The Miracle of the Oil

Donuts from the bakery by our home.

Hanukkah is an eight day holiday.  The story of the victory of the Jewish people over the Syrian-Greeks is not found in the Tenach, but is recounted in the Book of Maccabees, one of the fourteen books of the Apocrypha.

The Temple was desecrated by the Syrian-Greeks and used as a pagan shrine.  When the Maccabees won independence for the Jewish people, the Temple had to be cleansed.

According to the Talmud, after the Temple had been cleansed and the Priests were ready to rekindle the seven-branched menorah, they could find only one jug of oil which had not been desecrated–enough to keep the menorah burning for one day.  Miraculously, the oil kept burning for eight days.

The menorah in the Temple had seven branches.  A Hanukkiah is similar to a menorah, but has one more branch, plus a place for the helping candle.  We will talk about that in a later post.

This account is not found in the Book of Maccabees, but it is the generally accepted reason for the observance of Hanukkah for eight days.

Due to the miracle of the oil, oil is a symbol of Hanukkah.  Therefore, donuts, which are deep-fried, are symbolic of the jug of oil which miraculously burned for eight days.

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