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Interestingly, Israel's first recorded 8-day winter celebration is found in Yәho•shua (Bin-Nun) 10.12-13. You don't see it?

Perhaps this will help: the Latin phrase for "stands still" traces its way into English via "sol-stice." In ancient times, the sun "standing still" referred to the solstice—not the Perfect Creator contradicting Himself by having to abrogate the perfect laws He created in order to accomplish His Will. (Such supernaturalism is a ridiculously limiting and ignorant view of the Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator.)

These pәsuq•im use the verbs דּוֹם ‭ ‬ (12-13) and אָץ ‭ ‬ (13).

In pâ•suq 10.12, the command is דּוֹם. Then 10.13 describes the sun: וְיָדֹם; and the moon עָמָד. Then it is described in even clearer terms:

וַיַּעֲמֹד הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בַּחֲצִי הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְלֹא-אָץ לָבוֹא כְּיוֹם תָּמִים

וַיַּעֲמֹד הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ [at summer solstice]; the sun in the middle of the heavens, and didn't אָץ, i.e. transition to shortening, to become כְּיוֹם תָּמִים (an average day). In other words, it didn't hasten to the end of the day; i.e. the day didn't begin growing shorter. The sun behaved as it always does in its solstice period. The difference today is that our calculations enable us to predict it more precisely, without having to worry about being wrong; especially when the success of a battle and the nation depends on the extra daylight. This battle might have extended over several days—all of them growing longer, before the summer solstice.

Furthermore, the moon was also in its full-moon solstice, allowing them to see and continue pressing their victory during the night (and perhaps, by this conjunction of solstices, to astronomically date this battle).

Pâ•suq 14.14 declares that "There was no day like that before or after, that י--ה hearkened to the voice of a man, for י--ה battled for Yi•sә•râ•eil." This refers to the concurrence of solar summer solstice with the lunar full-moon solstice—and, most miraculous of all, its occurrence precisely when Yәho•shua Bin-Nun needed the extra daylight and the moonlit nights to continue pressing a critical battle to victory without allowing the enemy a pause to regroup, plan or re-arm.

It should also be pointed out here that the intercalation of these solstices was known by Mosh•ëh back in Mitz•rayim. He had been taught this by the Mitz•rayim priests; then he, in turn, taught it directly to Yәho•shua Bin-Nun, who had clearly planned the battle to take advantage of the solstices and knew this when he commanded the sun and moon to "stand still." The miracle wasn't supernatural, but rather in the timing and the fact that most people found it inexplicable.

The battle described in this passage occurred during a concurrence of solar and lunar solstices about the year B.C.E. 1410 (my Chronology of the Tan"kh from the 'Big Stretch-Apart' (popularly 'Big Bang')). Calculating the astronomical positions for the years around B.C.E. 1410 for the concurrence of the winter solar solstice with a full-moon lunar solstice might enable pinpointing the actual year in which this battle occurred—straightening out the errant (and no small number of archeologists).

The ancients could only observe the solstice with the naked eye. Therefore, they required a period of about eight days to discern the change from shortening days to lengthening days. This was also the eight-day period celebrated by the ancient Mitz•rayim as a time of cheering their ill sun-god. Since the hours of daylight were getting shorter, they reasoned that their sun-god was getting sicker. Their priests taught them that they must cheer it up so that it wouldn't die—in which case the sun would continue waning until there was only total darkness and the end of the world. They decorated their homes with green palm fronds and celebrated by lighting oil-lamps to combat the increasing darkness. The eighth day—which was the birthday of the sun-god was eventually found to be, on modern calendars: 12.25 (Christmas—birth of the sun)!

Rainbow Rule

Archeologist's Insight: Whose Oil?

(Excerpts from Stephen Rosenberg, Fellow of Albright Institute of Archeological Research, The Jerusalem Post Up Front, 2005.12.30, p. 4)

Every Jewish child knows the answer… The cruse of oil was uncontaminated by the Greeks, the seal of the High Priest being unbroken.

