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Hanukkah

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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2007, 02:17:50 am »

Additions to the daily prayers

"We thank You also for the miraculous deeds and for the redemption and for the mighty deeds and the saving acts wrought by You, as well as for the wars which You waged for our ancestors in ancient days at this season. In the days of the Hasmonean Mattathias, son of Johanan the high priest, and his sons, when the iniquitous Greco-Syrian kingdom rose up against Your people Israel, to make them forget Your Torah and to turn them away from the ordinances of Your will, then You in your abundant mercy rose up for them in the time of their trouble, pled their cause, executed judgment, avenged their wrong, and delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and insolent ones into the hands of those occupied with Your Torah. Both unto Yourself did you make a great and holy name in Thy world, and unto Your people did You achieve a great deliverance and redemption. Whereupon your children entered the sanctuary of Your house, cleansed Your temple, purified Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courts, and appointed these eight days of Hanukkah in order to give thanks and praises unto Your holy name."Translation of Al ha-Nissim
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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2007, 02:18:36 am »

An addition is made to the "hoda'ah" (thanksgiving) benediction in the Amidah, called Al ha-Nissim ("On/about the Miracles"). This addition refers to the victory achieved over the Syrians by the Hasmonean Mattathias and his sons. (The erroneous designation of Mattathias as son of Johanan the high priest seems to rest upon the late Hebrew apocryphal "Megillat Antiochus" or "Megillat Hanukkah", which has other names and dates strangely mixed.)

The same prayer is added to the grace after meals. In addition, the Hallel Psalms are sung during each morning service and the Tachanun penitential prayers are omitted. The Torah is read every day in the synagogue, the first day beginning from Numbers 6:22 (According to some customs, Numbers 7:1), and the last day ending with Numbers 8:4.

Since Hanukkah lasts eight days it includes at least one, and sometimes two, Sabbaths. The weekly Torah portion for the first Sabbath is almost always Miketz, telling of Joseph's dream and his enslavement in Egypt. The Haftarah reading for the first Sabbath Hanukkah is Zechariah 2:14-4:7. When there is a second Sabbath on Hanukkah, the Haftarah reading is from I Kings 7:40 - 7:50.

The Hanukkah menorah is also kindled daily in the synagogue, at night with the blessings and in the morning without the blessings. The menorah is not lit on the Sabbath, but rather prior to the beginning of the Sabbath at night and not at all during the day. Some congregations have the custom of throwing towels at the one who kindles the menorah in the synagogue, in order to demonstrate that he has not fulfilled his obligation to kindle, and must still kindle again later in his home.

During the Middle Ages "Megillat Antiochus" was read in the Italian synagogues on Hanukkah just as the Book of Esther is read on Purim. It still forms part of the liturgy of the Yemenite Jews
« Last Edit: November 17, 2007, 02:19:38 am by Tovah Silverstein » Report Spam   Logged
Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2007, 02:20:06 am »

Zot Hanukkah

The last day of Hanukkah is known as Zot Hanukkah, from the verse in the Book of Numbers 7:84 "Zot Chanukat Hamizbe'ach" - "This was the dedication of the altar", which is read on this day in the synagogue. According to the teachings of Kabballah and Hasidism, this day is the final "seal" of the High Holiday season of Yom Kippur, and is considered a time to repent out of love for God. In this spirit, many Hassidic Jews wish each other "Gmar chatimah tovah", "may you be sealed totally for good", a traditional greeting for the Yom Kippur season. It is taught in Hassidic and Kabbalistic literature that this day is particularly auspicious for the fulfillment of prayers.

