is a holiday and everybody else is doing it. It's not about the potato
anymore; click here for the not so traditional Designer Latkes!
POTATO LATKES - Serves 6-8
- 9 medium potatoes
- 2 medium onions, minced
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3-4 tbsp. matzo meal (ordinary barley cereal tastes best}
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- Salad oil
Wash, peel, and grate potatoes. Place in colander and let stand for 10
minutes, then press out remaining liquid. Mix with onions (the onions may be lightly fried
first) and eggs. Add matzo meal, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Mix well. Heat about 1/4
inch of salad oil in a large skillet and add soup-spoonfuls of latke mixture. Fry until
golden brown on both sides. Keep in warm oven (180 degrees) until time to serve. Can be
made up to a week in advance and frozen. (If not frozen, the potatoes will turn brown.)
Reheat in 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Serve with applesauce, sour cream (or plain
yogurt), jam, powdered sugar, or cinnamon. Yummy.
JELLY DOUGHNUTS (SUFGANIOT)
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 c. hot milk
- rind of 1 lemon or orange
- 2 pkg. dry yeast
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1/4 c. lukewarm milk
- jam for filling
- 6 egg yolks
- oil for frying
- 2/3 c. sugar
- icing sugar
Sift one cup of flour into the hot milk and beat until smooth, then
allow to cool. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk, add to the flour mixture, and set
aside for about half an hour. Mix the egg yolks and sugar with the vanilla and rind, and
add to the dough. Add the remaining flour and the butter and knead. Allow to rise until
double in bulk (about 45 minutes). Roll out on a floured board to a thickness of 1/2 inch,
and cut into rounds. Put a teaspoon of jam in the center of one round, and cover it with
another round. Press the edges together and allow to rise again in a warm place. Fry in
hot oil, drain, and dust with icing sugar.
There is a long tradition of playing games of chance during the
evenings of the holiday. Originally the dreidel was not connected with Chanukah in any
way. The German Christians also had the custom of spinning a top on Christmas Eve. The
Germans borrowed the game from the Greeks and Romans. The gift giving and a lot of other
stuff were borrowed from the Christians.
The Dreidel is a four sided top printed with the Hebrew letters:
These letters represent the words "nes godal hayah sham" and
translate into A Great Miracle Happened There.
Also the numbers in add up to
Nun = 50, Gimmel = 3, Hey = 5, Shin = 300 which equals 358.
Remarkably, this is equivalent to the exact numerical value for the
word "Moshiach" (Messiah).
Mem = 40, Shin = 300, Yud = 10, Chet = 8 which
The Rules of the Game:
Everyone in the game starts with 10-15 tokens (gold foil chocolate
coins, nuts, raisins, pennies). Each player puts one of these into the middle (called the
pot). The dreidel is spun by one player at a time. Whether he wins or loses depends on
which face of the dreidel is up when it falls.
means nisht or "nothing." Player does nothing.
gantz or "all." Player takes everything in the pot.
Hey means halb
or "half." Player takes half of what is in the pot.
shtel or "put in." Player adds two objects to the pot.
When only one object or none is left in the pot, every player adds one. When an odd
number of objects are in the pot, the player rolling heh, "half" takes half the
total plus one. When one person has won everything the game is over.
Shalom Y'all! Come Back now,
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