Today is the first day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. This is the month of Hanukkah. The sign of Kislev here in Israel is the arrival of doughnuts in the bakeries. I will be sharing some of the pretty creations throughout the month.
The holidays observed in Judaism today are divided into major holidays and minor holidays. A major holiday is one which is mandated in the Torah. All major holidays are observed as rest days, with the same prohibitions against work as apply to the Sabbath.
I’m sure you know that Hanukkah is not mentioned in the Tenach (Old Testament) but is mentioned in the New Testament (John 10:22). “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.” Hanukkah in Hebrew means “dedication”.
In 165 BC, led by the Hasmonean family of Mattathias the Priest and his eldest son, Judah (called “the Maccabee”), the Jewish people succeeded in evicting the Syrian-Greeks from Israel. Religious freedom was restored and the Temple in Jerusalem, which the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV had converted into a pagan shrine, was cleansed, restored, and rededicated.
Those of you familiar with history will know that under Roman rule, people were allowed to keep their culture; the Romans just wanted their money. But, under Greek rule, individuals were expected to become Hellenized (adopt the Greek culture).
Hanukkah is an eight day holiday, which we will talk about tomorrow.