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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2007, 02:21:17 am »



An artist's rendition of the story of Judith

Eating dairy foods, especially cheese, on Hanukkah is a little-known custom that has its roots in the story of Judith, as related in the book of Judith (Yehudit/Yehudis in Hebrew). Holofernes, an Assyrian general, surrounds the village of Bethulia as part of his campaign to conquer Judea. After intense fighting, the water supply of the Jews is cut off and the situation becomes desperate. Judith, a pious widow, tells the city leaders that she has a plan to save the city. Judith goes to the Assyrian camps and pretends to surrender. She meets Holofernes, who is smitten by her beauty. She goes back to his tent with him, where she plies him with cheese and wine. When he falls into a drunken sleep, Judith beheads him and escapes from the camp, taking the severed head with her. When Holoferenes' soldiers find his corpse, they are overcome with fear; the Jews, on the other hand, are emboldened, and launch a successful counterattack. The town is saved, the Assyrians defeated.

Many argue that Holofernes was actually Greek, placing the events in the general time-frame of Hanukkah. The longstanding tradition that Judith was the daughter of Mattathias, the Hasmonean High Priest, and sister to Judah the Maccabee, is how this story came to be associated with Hanukkah.

There are many depictions of Judith and Holofernes in Christian art.

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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2007, 02:22:05 am »

Interaction with modernity and with other traditions

The classical rabbis very much downplayed the military and nationlistic dimensions of Hanukkah, and some even interpret the story of the miracle oil as a creative diversion away from the struggle with empires that had led to the disastrous downfall of Jerusalem to the Romans. With the advent of Zionism and the state of Israel, these themes were rapidly trasnvalued. In Israel, Hanukkah was transformed into a celebration of military strength, a kind of antidote to what was perceived as the powerless Diaspora Jew that Israelis needed to psychologically overcome.

In North America especially, Hanukkah gained increased importance with many Jewish families in the latter half of the twentieth century, including large numbers of secular Jews, who wanted a Jewish alternative to the Christmas celebrations that often overlap with Hanukkah. Though it was traditional to give "gelt" or money coins to children during Hanukkah, in many families this has changed into gifts in order to prevent Jewish children from feeling left out of the Christmas gift giving.

While Hanukkah traditionally speaking is only a minor holiday, as symbolized by the lack of restrictions on work other than a few minutes after lighting the candles, Hanukkah has taken a place equal to Passover as a symbol of Jewish identity. Both the Israeli and North American versions of Hanukkah emphasize resistance, focusing on some combination of national liberation and religious freedom as the defining meaning of the holiday.

In recent years, an amalgam of Christmas and Hanukkah has emerged — dubbed "Chrismukkah" — celebrated by some mixed-faith families, particularly in the United States. In some families one even sees decorated tree that may be called a "Hanukkah bush". These secular customs are often frowned upon by observant or traditionally-minded Jews, as well as by some Christians who believe it detracts from the religious significance of Christmas. Other Jews (tongue-in-cheek) simultaneously acknowledge both the increasing secularization of the holiday season and their Jewish roots by wishing each other a "happy cholidays."

Most recently, Jews in North America have taken up environmental concerns in relation to Hanukkah's "miracle of the oil", emphasizing reflection on energy conservation and energy independence. One can see a good example of this in the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life's renewable energy campaign.

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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2007, 02:22:50 am »

Hanukkah music

There are several songs associated with the festival of Hanukkah. The most well known in English-speaking countries include "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" and "Chanukah, Oh Chanukah." In Israel, Hanukkah has become something of a national holiday in Israel, and a large number of songs have been written on Hanukkah themes - perhaps more so than for any other Jewish holiday. Some of the most well known are "Hanukkiah Li Yesh" ("I Have a Hanukkah Menora"), "Kad Katan" ("A Small Jug"), "Sevivon Sov Sov Sov" ("Hanukka Top, Spin and Spin"), "Mi Yimalel" (Who can Retell") and "Ner Li, Ner Li" ("I have a Candle").

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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2007, 02:24:20 am »



Sufganiyot with jelly

Hanukkah foods

Potato pancakes, known as latkes in Yiddish, are traditionally associated with Hanukkah (especially among Ashkenazi families) because there is a custom to eat foods fried or baked in oil, preferably olive oil, as the original miracle of the Hanukkah menorah involved the discovery of the small flask of oil used by the Jewish High Priest the Kohen Gadol). This small batch of olive oil was only supposed to last one day, and instead it lasted 8.

