Antidote to Advent: Hanukkah - Time and Tradition

Nov 11, 2021 at 12:00 pm by sonyamcclloughlockridge


Hanukkah is the eight-day festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Syrian Empire.

The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. Hanukkah is also known as The Feast of Dedication and The Festival of Lights!

The timing of Hanukkah is different every year due to the dates of the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. Kislev is the Hebrew month which corresponds to November and December. Hanukkah always starts on the first day of Kislev. Hanukkah is in part a candle lighting ceremony, which traditions are closely tied to Shabbat. Shabbat is Hebrew for Sabbath, although Shabbat is a weekly 25-hour time of rest from just before sundown each and every Friday through the completion of nightfall on Saturday.

On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah a candle is added to the festival of lights but only after sundown!

It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. Leviticus 23:32

Hanukkah is in part a candle lighting ceremony. A menorah is a nine-branched candelabra lit during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah, as opposed to the seven- branched menorah used in the ancient Temple.

As the story goes, one night’s worth of oil used to light the Temple's menorah miraculously lasted eight nights! For eight days, the Jewish people celebrate a miracle that occurred more than two thousand years ago. The tradition of using candles dates back to the 18th century, when olive oil became expensive to acquire in the winter.

Eating foods fried in oil is now symbolic of the oil once used in the Temple lamp stands.

Per The LA Times, the Hanukkah candles are added to the menorah from right to left but are kindled from left to right. The newest candle is lit first. (On the Shabbat of Hanukkah, kindle the Hanukkah lights first and then the Shabbat candles.) Light the Shamash — the server candle set higher or lower than all the rest of the candles — first, using it to kindle the rest of the Hanukkah lights as you say or sing: “We kindle these lights because of the wondrous deliverance you performed for our ancestors. During these eight days of Hanukkah, these lights are sacred; we are not to use them, but only to behold them, so that their glow may rouse us to give thanks for your wondrous acts of deliverance.”


Every night, another candle is added, so that on the eighth night all eight candles (plus one server) are burning bright.

The required burn time is at least 30 minutes on weeknights, and up to one-and-a-half hours on Friday evening. The head of the household lights the family menorah while everyone else listens to the blessings and answers, "Amen. In the home, there are two preferred locations for the menorah: a central doorway or on a windowsill facing the street. The menorah lights should be between twelve and forty inches off the ground.

Reading Psalm Thirty, as an introduction to the candle lighting and prayer is also another Hanukkah tradition. 

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. John 10:22-23 KJV

Sections: Faith


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