Answer: Chanukkah (or Hanukkah) is the Jewish Festival/Feast of Dedication, also known as the "Festival of Lights.” It is an eight-day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which typically falls in November or December on our calendar. It was a miracle! They light their menorah and talk about what it means to be a family. What about the J.J. Abrams reboots? It's a pretty standard candleholder in synagogues across the world, for use on the Sabbath or, like, if it's way dark and your phone is out of battery. think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. Not quite as miraculous as Moses parting the Red Sea, but probably more of a miracle than finding $20 in your old jeans. The shamash is typically higher than the other candles, and is the one you light first. So we imagine them putting Chanukkah presents under the menorah, or maybe a Chanukkah bush of some kind. If your dreidel keeps spinning forever, then you're in "Inception. No problem! Gelt is Yiddish for money or, for many American Jews, chocolate coins. It's not as religiously significant as Yom Kippur (the day Jews apologize), or quite as historic as Passover (when we celebrate escaping Egypt by not eating pasta for a week). Functions of a Synagogue. It's a confusing topic, mostly because you're trying to transliterate a Hebrew word into a language that is constructed in a totally different way with different sounds. Specifically in oil, to celebrate that miraculous eight-day oil again. Ah, Hanukkah. A menorah is a candelabra while a hanukkiah is one with nine-branches, used specifically at home during Hanukkah. The “menorah” menorah was constructed out of 1, 770 rectangular kits, purchased with donations that far exceeded expectations. If it lands on נ (nun), you get nothing. Chanukkah is a Jewish holiday. On Friday afternoon during Chanukah, we first light the Chanukah candles. But that tiny amount of oil lasted for eight full nights, which was enough time for the Jews to find more oil. "Glad you asked," says the Jewish T-Rex. For Jews, Hanukkah is, like, ninth-most. Again, presents are not integral to Hanukkah in the way they are to Christmas. The Maccabees built a new menorah. Google autocorrects to "Hanukkah," which is also in the AP Stylebook. Jewish kids get presents on Hanukkah just like Christian kids get presents on Christmas, but that's a pretty late addition to the Hanukkah tradition. One year I negotiated to four medium presents, and rejoiced when I got four large LEGO sets instead. By the way, can you BELIEVE how many cats are celebrating Hanukkah on the internet? Lighting the Hanukkah menorah is the only time Jews are commanded to recreate an aspect of the Temple service in their homes. Question: "What is Hanukkah? "Dreidel" itself is a Yiddish word, which is based on the German word drehen, which means "to turn." According to the Talmud (Shabbat 23b), if you are ever in a pinch, you can use a bowl as your menorah! Anyway, the chocolate coins popped up around 1920 or so. Check out these beautiful displays of menorahs from Instagram! Night three, you light the candle on the far right, then the second, then the third. Also, no. (Code of Jewish Law O.C. MTV AND ALL RELATED TITLES AND LOGOS ARE TRADEMARKS OF VIACOM INTERNATIONAL INC, 21 Facts To Know About Hanukkah: An FAQ For Non-Jews, http://www.flickr.com/photos/yairar/13056275613/in/photolist-kTJPSe-hWqihb, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKreDYVWark, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kyfjTCHtn8, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eB4PkCo4Lo. The one above is called a "menorah." Yet, interestingly, the Rambam writes in Hilchos Beis HaMikdash (9:7) that the menorah may be lit by anyone – including non- kohanim. Jewish kids in America get Hanukkah gifts, but Jewish kids in the rest of the world tend to get coins instead. Why do some Jews celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah? Serving Hanukkah Food Incorporate more oil and dairy into your meals. At a minimum, a synagogue is a beit tefilah, a house of prayer. The answer is: No. Chanukah, Gelt. Once the Seleucids were chased out, the Jews went about rebuilding and re-holy-ing the Holy Temple. If you do not have a menorah of your own, please take one and use it. More context: Chanukah is not about Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, which is why I am always nonplussed by Chanukah greetings that read like Christmas cards. Follow your heart. hisses the Jewish cat. Menorah, Chanukah, Origins. Hall of Famer Rod Carew is Jewish? Hellllll no. There aren’t too many stipulations when it comes to making sure a menorah is kosher. In Hebrew, it's called a sevivon, which means "dreidel." Is that Adam Sandler song true? K calm down. Confused yet? The popular holiday isn't mentioned in the Bible and is barely addressed in the Talmud. What about the candle stuff? Some kids are just greedy and want double presents. 