If someone asked you if you knew anything about Hanukkah, would you?

Lighting the menorah in Copley Square on December 12, 2012 with Governor Deval Patrick. Photo from Chabad Boston.

Lighting the menorah in Copley Square on December 12, 2012 with Governor Deval Patrick. Photo from Chabad Boston.

Zach Pransky, Veritas Staff

If someone came up to you and asked if you knew anything about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, would you? Most people may know that it is eight days long and that there is a dreidel involved somewhere, but many people do not know the origin of the holiday or the significance of the Festival of Lights.

Being Jewish, I am often faced with the question; do you believe in God? And the answer is yes, it is the same God that someone of the Catholic faith recognizes, just from a different point of view and a few thousand years earlier.

Hanukkah is also called the Celebration of Lights. This derives from 167 BCE (before common era, the same as BC) when Maccabees, Jewish soldiers, were formed because Judaism had been outlawed. They fought to no longer be oppressed. One night the Maccabees went to seek shelter in a temple, but they found the inside looted and destroyed. All that remained was a large candelabra and enough oil to only last one night. This oil, instead of lasting one night, by some miracle lasted eight, and the Maccabees took this as a sign from God to continue the fight, and went on to win the right to practice their religion. This is why Hanukkah lasts for eight days and why the menorah holds eight candles.

Also, Hanukkah is not the Jewish version of Christmas. The two holidays actually have nothing in common. And it is also not the most important of the Jewish holidays, even though it is most well known. The most important would be the High Holidays: Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur; the Jewish new year and day of atonement.

I am fully aware that the Jewish religion is something that not many people can wrap their heads around but hope I was able to teach you a little bit about my religion and culture. Have a happy holiday!

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Posted on December 10, 2015, in Features, Opinion. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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