It’s December 7, 2018 and with Hanukkah in full swing, there’s no better time than to show you a glimpse of the foods of this special holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights.
What Does Hanukkah Mean?
Hanukkah, which means, dedication, honors the rededication of the Temple in 165 BCE. The rededication came after one of the greatest military victories of all time for Israel.
Against all odds, The Maccabees, a small, seemingly weak group of Israelites fought back against Antiochus’ soldiers who occupied their land and brutally oppressed them. In fact over, 100,000 Jews were slaughtered because they refused to give up a life of biblical observance. They were tortured for being religious Jews.
After the miraculous and glorious defeat, the Maccabees found the Temple grossly defiled with the blood of a pig and statue of Zeus. As they labored to clean, purify and rededicate the Temple, the historian Josephus claimed that they only had a one-day supply of olive oil in the Temple’s menorah but it miraculously burned for eight days during the rededication.
Why 8 nights?
As a remembrance, Hanukkah last for 8 nights and each night a lit candle is added to the 9 branch menorah, starting with one candle for the first night all the way to 8 candles on the eighth night. The ninth candle is called the shamash which means, servant. The shamash is used to light all of the the other candles. As the light increases each night, so does the ability to chase away the darkness.
The only place Hanukkah is mentioned in the Bible is in the Gospel of John, since the events of Hanukkah took place around 165 BC, after the completion of the Tanakh (Old Testament).
“Now it was the Feast of Hanukkah in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
And Yeshua walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.” John 10:22-23
Hanukah is a time to celebrate the miracles of Jewish history, how the Jewish people kept the flame of truth alive and God’s word alive in the darkest of nights. It’s a time of light chasing away the darkness, victory over evil, weak over strong and rededication to God and righteous living.
How to celebrate Hanukkah
To celebrate this light-filled holiday, people enjoy foods cooked in oil like latkes or donuts. The symbolic foods are a way to remember and symbolize the miracle of oil for the Temple menorah lasting 8 days when they only had enough for 1 day.
That’s just the beginning…there is a lot more to this miraculous holiday that didn’t come without a fight for survival and the right to exist for the Jewish people. How can you not admire and cheer on the determination and chutzpah of people who defy all odds while simultaneously making the world a better place?
For example, take this chocolate filled sufganiyot, or stuffed donut, covered in gold flakes. THIS makes the world a better place! These impeccable works of culinary art came from Roladin, one of Israel’s high end bakeries. I would like to give an award to anyone who can take their eyes off of this.
In Israel, even the food is elevated to a spiritual level. Just as scripture promises, Israel and the Jews are a light to the nations. May you be inspired to live a life that chases away the darkness and brings honor to His great name.
Bring on the bright lights and gold dusted donuts! Happy Hanukkah!