Monday, December 11, 2006

Why is Hanukah 8 Days long?

As Hanukah starts this Friday at sundown (as all Jewish holidays do, as well as some Christian and secular ones [think of any holiday with an Eve. I.e. Christmas, New Years etc.]) We thought we would go over all the reasons why people celebrate it for 8 days.

1st although we stated that as far as we know no one’s Bible has the Miracle of the Oil in it, the Talmud has the story, which is that after the Maccabees won control of the Temple back from the Greeks they found only one days worth of consecrated oil in the Temple, which miraculously lasted for 8 days- how long it took to make more oil suitable for use in the Temple.*

1 Maccabees (which is in many Bibles, but only considered sacred text in Catholic and Orthodox Churches) says that they celebrated the rededication of the altar for eight days, and then decreed that every year they should celebrate it for eight days.*

2 Maccabees (see note on 1 Macabees) states that because they couldn’t celebrate the feast of Booths that year they would celebrate the 8 days of the feast then.

Both the books of Maccabees and the Talmud tell the story of a woman (traditionally called Hannah) and her 7 sons. All 7 sons were killed because they would not eat pork and worship a pagan statue. And then after watching her sons be killed she committed suicide rather then be tortured and killed too. Some say Hanukah is 8 days long to honor them.

*The Temple needed to be rededicated because the Greeks, like most ruling peoples, had set up there religions worship in the same place that the people already there had worshiped. And so the temple contained statues of Greek gods and offerings to them.

No comments: