22 Apr 2016 306 views
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photoblog image Hanukkah



Hanukkah is the Jewish "Feast of Lights".  The name is pronounced "Hanna-ka". The feast starts on the 25th day of the month of Kislev, according to the Jewish calendar. That could be any day from the end of November to middle December on the Gregorian calendar. Hanukkah lasts 8 days, during which time a varying number of candles are lit on the menorah (Hanukkah candelabrum). Some light a candle on each of the 8 days, with the ninth candle used to light the other ones. Food fried in oil, is considered Hanukkah food, with the doughnut a definite favourite.


Between 198 BC and 165 BC the Seleucid Empire (one of two empires that followed the split of Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire) annexed and ruled over Israel. The Seleucids were forcing the Jews to become Helenists, doing stuff like slaughtering pigs on the temple altar Jerusalem. This brought about the 8 year Macabean revolt that ended in 165 BC. The temple was re-dedicated and with a new altar. Judah Macabee - leader of the revolt - then ordered a feast of 8 days. During this feast, according to Jewish tradition, there was only one can of sacred oil (dedicated and sealed by the high priest) left for the feast. It would take 8 days to do what is required to have more sacred oil. By a miracle, the single can that could only last for one day, managed to last the 8 days. Hanukkah is dedicated to the succesful revolt and the miracle of the lights.


Not related to Hanukkah: The period, from 165 BC to 63 BC was the time of the Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom. The independence of the Hasmoneans was recognised by the Romans. This kingdom ended when two brothers contesting to be the ruler, turned to the Roman Empire to settle the dispute. The Romans promptly reacted by annexing Judeah, after massacring twelve thousand of Jerusalem's inhabitants, during a siege. This led to the state of affairs, where the Jews considered their Saviour to be the person that will save them from the Romans, instead of a religious saviour.





The main picture shows candles lit in front of an appartment building (think low, not as high as in NY) as part of the commemoration feast. Although, the candle holders in the glass boxes are not proper menorahs. In the bottom box you can see 7 candles lit and the lighting candle to the left in the box. We were met by SA woman doing volunteer work in Jerusalem and she explained Hanukkah, took us for a tour of a neighbourhood, with lots of candles, ending up at what she reffered to as her favourite Hanukkah food shop.


comments (17)

  • Ray
  • Possibly Greenland
  • 22 Apr 2016, 01:14
Very interesting stuff, Louis.

I am enjoying my education here.
Louis: Thank you Ray. I had cats too. Consider them to be the easiest pets, bar gold fish. Current dogs are not cat friendly.
  • Martine
  • France
  • 22 Apr 2016, 05:42
Jolies lumières pour cette fête.
Louis: Many streets have festive lighting, somewhat like most western countries do for Christmas.
Beautiful image, Louis!
Louis: Thank you Elizabeth
This is a superb illustration to these most interesting words Louis!
Louis: The Israel visit was a case of non-stop learning, for me. Very different from the West and Africa.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 22 Apr 2016, 06:48
Again this is very interesting and informative Louis
Louis: Thank you Chris. I just now replied to m'sieu Richard that the Israel visit put me on a steep learning curve.
What a history Louis, and you certainly seem to have a knowledge of it. Of course I am more drawn to the coffee and cake.
Louis: That doughnut was very delicious, gutteridge.
I have never seen a Hanukkah like that, Louis, and hope to never forget it because it's magical.
Louis: Oh, you should have been with us for that stroll through the Hanukkah-lit neighbourhood. I am sure you would have enjoyed it, as well as the doughnut.

PS. the first Starbucks in South Africa, opened earlier this week in Johannesburg and I understand that people queued.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 22 Apr 2016, 06:56
Oh, wonderful, warm lights - we have a big Hanukkah chandelier in December on a place in the centre of our city and every day a new candle will be lit on.
Louis: In Jerusalem, they have a Hanukkah candelabrum in a modern style on some some city squares. Every evening at around 20:00 the rabbi will come and light another "candle" (electric light) while the people sing and dance.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 22 Apr 2016, 07:44
Interesting footnote, Louis
Louis: Thank you Lisl
My grandmother gave me a beautiful menorah after her visit to the Holy Land.
Louis: Heh, heh - and I gave one to my son.
Signs of hope...
Louis: Yes. When I went into a neighbourhood like this one, where there are as a good as none people from the "other" faction - it is hard to imagine that all the aggression does exist.
This is all so very interesting Louis, both your pictures and your notes.
Louis: Thank you Brian.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 22 Apr 2016, 17:26
Wonderful picture. Love the lights and the Hebrew. Your series is very educational. I think you really enjoyed your vacation.
Louis: It was quite an experience and I am glad to have done it. Thank you Astrid.
Nice shot, Louis
Louis: Thanks Tom
Another interesting insight Louis.
Louis: Thank you Bill.
I knew of Hanukkah only in passing, Louis. fine shot to go with the text
Louis: Before this experience, Ionly knew about the feast in passing, as well. Thank you Ayush.
good shot of the boxes of candles against the old stone walls Louis... thank you for your history lesson today....petersmile
Louis: Heh, thank you for coming to class, peter

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