Chanukah is not a subject found in Torah, the first five books of the Bible, or any other place in the Bible. The holiday of Chanukah memorializes a military victory of a small band of rebels against a large army of Seleucids, based in Syria, who were part of the Greek empire. And they also fought against the Jewish hellenizers, those Jews who wanted to forsake their religion and adopt Greek ways because Greek philosophy and science were very attractive to them. Chanukah is celebrated also as a spiritual victory not just a physical one, in which Jews gave their lives for the right to live as Jews following the customs of their fathers. This battle occurred at a perilous time in history when the second Temple in Jerusalem and Judaism itself was threatened with destruction in the year 166 BCE (Before Common Era) also referred to as 166 BC.

The particulars of the political victory, although miraculous in nature since the Jewish rebels were greatly outnumbered by their enemies, are eclipsed by a supernatural event that occurred within the Temple during the siege, an event that inspires Jews all over the world to this day. To understand the supernatural event requires a little bit of historical understanding about the Holy Temple in those ancient times, because instead of candles, special wicks were placed in containers of olive oil which provided the fuel for a flame to burn. For ceremonial purposes very pure olive oil had to be consecrated or blessed for use in the Holy Temple. No other oil was allowed in the Temple menorah, the famous seven-branched candleholder made of solid gold. So the flames of the Temple menorah could not burn without consecrated oil.

During the siege in 166 BCE the rebels were running out of consecrated oil for the menorah at a very important time. They were rededicating the Holy Temple after years of misuse by their enemies. But, just when it looked as though the quantity of remaining oil would last only one more day, a miracle occurred. The same small quantity of consecrated oil burned for eight days straight during the period of the Temple rededication. This allowed time for more oil to be processed. Not only were the rebels amazed and grateful for this remarkable occurrence, but over the centuries Jews have celebrated Chanukah to remember the miracle during the rededication of the Holy Temple and miracles in their own lives.

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Writing, blogging, sewing, and crafting in her woodland studio full of vintage/retro/chic treasures, Mia Sherwood Landau works for her satisfied clients and happy customers publishing thoughtful work on the web and producing beautiful handicrafts in the world. Join Mia in her Kabbalah studies on the web at