by Judy Bratten
The Feast of Lights or the Feast of Dedication marks the victory of Judah of Maccabee over the Syrian and Greek armies of 167 B.C. The story of the profanation of the Temple and its subsequent cleansing and rededication is retold, with particular emphasis on the miracle of the oil. In restoring the Temple, Judah needed pure olive oil for the “eternal light” which burned continuously. He was unable to find enough oil for more than one day’s burning; however, the lamp continued to burn for eight days until more oil could be obtained.
In Jewish homes, candles set in a special menorah are lit for the eight days of Hanukkah: one on the first night, two on the second and so on until eight lights are glowing on the last night. Celebrations include singing songs, spinning tops called dreidels, and playing games. Foods fried in oil, commonly potato pancakes for Jews of European descent, are traditionally served.
Hanukkah is one of our favorite celebrations. We send homemade cards and gifts to Jewish friends and relatives. We light the Hanukkah candles – each child taking turns during the eight nights – and sing:
On this night, Let us light,
One (or two or three…) little candle fire.
‘Tis a sight, Oh so bright,
One little candle fire.
We invite friends for potato pancakes and retell the exciting story of Judah Maccabee’s victory. The boys especially like dressing up as warriors.
To be said at the lighting of the menorah:
Father: Come, let us worship the Lord who has brought victory to His people.
Mother kindles the lighting candles and says:
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who has sanctified us by Thy commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of Hanukkah.
Child: Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old at this season.
Children light the candles – one on the first night, two on the second …
Father: Let us give thanks to the Lord,
All: Who made heaven and earth.
Father: Let us proclaim His marvelous deeds.
All: And announce His glorious salvation.
Father: O Lord our God, we recall thy care for thy children and the strength thou givest to those who defend thy Name. We pray that during this season of Hanukkah, thou shalt pour out thy mercy on the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Just as thou hast set us free in the past from tyranny, free us now from any spiritual bondage or blindness.
We ask this in the name of Yeshua, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee and Ruach haKodesh, one God, for ever and ever.