10 Beautiful Menorahs to Brighten Your Hanukkah, 8 Ways to Make Your Hanukkah More Eco-Friendly. It's not really a mascot holiday, y'know? Hannukah? Some kids just enjoy the smell of Christmas trees (seriously, they smell amazing and we're very jealous). If you already have a menorah, please take a kit and share it with a friend who can use one. Hellllll no. Another Hanukkah miracle! Night two, you light the candle on the far right and the one next to it. Well, some kids are raised with both Jewish and Christian parents. This year, it starts at sundown on December 16th, and goes until sundown on December 24th (coincidentally, Christmas Eve). They're technically gluten-free if you don't use flour, but if you're not eating carbs, you can try zucchini latkes instead. And NOT Babylonians, who also persecuted Jews. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews!) Another problem using a Chanukah menorah is that you must have enough fuel at the time of lighting to burn for at least 30 minutes after nightfall. Oh, and Chanukah, too. To see some beautiful menorahs for purchase, check out 10 Beautiful Menorahs to Brighten Your Hanukkah. Tonight marks the beginning of Hanukkah, a holiday that's a joy for little Jewish boys and girls across the world... and a conundrum for many other people. A Jewish person is going to light the menorah but would like to ask a non-Jewish person to assist, by appointing him his agent to light the last 4 candles. 37 Ibid., 480-92. The fact that the Jewish Menorah can be displayed on public property while Jewish organizations have successfully prevented the Christian Cross from being displayed on public property should show both the hypocrisy and power of the Jewish extremists in the United States. Anyone, Jewish or not, who builds on their good deeds, day by day is a living breathing menorah! Let’s end this off with a fun fact, shall we? A Guide For Jews And Non-Jews Alike - Across America, US - At sundown Sunday, Jews around the world begin celebrating Hanukkah, the eight-day "Festival of Lights." The shamash, the helper candle, should be set a little higher or lower than the rest. Centuries before anyone knew of the Star of David; the Menorah was a powerful symbol … Kirk AND Spock? Jews love fasting for various holidays, but Hanukkah is a decidedly meal-based holiday. It's a spinning top. Ayal Kellman, manager of the Israel365 Store, noted that many non-Jews also purchase menorahs, either to participate in the mitzvah of lighting or simply to show love for Israel and the Jewish people. Or Chanukah. The flame of the menorah's candle (or oil) represents the Jewish soul striving to learn more and do more good in the world each day. A group of Jews called the Maccabees, led by Judah Maccabee, fought off a giant army of Seleucid for control of Jerusalem. Put it simply, Hanukkah is a (relatively) minor Jewish holiday that celebrates the Miracle … Yakov D Cohen; View project. Should a Christian celebrate Hanukkah (Christmaskah)?" There are similarities, though: Christmas celebrates the miracle of Jesus' birth, while Hanukkah celebrates a different miracle (we're getting there too). Is this the holiday where you don’t eat? If you get ג (gimel), you win it all. Therefore, if a … It has nine arms: eight for each night the miracle oil burned, and one for the shamash, which is the "helper" candle. Yet, even if it is permitted for a non-Jew to fashion an image of a Menorah (or other image) for himself, it remains forbidden for a Jew to ask a non-Jew to create the image for him, as the Shach (141:17, 23) writes. Menorahs are beautiful, and come in all shapes and sizes. The shamash, the helper candle, should be set a little higher or lower than the rest. Then, each night at sundown you use the shamash to light the other candles right-to-left (just like reading Hebrew). There are also some prayers you say while you light the candles -- ask (almost) any Jewish person on earth and they can recite them like the lyrics to the "Fresh Prince" theme song. Sum it up. Electric bulbs are not ideal according to some opinions, but are considered kosher. ", They're called "gelt," and they replaced the coin-gifting of yore, which is an ancient tradition designed to teach Jewish children about fiscal responsibility. The menorah is not an ornament. My Jewish Learning is a not-for-profit and relies on your help. And why does it change every year? Again, it's an importance thing: Christmas is basically the most important Christian holiday besides Easter. How did the Menorah come to be the symbol of the Jewish people? Chanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. It is the … In the Jewish holiday calendar, Hanukkah is the least holy, and most Jews are not aware of its significance, other than the fact that we light candles for eight nights on a menorah … This is because of the idea in Judaism that sitting and admiring the candles after they are lit is an essential part of the lighting ritual. A chanukia is the menorah for use on Hanukkah (see T-Rex above). Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabean Rebellion, and the destruction/rededication of the Holy Temple. You want to learn more about the holiday, but you don't want to ask questions that may sound insensitive. Fruitful & Multiply, Non Jews? Let's answer all your burning questions about the Festival of Lights! Depends on which one you mean. The Hanukkah menorah therefore has eight main branches, plus a ninth branch set apart as the shamash (servant) light which is used to kindle the other lights. The jelly donuts are sufganiyah, also fried in oil, and they date way way back in Jewish history. We eat them because they symbolize... being delicious? "Not really!" There aren’t many stipulations in order for a menorah to be kosher, but these are non-negotiable: There must be eight candles. Menorahs are beautiful, and come in all shapes and sizes. Yiddish is the Girl Talk of languages, in that it's a mashup of Hebrew and Yiddish. The origin of Hanukah and the menorah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great, who lived from 356–323 B.C. They saw all the fun we were having every winter and came up with something a little different that they could do, too. Because very early in the formation of Christianity, Christians were considered a Jewish sect. Speaking of candles, wax candles and oil lamps are both permissible, as long as the wax candles will burn for at least half an hour. If you get ש (shin), you have to add coins to the pile. You take turns spinning the dreidel, which has four different Hebrew letters on it. Consider it a menorah fruit punch. 7 Branch Menorah. It’s kind of like, we think, some kind of Jewish substitute for Christmas. Right. Anyway, this all happened around 160 years before the birth of Jesus. 36 A. Panayotov, The First Jewish Communities in the Balkans, 480-1. The way to do this is to fill the bowl with oil and use eight wicks, and separate  the wicks so they look like eight distinct candles. Latkes and sufganiyot are two common foods served during Hanukkah. Basically, the menu for Hanukkah is anything fried. A row of tea candles will also work. The reason is because if we would light Shabbat candles first, this would signify the onset of Shabbat - and we are not allowed to light Chanukah candles on Shabbat. It's basically the Jewish version of rollin' bones. A Kent family starting celebrating Hanukkah in 2013, even though they aren't Jewish. ... candles on a menorah … They find a tiny jug of oil, barely enough to last one night. Yes, Kirk and Spock are Jewish, if you mean William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. All the other candles should be set on the same level. As Benjamin Hurwitz says, it’s important not to confuse Chanukah with Christmas. Latkes are a popular Hanukkah treat: basically fried potato pancakes that usually come with applesauce or sour cream on the side. In my house (where all I wanted was LEGO) I was given a choice: Eight small presents, or one big one. "NOT REALLY!" So the Maccabees are rebuilding the destroyed temple, and need to light candles for holiness. We just learn that he's not real a few years before you do. Article. Just as long as the lights are separate enough from each other, so it doesn’t look like one “bonfire,” then it is a permissible menorah. It changes every year because the Hebrew calendar is lunar (technically lunisolar), while the Gregorian (or Western) calendar is straight-up solar. We do not allow an electric Menorah for Chanukah, since it does not burn in the same manner as the oil-and-wick lamps that were used in the Temple. And so on and so forth. more » Topic: Chanukah