Hanukkah 2021: What is the Jewish festival of lights?

JOPLIN, Mo.–On Sunday night, Jewish people around the world, will light their menorahs or hanukkia’s–commemorating the first night of Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights.

But the holiday has a much deeper meaning.

“Hanukkah commemorates events about 2200 years ago when Jews were under the domination of our greek speaking empire in Syria and the rule of their Antiochus, trying to impose different religious practices on the jews and forbid them to practice some of their traditions,” Explains Paul Teverow, a board member at the United Hebrew Congregation of Joplin “Starting around 165 BCE that of the family of native as the priests about 30 miles northwest of Jerusalem started a rebellion.”

A small group of jews, including a family of eight brothers, called the Maccabees were among those rebelling.

“And against all odds, this rebellion succeeded…and one of the signs of success is when they were able to capture Jerusalem and return the temple in Jerusalem…Hanukkah, as a Hebrew word, that literally means dedication. And they dedicated the synagogue, among other things, by rewriting the menorah.”

It’s a holiday, signifying a time when jews persevered, against all odds.

When they tried to celebrate, they noticed their temple–or synagogue, where Jewish people worship was badly damaged.

They re-dedicated it, in fact-Hanukkah means re-dedication. They wanted to light their menorah to symbolize God’s presence and only had enough to last one night. By a miracle, it lasted eight.

“That was supposed to last only for one day, lasted for eight days. and so to this day, Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days. also like we use oil to celebrate and celebrate that oil that lasted.”

But the main message of Hannukkah is more than lighting a menorah, eating latkes, or spinning dreidels.

“The Jewish people, the Jewish religion survived against all odds, and I think that’s the main message of Hanukkah.”

It’s why we say:

al ha’nisim, v’al ha’purkan, v’al ha’g’vurot, ve’al ha’teshuot ve’al ha’milchamot

she’asita l’avoteinu ba’yamim ha’heim ba’z’man ha’zeh.

thank you for the miracles, for rescuing us, for the courageous acts you

performed, for saving us, and for the battles you waged—in defense of our

ancestors and at this season.