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« on: November 26, 2010, 05:03:31 PM »

The 8 Robots of Chanukah

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The Jewish festival of Light

As reported at HOLIDAYS ON THE WEB

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple. It also commemorates the miracle of the oil that burned for 8 days
The story of Chanukah dates back more than 2,000 year ago, to the land of Judea, where the Jewish people were being ruled by Greek kings. One particularly brutal king was Antiochus, who forced the Jews to turn their backs on their monotheistic faith and worship instead the Greek gods.

Antiochus forbade the Jews from practicing their customs and forced them to convert to paganism. In the Jews' Holy Temple in Jerusalem, Antiochus erected an idol of the Greek god Zeus and placed it on the holiest alter.

Antiochus' religious oppression evoked the indignation of all the Jewish people, and most especially of Judah Maccabee, a Jew who was living in foothills surrounding Jerusalem. Judah Maccabee banned together with his brothers to form a resistance militia that fought Antiochus' oppression and paganism. They were known as the Maccabees.

The story of Chanukah, as retold in the Book of Maccabees, is replete with miraculous battles won by the vastly outnumbered Maccabees, strengthened only by their unwavering tenacity and faith in G-d. After three years of brutal fighting, the Maccabbees, against all odds, drove the Greco-Syrians out of Judea. They reclaimed their Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been defiled with the statues of Zeus and other Greek gods.

On the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kisleve, 164 BCE, the Maccabees finished cleaning out the Temple and wanted to rededicate this holy structure by relighting the Temple's menorah. Tradition teaches that there was only enough pure oil to burn for one night, but a miracle occurred and the Menorah burned for eight nights, at which point, more oil had been pressed and purified.

Thanks to this eight-day miracle, the Jewish people today celebrate an eight-day Festival of Light called Chanukah. In fact, the word Chanukah means dedication or consecration, evoking the Maccabees
decision to rededicate the Temple and experiencing the miracle of the long-lasting oil.

On the first night of Chanukah, the candle on the far right of the Menorah -- or Chanukiah (Hanukiyah), as it is called in Hebrew -- is lit. Each night, an additional candle is lit, beginning from left to right, until all eight candles shine brightly on the final night of Chanukah Special blessings are chanted before the lighting of the candles and family sing traditional songs together afterward. Typically, each member of the family will have his or her own menorah, which is displayed in a window so that the lights may be seen by passers-by. This tradition is intended to "illuminate" the miracle of Chanukah.

The menorah is lit at nightfall and the lights should remain illuminated for at least thirty minutes past dark. Historically, olive oil was used to light the menorah, but today most people use brightly colored candles.

Many cities in the United States, Israel and elsewhere around the world sponsor the public lighting of large-scale menorahs in town squares and other prominent locations.

The Prayer for Chanukah Candle-Lighting
Every night during Chanukah, when the candles are lit this is the prayer that is recited.

Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam, a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mits-vo tov, ve-tsi-va-nu le-had-lik neir shel Chan-nu-kah.

Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam,she-a-sa ni-sim las-a-vo-tei-nu ba-ya-mim ha-heim ba-ze-man ha-zah.

Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam, she-he-chya-nu ve-ki-ya-ma-nu ve-hi-gi-a-nu las-man-ha-zeh.

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« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 01:48:04 PM by marahal » Logged
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