Menorah, Disposing of. Besides being delicious, chocolate coins combine the two main edicts of all Jewish parents: Be careful with money, and you should eat something, you're too skinny! (Or "chunnundrum.") A Guide For Non-Jews - Across America, US - At sundown Sunday, Jews around the world begin celebrating Hanukkah, the eight-day "Festival of Lights." Assume a Hanukkah gathering on the 8th night where there will be Jews and non-Jews attending. ©2021 Viacom International Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The Knesset Menorah (Hebrew: מנורת הכנסת Menorat HaKnesset) is a bronze Menorah 4.30 meters high, 3.5 meters wide, and weighs 4 tons. Last year, Hanukkah was on Thanksgiving; this year, it ends the day Christmas begins. Personally I prefer "Hannukah," but I think it's like string cheese: Some people peel it off, some bite it, and some like the cheddar/mozzarella combo. But generally speaking, Jewish kids in America get presents. Why chocolate coins? In fact, the menorah is one of the most potent symbols of Jewish extremist hatred—of non-Jews, and even those few Jews who do not hate Gentiles enough! Fine, Art and Judaism in the Greco-Roman World, 154. Oh yeah, we'll talk about coins later. As someone who spent eight years in Hebrew school -- including the days I forgot my Game Boy and actually had to pay attention -- I'm happy to help with non-Jews' top queries about Hanukkah. All Rights Reserved. It’s that time of year again: Christmas. And then we eat donuts. Count the arms: Seven total. Chanukah, Lighting on the NINTH night? Honestly? You restart every night: night one, you light the candle on the far right. In order: No, Hall of Famer Rod Carew is NOT Jewish. (And it works -- my checkbook STAYS balanced.). In 2016, it starts on Christmas Eve, which is super great for mixed families and lazy holiday party throwers. There is an idea in Judaism that items used to fulfill mitzvot, or commandments, should be beautiful, and the creative craftsmanship of all the menorahs out there definitely speaks to this sentiment. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you. When is it? Do you put gifts under the menorah like with a Christmas tree? Yeah, that's a stereotype, but in this case it has a basis in reality. “The non-Jews have the full length and breadth of T orah—they just have a different role in it,” says ... UN HQ Menorah lighting. (I bought a nicer one.) Yet at this time of year, many people—Jews and non-Jews alike—find themselves puzzled about it. There aren’t many stipulations in order for a menorah to be kosher, but these are non-negotiable: You don’t even technically need a menorah at all. The Seleucid were basically ancient Syrians, who were technically Greeks -- NOT Romans, who also persecuted Jews. This type of menorah is called a hanukiah in Modern Hebrew. Jews weren't allowed to teach Torah or learn about Judaism, so when the Syrians would drop by, the Rabbis would tell their kids to hide the books and pull out the dreidels. Hanukkah lamps come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. says the weird Christmas menorah (we'll explain menorahs in a minute). And NOT... well, the list goes on forever. In the story of Hanukkah, … The Talmud (Menahot 28b) states that it is prohibited to use a seven-branched menorah outside of the Temple. Copyright © 2002-2021 My Jewish Learning. Starting to see why this isn't the most important Jewish holiday? Growing up in the South, I was a small gefilte fish in a big winter wonderland pond during this time of year. File photo of a menorah … They originated back in those Maccabbean times. Yes, jelly donuts. Arthur P. Katz from New Jersey wrote: Dear Rabbi, How do you properly dispose of a menorah you no longer want/need? If it lands on ה (hei), you get half the coins. No, Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine are not. The beautiful menorah was gone, and the floor was covered with trash, broken furniture, and pieces from the shattered jars of oil. We don't hate him at all. Everyone starts with some coins, or candy, or raisins, or straight-up GOLD BARS if you're a boss. If you were to rank the Jewish holidays by importance, Hanukkah is way down the list. 2,000 years later, Jewish kids still use dreidels as a way to avoid doing work. Is there a professional hipster dreidel league? I like the candles! Jews love fasting for various … For non-Jews, Chanukah has been built up to be perceived as the most important Jewish holiday, even though we all know the High Holidays are the real MVPs.