Most people think of Hanukkah as a strictly Jewish Celebration, but did you know that the only place in the entire Bible that Hanukkah is mentioned is in the New Testament? The Gospel of John 10:22-23 reads “Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.” The word “Dedication” in Hebrew is “Hanukkah”! At the Feast of Hanukkah, Jesus is walking around the Temple in Jerusalem. And not only is He there, but it is written that at this time, Jesus, whose name in Hebrew is “Yeshua” (Yeh-SHOO-ah), promises four Hanukkah gifts to all His followers! In John 10: 27-29 Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” Four extraordinary Hanukkah Gifts from Jesus: the ability to hear His voice, to be known by Him, eternal life, and eternal security that no one can snatch His followers from His hand .
The Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, is a time to remember and celebrate both a historical event and a miracle of God. Historians record that around 139 BC, the Temple in Jerusalem had been polluted by pagan idols and other defilements from the occupying forcesof Antiochus IV Epiphanes. After years of oppression, the overthrow of Antiochus was won by the Maccabees, led by Judah. Judah was called “Maccabee,” a word composed of the initial letters of the four Hebrew words Mi Kamocha Ba’eilim Hashem, “Who is like You, O God.”The Maccabees won this military victory against overwhelming odds. They proceeded to cleanse the Temple and rededicate it and re-light the Temple Menorah, or Lampstand. They only had enough oil to light the Temple Menorah for one day. By a miracle of God, the Lampstand continued to burn for eight days, until new oil was made available.
In memory of this, the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, is celebrated to this day by lighting candles for eight days, beginning on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, the date of the original re-Dedication. This year the first candle is lit on December 2, 2018, and candles increase daily until 8 candles are to be lit on December 9.
Because of the miracle of a little oil multiplying, the Feast of Hanukkah features foods fried in oil, such as jelly-filled donuts, in Hebrew called “sufganiyot” (soof-gahn-ee-YOTE), and potato pancakes, or “latkes” (LAHT-kees). Another Hanukkah tradition is the playing of the Dreidel Game (DRAY-dul), which features spinning a special top and winning gold-foil-covered chocolate coins. Some say this game originated when it was forbidden to read Scripture, the Hebrews would quickly whip out a top and coins and play to fool the oppressors.
Experience Hanukkah Week Celebrations at Beth Hallel, Hoover. Learn more and experience Hanukah at Beth Hallel Messianic Synagogue. December 4 at 7 p.m. enjoy a Family Hanukkah Party with traditional food and games, giant Menorah and Festival of Lights. The Feast of Hanukkah, or Feast of Dedication continues Friday, December 7 at 7 p.m., with Erev Shabbat, including Temple Lampstands, Hebraic Dance, Lively Worship, and teaching about Hanukkah, followed by a Community “ONEG” (delightful refreshments.) Bring a dish to share! Saturday, December 8, at 11 a.m. celebrating Hanukah continues on Yom Shabbat. All are welcome!
-Rabbi David and Leslye Schneier
Leaders of Beth Hallel Messianic Synagogue
2230 Sumpter Street, Hoover, 35226