Many Sephardic families as well as Polish Ashkenazim and Israelis have the custom to eat all kinds of fruit filled doughnuts (Yiddish: פאנטשקעס pontshkes), (bimuelos, or sufganiyot) which are deep-fried in oil.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2007, 02:25:15 am by Tovah Silverstein » Report Spam   Logged
Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2007, 02:26:01 am »



Dreidel
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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2007, 02:27:50 am »

The dreidel, or sevivon in Hebrew, is a four-sided spinning top that children play with on Hanukkah. Each side is imprinted with a Hebrew letter. These letters are an acronym for the Hebrew words, נס גדול היה שם, Nes Gadol Haya Sham—"A great miracle happened there" (referring to the miracle of the oil that took place in the Beit Hamikdash).
•   נ (Nun)
•   ג (Gimel)
•   ה (Hey)
•   ש (Shin)

In the State of Israel, the fourth side of most dreidels is inscribed with the letter פ (Pe), rendering the acronym, נס גדול היה פה, Nes Gadol Haya Po—"A great miracle happened here" (referring to the fact that the miracle occurred in the land of Israel). Some stores in Haredi neighbourhoods may sell the traditional Shin dreidels.
Some Jewish commentators ascribe symbolic significance to the markings on the dreidel. One commentary, for example, connects the four letters with the four exiles to which the nation of Israel was historically subject—Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome.[22]
After lighting the Hanukkah menorah, it is customary in many homes to play the dreidel game: Each player starts out with 10 or 15 coins (real or of chocolate), nuts, raisins, candies or other markers, and places one marker in the "pot." The first player spins the dreidel, and depending on which side the dreidel falls on, either wins a marker from the pot or gives up part of his stash. The code (based on a Yiddish version of the game) is as follows:
•   Nun - nisht - "not" - nothing happens and the next player spins
•   Gimel - gants - "all" - the player takes the entire pot
•   Hey - halb - "half" - the player takes half of the pot, rounding up if there is an odd number
•   Shin - shtel ayn - "put in" - the player puts one marker in the pot
Another version differs in that nun is nem - "take", while gimel is gib - "give". The game may last until one person has won everything.
Some say the dreidel game is played to commemorate a game devised by the Jews to camouflage the fact that they were studying Torah, which was outlawed by Greeks. The Jews would gather in caves to study, posting a lookout to alert the group to the presence of Greek soldiers. If soldiers were spotted, the Jews would hide their scrolls and spin tops, so the Greeks thought they were gambling, not learning.
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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2007, 02:28:55 am »

Hanukkah gelt

Hanukkah gelt (Yiddish for "money") is often distributed to children to enhance their enjoyment of the holiday. The amount is usually in small coins, although grandparents or other relatives may give larger sums as an official Hanukkah gift. In Israel, Hanukkah gelt is known as dmei Hanukkah. Many Hassidic Rebbes distribute coins to those who visit them during Hanukkah. Hassidic Jews consider this to be an auspicious blessing from the Rebbe, and a segulah for success.

Twentieth-century American chocolatiers picked up on the gift/coin concept by creating chocolate gelt, or chocolate shaped and stamped like coins and wrapped in gold or silver foil. Chocolate gelt is often used in place of money in dreidel games.
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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2007, 02:29:48 am »

Alternative spellings based on transliterating Hebrew letters

In Hebrew, the word Hanukkah is written חנֻכה or חנוכה. It is most commonly transliterated to English as Chanukah or Hanukkah, the latter because the sound represented by "CH" (as in the Scottish pronunciation of "loch") essentially does not exist in the modern English language. Furthermore, the letter "heth" (ח), which is the first letter in the Hebrew spelling, is pronounced differently in modern Hebrew (voiceless velar fricative) than in classical Hebrew (voiceless pharyngeal fricative), and neither of those sounds is unambiguously representable in English spelling. Moreover, the 'kaf' consonant is geminate in classical (but not modern) Hebrew. Adapting the classical Hebrew pronunciation with the geminate and pharyngeal Ḥeth can lead to the spelling "Hanukkah"; while adapting the modern Hebrew pronunciation with no geminate and velar Ḥeth leads to the spelling "Chanukah". Variations include:

