Eight Great Chanukah Facts

8ChanukahCandleBuringsHappy Chanukah 5775!

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8 facts you might like to know or pass to others

  1. Chanukah is — and always has been — on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev.
  2. The word Chanukah can be broken down this way: chanu, as in the Jews resting in the desert, followed by the Hebrew letters chaf [?] hay [?], which is the numeric value of 25.
    This is because we rested from the war against the Greeks on that day, the 25th.
  3. la chanuch [?????] also means to consecrate* (to make or declare something) — as in we re-dedicated the temple.
  4. Chanukah goes way back to approximately 165 BCE** along with our tradition of giving Chanukah gelt (money).
    1. One reason for this tradition of giving money was to enable everyone to buy oil and wicks so they could light their own candles — the most important commandment of Chanukah
    2. Another reason for giving gelt was as a reward to children for their torah learning. This is because our Greek-Syrian oppressors encouraged learning but not forbade torah learning. And Chinuch [?????] in Hebrew, means education in English.
  5. The 25th word in the Torah in the Book of Genesis is “or” [???] — which means light. This is in the sentence: And G-D said let there be light.
  6. Candlelighting3_croppedAlthough many of us outside of Israel  tend to call our Chanukah candelabra a Menorah, the Menorah was actually the 7-light candelabra that was used in our temples prior to the Chanukah miracle. The 9-light (8 + the shamash) candelabra we light at Chanukah is actually called a Chanukiah [??????].
  7. We place the candles in our Chanukiah from right to left (placing the first on far right of the Chanukiah), but light from left to right, lighting the newest (left-most) candle first).
  8. Although everyone expects that the hero of Chanukah was a man, Judah the Maccabee, the actual hero is a heroine, Yehudis. She was a local widow who volunteered to go to the King to rescue her people. She feasted with the Syrian king making sure he drank so much wine that he passed out. Then she beheaded him with his own sword. She then carried his head back to the city where it was hung on the city walls. Seeing this, the Greeks fled.

*The etymology (root) is the same: to educate and to consecrate.

**The rededication of the Temple was on 25 Kislev 3597, but Chanukah was  not deemed as a festival of appreciation until the following year.