Sometimes coinciding with Christmas, Chanukah (Hanukkah) in 2011
starts on December 20th and will continue for 8 days
until December 28.
Though initially a minor holiday, Hanukkah has become one of the
paradigmatic Jewish holidays. Hanukkah (Chanukah) commemorates the
victory of the Jews over the Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE, and is celebrated
by lighting a hanukkiah, or menorah, for eight days, eating latkes, and
After 3 years of war, the Temple in Jerusalem was reclaimed, purified
and rededicated on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in 164 BCE.
There was only one vat [1 day's worth] of undefiled oil left in the
Temple and that one vat lasted the whole week while they prepared more
This is why the Hanukkah Menorah has eight candles (not including the
shamash candle used to light the others) and one reason why Jews
celebrate Hanukkah for eight days.
Read: A Jewish Struggle for Religious Freedom and National Survival by Lisa Katz, for more information.
As it was then, may it be now:
But when they saw the army coming
to meet them, they said unto Judah: 'What? shall we be able, being a
small company, to fight against so great and strong a multitude? ...'
And Judah said: 'It is an easy thing for many to be shut up in the hands
of a few, and there is no difference in the sight of Heaven to save by
many or by few; for victory in battle standeth not in the multitude of
an host, but strength is from Heaven. They come unto us in fullness of
insolence and lawlessness, to destroy us and our wives and our children,
for to spoil us; but we fight for our lives and our laws. And He
Himself will discomfort them before our face; but as for you, be yet not
afraid of them." (The First Book of Maccabees)