But who was that High Priest? It must have been the last one before the Hasmonean Revolt, and that would have been Menelaus. The Book of Maccabees tells us that he was the most wicked of all the priests. He had bought the position from the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes, and ousted the former High Priest Jason, who was wicked enough… So this was the man whose seal made the oil fit for the cleansed menora…

The first mention of kindling from one to eight lights (or vice versa) is in the Gemara (in the section headed "What is Hanukka?") and the Scroll of Fasts, both dated to the fifth century… But where did this idea of eight lamps and a shamash (server) originate?

The two books of the Maccabees know nothing of a progression of lights. They emphasize the miracle of the recapture of the Temple and the cleansing of its altar, and every dedication (literally, hanukka) of the altar has always consisted of eight days, from the time of Moses to that of Ezra [emphasis added].

Only in late Talmudic times did the custom of eight lights begin to appear That global tranveler of the third century, Rabba bar Bar Hana, reports seeing two old men of Sidon, who lit the lights in a different order, and the schools of Hillel and Shamai had similar contradictory ideas. But though they are said to have kindled from one to eight lights, or vice versa, the matter is reported only in the fifth century.

Rainbow Rule

Hellenization of "Priesthood" and Their "Temple"

The background leading up to the חֲנֻכָּה story, hi-lited below from my Chronology of the Tan"kh from the 'Big Stretch-Apart' (popularly 'Big Bang'), is virtually never mentioned. And it's the most important part. Parts not otherwise documented in the footnotes can be found in the Encyclopedia Judaica and other various Judaic books on חֲנֻכָּה.

In BCE 175, Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes secured possession of Phoenicia and Yi•sә•râ•eil, and the Syrians became overlords over the Yәhud•im. From BCE 171 to 168 Antiochus was involved in a war against Mitz•rayim, defeating two Mitz•rayim kings, Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VII. He captured Yәrushâ•layim, prohibited Judaism, and tried to establish the worship of Hellenist gods.

Here's the first key element: At this time, the Ko•hein Jâ•dol was כוֹניוֹ (Hellenized to "Onias III"), more properly, יְכוֹנְיָה. His full name in Hebrew was Yәkhōn•yâh Bën-Shim•ōn Jr. Bën-Tzâ•dōq ha-Kō•hein.

Yәkhōn•yâh, being the great-grandson of Shim•ōn ha-Tza•diq and a documented descendent of A •ha•ron through the line of Bәn•ei Tzâ•doq, was the last legitimate (i.e., non-Hellenist) descendant of A •ha•ron to occupy the position of Ko•hein Jâ•dol.

With pinpoint accuracy, CD identifies Yәkhon•yâh, this last legitimate Ko•hein Jâ•dol revered by his followers—later known as the Qum•rân Tzәdoq•im of the Dead Sea Scrolls—as the legendary Mōreih Tzëdëq. He was the last קַנָּאִי Kō•hein ha-Jâ•dōl, i.e. the last legitimate Ko•hein Jâ•dol.

Yәkhon•yâh's brother was a Hellenist, anti-religious (misojudaic), born-Ko•hein—no different than the many vehemently misojudaic secular and 'Reform Jews' we see in Israel today. His name was Yәho•shua Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bᵊn•ei-Tzâ•dōq—who preferred the Hellenized form: "Jason." In B.C.E. 175, Yәho•shua Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bᵊn•ei-Tzâ•dōq went to Syria and obtained from Antiochus the transferal of the office of Ko•hein Jâ•dol from Yәkhon•yâh to himself in return for a large sum of money and for his efforts to Hellenize the Jews – and Judaism.

Yәho•shua Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bᵊn•ei-Tzâ•dōq expelled and banished his brother, Yәkhon•yâh Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bën-Tzâ•doq ha-Ko•hein, and his supporters (the Kha•sid•im-Tzәdoq•im, including the Qum•rân "Essenes") from the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh ha-Shein•i, which, thereafter, comprised exclusively the Hellenist pseudo-Tzәdoq•im supporters of Yәho•shua Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bᵊn•ei-Tzâ•dōq – the first כֹּהֵן הָרֶשַׁע. Each successive Ko•hein Jâ•dol was thereafter known as the (current) כֹּהֵן הָרֶשַׁע.

