By Honey Good.
~The Jewish Festival of Lights~ The triumph of light over darkness
Over 2,100 years ago the land of Israel was dominated by the Syrian-Greeks who sought to Hellenize, institute their Greek culture, on the people of Israel. A small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land and reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God. The remains of that temple today is the Wailing Wall in the old city of Jerusalem.
Jewish families around the world celebrate Chanukah in the month of December. It is a joyous and religious holiday. With parents, grandparents and children in tow families light their Menorahs -- a large candelabra that holds nine candles with the ninth candle, the Shamash, lighting all other candles for eight nights in a row.
Why do families light their Menorahs?
After the Syrian-Greek war, the Jews wanted to light the Temple’s Menorah to announce to the world that God makes miracles for those who stand for truth, justice and charity (Tzedakah). They found only a small amount of olive oil, a one day supple. Miraculously the one day supply burned for eight days, thus the Festival of Lights, Chanukah.
The religious blessing is: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments (the ten commandments) and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah lights. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.”
The joyous part of the holiday is wonderful. There is the sharing of family togetherness, fun gifts, the singing of songs, delicious foods and the lighting of the Chanukah candles.
Tonight, the first night of Chanukah, our huge and wonderful blended family will be separated because of miles. But none of us will be alone. Shelly and I will be in California with three of our grandchildren, Logan, Rob and Noel and I am very excited! My Arizona family may join us but the Chicago and Texas clan will celebrate without us. Additionally, our grandson Joe is studying abroad in Isreal and our granddaughter Sam is studying in China. However, even though we are all miles apart, everyone received a "Happy Chanukah" text this morning! At holiday time I wish Orville and Wilbur Wright had never invented the airplane! I want my entire family to be together as it was in my grandparent’s time because family first…always.
Happy Chanukah to all my Jewish readers!