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  • Writer's pictureMargit Kresin

Hannuka - temple consecration - festival of lights חֲנֻכָּה

Currently, the Israelites and Messianic Jews celebrate Hanukkah. Hanukkah (Chanukkah) commemorates the rededication of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in the Jewish year 3597 (164 BC) after the successful Maccabees uprising of the Jews of Judea. We can read about this in the First Book of the Maccabees, in Flavius ​​Josephus and in the Talmud. After the extensive cleaning of the temple and the removal of the Zeus altar, the temple was consecrated again to YHWH, the God of Israel and also our Christian one and only God. Since the menorah, the seven-armed candlestick in the temple, must never go out, it was important to immediately produce consecrated oil again, since according to tradition there is only enough oil for one day. However, miraculously, the oil lasted exactly eight days - the time it took to make sacred oil. The eight lights of the 8 or 9-armed candlestick Hanukkah are reminiscent of this. Every day one more light is lit until all eight are on at the end.

The Hanukkah candlestick today often has nine arms or light holders, with the ninth light being the servant (Hebrew שׁמשׁ shamash). Only with this the others may be lit after the necessary blessings (Hebrew ברכה Brachot) have been spoken (see below). A Messianic Jew explained to me that the Shamsh represents our servant Jesus, our Savior and our light, with which we kindle our light in our temple (heart).

Hanukkah falls in the tenth month, i.e. it is celebrated in November-December. Jesus also celebrated the feast of the temple consecration (John 10:22). Since the second temple was built in 70 AD. was destroyed, this commemorative festival is celebrated with the family. It is a happy festival on which the Jews give each other presents. You eat sufganiyot (donuts) and latkes (potato pancakes) and play various games. The best known is spinning the Dreidel (spinning top). It is cube-shaped and a Hebrew letter is carved on each of the four faces:

נ Nun means nothing

Gimmel means everything ג

הHeh is half and

שShin means to put inside

They are the first letters of the sentence: Nes gadol haja sham! That means: A great miracle has happened!

The first evening is celebrated very special and three special blessings are spoken:

  1. Praise be to You, Eternal, our God, King of the world, who sanctified us by your commandments and commanded us to light the Hanukkah light.

  2. Praise be to You, Eternal, our God, King of the world, who did miracles to our ancestors in those days at this time.

  3. Praise be to You, Eternal, our God, King of the world, to whom you have given us life and preservation and have allowed us to reach this time.

On the other evenings, only the first and second blessings are recited. On the last evening, however, Psalm 30 (which commemorates the dedication of the first temple) or the song “Maoz Tsur” (Video from Yeshiva College South Africa) (engl. Rock of ages) is recited or sung.

I wish all readers a happy festival of lights - Hanukkah sameach!

(Links lead to the corresponding biblical passages in the Bible server.)


Psalm 30

A psalm of David. A song for setting apart the completed temple to God.

1 LORD, I will give you honour. You brought me out of deep trouble. You didn’t give my enemies the joy of seeing me die. 2 LORD my God, I called out to you for help. And you healed me. 3 LORD, you brought me up from the place of the dead. You kept me from going down into the pit. 4 Sing the praises of the LORD, you who are faithful to him. Praise him, because his name is holy. 5 His anger lasts for only a moment. But his favour lasts for a person’s whole life. Weeping can stay for the night. But joy comes in the morning. 6 When I felt safe, I said, ‘I will always be secure.’ 7 LORD, when you gave me your help, you made Mount Zion stand firm. But when you took away your help, I was terrified. 8 LORD, I called out to you. I cried to you for mercy. 9 I said, ‘What good will come if I become silent in death? What good will come if I go down into the grave? Can the dust of my dead body praise you? Can it tell how faithful you are? 10 LORD, hear me. Have mercy on me. LORD, help me.’ 11 You turned my loud crying into dancing. You removed my clothes of sadness and dressed me with joy. 12 So my heart will sing your praises. I can’t keep silent. LORD, my God, I will praise you for ever.


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