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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2007, 02:32:19 am »



Spelling variations are due to transliteration of Hebrew Chet Nun Vav Kaf Hey

Most Commonly Used Spellings


•   Hanukkah (in North America)
•   Chanukkah (in the UK and Australia, also common in North America)

Common Variants

•   Hannukah
•   Hannukkah
•   Chanukah
•   Channukkah

Uncommon Variants

•   Hanuka
•   Chanuka
•   Hannuka
•   Channuka
•   Hanukka
•   Chanukka
•   Hannukka
•   Channukka

YIVO Variant

•   Khanike (YIVO standard transliteration from the Yiddish and/or Ashkenazic pronunciation of the Hebrew)
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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2007, 02:33:41 am »



The Hasmonean Kingdom
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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2007, 02:35:17 am »

Chronology

•   198 BCE: Armies of the Seleucid King Antiochus III (Antiochus the Great) oust Ptolemy V from Judea and Samaria.
•   175 BCE: Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) ascends the Seleucid throne.
•   168 BCE: Under the reign of Antiochus IV, the Temple is looted, Jews are massacred, and Judaism is outlawed.
•   167 BCE: Antiochus orders an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. Mattathias, and his five sons John, Simon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah lead a rebellion against Antiochus. Judah becomes known as Judah Maccabe (Judah The Hammer).
•   166 BCE: Mattathias dies, and Judah takes his place as leader. The Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom begins; It lasts until 63 BCE
•   165 BCE: The Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy is successful. The Temple is liberated and rededicated (Hanukkah).
•   142 BCE: Establishment of the Second Jewish Commonwealth. The Seleucids recognize Jewish autonomy. The Seleucid kings have a formal overlordship, which the Hasmoneans acknowledged. This inaugurates a period of great geographical expansion, population growth, and religious, cultural and social development.
•   139 BCE: The Roman Senate recognizes Jewish autonomy.
•   130 BCE: Antiochus VII besieges Jerusalem, but withdraws.
•   131 BCE: Antiochus VII dies. The Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom throws off Syrian rule completely
•   96 BCE: An eight year civil war begins.
•   83 BCE: Consolidation of the Kingdom in territory east of the Jordan River.
•   63 BCE: The Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom comes to an end due to rivalry
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Tovah Silverstein
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2007, 02:37:02 am »

Battles of the Maccabean revolt

Listed alphabetically:

•   Battle of Adasa (Judas Maccabeus leads the Jews to victory against the forces of Nicanor.)
•   Battle of Beth Horon (Judas Maccabeus defeats the forces of Seron.)
•   Battle of Beth-zechariah (Elazar the Maccabee is killed in battle. Lysias has success in battle against the Maccabess, but allows them temporary freedom of worship.)
•   Battle of Beth Zur (Judas Maccabeus defeats the army of Lysias, recapturing Jerusalem.)
•   Dathema (A Jewish fortress saved by Judas Maccabeus.)
•   Battle of Elasa (Judas Maccabeus dies in battle against the army of King Demetrius and Bacchides. He is succeeded by Jonathan Maccabaeus and Simon Maccabaeus who continue to lead the Jews in battle.)
•   Battle of Emmaus (Judas Maccabeus fights the forces of Lysias and Georgias).
•   Battle of Wadi Haramia.
•    between the brothers Aristobulus II and Hyrcanus II, both of whom appeal to the Roman Republic to intervene and settle the power struggle on their behalf. The Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) is dispatched to the area. Twelve thousand Jews are massacred as Romans enter Jerusalem. The Priests of the Temple are struck down at the Altar. Rome annexes Judea.

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