Chag Hanukkah Sameach
Happy Hanukkah from the Explore Traveler Team. May this holiday of light touch each home who is celebrating this remembrance of the miracle of the light.
Hanukkah is an eight day festival of light that begins on the night of the 25th of Kisliv on the Jewish calendar. It is a celebration of triumph. Light had victory over darkness. Purity reigned over evil. The Spiritual came before the material. It is a day to remember the miracle of a small Jewish army who defeated the mighty Greek army and expelled them from the land. The Temple had to be cleaned and re-dedicated to YHWH. They went to light the 7 Branch Menorah and there was only pure oil enough for one day. That one day supply burned for 8 days and new oil was ritually prepared. The Temple was re-dedicated. This is a day to remember that amazing miracle. It is a day to remember the light.
On Hanukkah the strong was delivered into the hands of those who were weak. The enemy was many, but was delivered into the hands of a few. Good triumphed over evil. It is a day to remember the light that shown in the darkness. On the first night of Hanukkah, the first candle is lit. Then on Day Two, two candles are lit, and so on. On the Eighth Day all the candles are lit. The raised middle candle is the service candle that is lit first and is used to light the other candles. This is a day of celebration.
Hanukkah customs include eating foods that have been fried in oil. Latkes are a family favorite. These are very similar to potato pancakes and are extremely good. Sufganiot are eaten for desert. These jelly filled donuts are extremely delicious. Everyone plays with the dreidel on whom the letters are written: nun, gimmel, hei, and shin.They stand for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham. It means that: "a great miracle happened there."
The beautiful menorah in the photo with all the beautifuls lilies and pomegranates comes from the Synagogue of Hammal in Tiberias, Israel. This lovely menorah dates back to the 4th-5th century CE. It is a magnificent menorah made out of stone. At the end of each branch there is a place to hold a glass oil lamp. No other menorah like it has ever been found. The alternating pomegranate and lily design is thought to have been inspired by the biblical description of what a menorah was to look like. "On one branch there shall be three cups shaped like almond-blossoms, each with calyx(the green outer part that grows around the flower) and petals." (Exodus 25:33).
The Explore Traveler Team sends their best wishes into every home who is celebrating the light these next eight days.