Chanukah

Article excerpt

CELEBRATING THE WORLD'S FIRST RECORDED NATIONAL LIBERATION STRUGGLE evening of December 3 through December 10, 1999

* The Ritual

Each night of Chanukah we light candles, starting with the then adding one additional candle each night for a total of shamash (used to light nights. The others) and on is to sing, candle, and rejoice in our then adding one additional candle each night for a total our freedom. eight nights. The tradition is to sing, dance, and rejoice in our liberation and our freedom.

THE TRADITIONAL BLESSINGS OVER THE CANDLES:

*All nights:

1. Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech ha'olam, asher kidshanu bemitzvotav, vetzivanu, lehadleek ner, shel chanukah.

(Blessed are you, the Force that rules all of existence, who sanctifies us by giving us a way of life directed by holy commandments and commanded us to light the lights of Chanukah.)

2. Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech ha'olam, she'asab nisim la'avoteynu, bayamim bahern, bazman hazeh.

(Blessed are you, the Force that rules the universe, who made possible miracles for our ancestors, in those days, and also makes the same possible for us in our own times.)

* Add on the first night:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech ha'olam, shehechiyanu, vekee-imanu, veheeg-iyanu, lazman hazeh.

(Blessed are you, the Force that rules the universe, who has

kept us in life, made us flourish, and made it possible for us to reach this happy occasion.)

* The Story *

(The non-mythologized version you may never have heard)

When King Cyrus of Persia allowed the remnants of the ancient tribes of Judah and Benjamin to return from the enth century before the common era (BCE), they formed the exile imposed upon them by Babylonian conquerors Kingdom of Judea. As part of the Persian Empire, and later as parth century before the empire of Alexander they Great, Judea had relative autonomy to shape its own kingtom of Judea. As part of the Persian Empire, and later as part of the empire of Alexander died at the end of the fourth cent, Judea had relative autonomy to shape its empire split into three rival religions, and Judea was caught between Alexander died at the end of them: the fourth centered in Syria, and the his empire split in Egypt. For the next hundred-fifty years, and Judea was caught between two of them: the Seleucids, centered in Syria, and each sought to incorporate Judea as part of its empire, centered in Egypt. For the next hundred-fifty years, Although the battle was largely military; these two kingdoms warred and each sought to incorporate important ideological dimension. Alexander of its empire.

Although the Jews to Hellenistic Greek culture-its philosophy, its largely military, there was an ature, and its impressive technological dimension. and power had introduced dragged into the larger Mediterranean world, many Jews to Hellenistic Greek culture-its philosophy, its literature, and its impressive technology and power. Forcibly dragged into the larger Mediterranean world, many Jews could see that "the real world" was dominated by wealth and power. Some Jews, primarily those who lived in and around the larger cities, saw an opportunity to join this larger world by becoming merchants and traders, or by establishing political and economic relationships with others in the Hellenistic empire. It was apparent to these Jews that their tribal religion would have little meaning to those who had conquered the world. The religion of their fathers seemed irrelevant in a world reshaped by the "modern" realities of science; they were drawn by the allure of a society that worshiped the body and saw reality in terms of what could be tasted, touched, and directly experienced by the senses.

These Jewish Hellenizers saw no point in resisting Greek rule. Their goal was to live in peace with the powers that ran the world. They could benefit from the connection to the expanding trade of the Hellenistic world. …