Banished from the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh in Yәrushâ•layim, many of these Kha•sid•im-Tzәdoq•im traveled to Elephantine, Mitz•rayim, where they built another Beit ha-Miq•dâsh there (Tal•mud, Ma•sëkët Mәnâkh•ot 109b-110a). Due to the Church's later (not completely successful) attempts to expunge any negative mention of the name Yᵊho•shua from Tal•mud, the father's name (Shim•on) was changed to match the good son (Yәkhon•yâh) while the evil son (Yәkhon•yâh) was changed to the father's name in some mss. of the Tal•mud account.

I suggest that, as part of the banishment deal, and to rescue it from the rampant Hellenism of the Hellenized "temple," it's possible that Yәkhon•yâh may have agreed to a "quit claim" on the priesthood in exchange for Yәho•shua Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bᵊn•ei-Tzâ•dōq allowing the banished Kohan•im to take the A•ron hâ-Eid•ut (which the Hellenists priests didn't particularly value anyway) with them. The Hellenist "Sadducees" may have considered it a "small price" to pay to permanently get rid of their rivals: Yәkhon•yâh and the original Kha•sid•im-Tzәdoq•im.

Under Yәho•shua Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bᵊn•ei-Tzâ•dōq, 'Tor•âh institutions' were abolished and 'new usages contrary to Tor•âh' introduced (and perhaps, his deeds later confused with Yᵊho•shua Bën-Dâ•wid). A gymnasium was erected below the citadel and the young men of Yәrushâ•layim practiced the athletic skills of the Greeks (including the Olympic Games). Even the (new Hellenist pseudo-)Kohan•im left their service at the Miz•beiakh and took part in the games held in the palaestra. The contempt for Jewish customs went so far that many [because the games were contested completely nude] removed their circumcision artificially.

Yәho•shua Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bᵊn•ei-Tzâ•dōq was also the recipient of CD, which was sent to him by his brother Yәkhon•yâh while Yәkhon•yâh was imprisoned in Damascus. Yәho•shua Bën-Shim•on Jr. Bᵊn•ei-Tzâ•dōq was also the original Ko•hein Jâ•dol labeled by the Qum•rân followers of Yәkhon•yâh as the כֹּהֵן הָרֶשַׁע.

Some Dead Sea Scroll scholars have mistakenly rejected the pinpoint identification in CD because the phrase "כֹּהֵן הָרֶשַׁע" was used to describe subsequent Ko•hein JƏdol•im as well, and it simply never dawned on them that all of the Ko•hein JƏdol•im after Yәkhon•yâh Bën-Shim•on II, who subsequently remained corrupted by Hellenism, would also be called כֹּהֵן הָרֶשַׁע!

In BCE 171, Menelaus Ko•hein Jâ•dol, of the tribe of Bin•yâ•min, and therefore not a descendant of A •ha•ron, nor, it follows, Bәn•ei Tzâ•doq, obtained the KƏhun•âh Jâ•dol from Antiochus by offering more money, succeeding Yәkhon•yâh (Bën-Shim•on II) Bën Tzâ•doq.

In BCE 170, Yәkhon•yâh Bën-Shim•on II Bën-Tzâdoq—the original 'Mori tzëdëq'—seized the opportunity, when Antiochus made war against Mitz•rayim, and attempted to retake Yәrushâ•layim in a surprise attack, to reinstall himself as Ko•hein Jâ•dol. The coup attempt failed. Menelaus profaned the Temple vessels and caused the murder of the Mori Tzëdëq, the former Ko•hein Jâ•dolYәkhon•yâh ca. B.C.E. 170. (Menelaus died c. BCE 162.).

In BCE 169, Yәrushâ•layim and the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh were ravaged, as described above, by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Antiochus interpreted Yәkhon•yâh Bën-Tzâ•doq's attempt to retake Yәrushâ•layim as a revolt against his sovereignty and decided to punish the rebellious city. When he returned from Mitz•rayim towards the end of BCE 169, he marched in person with his army against Yәrushâ•layim, executed a bloodbath there, and looted the immense treasures of the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh, with the help, it is said, of Menelaus himself. He took all the valuables, amongst them the three great golden vessels from the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh: the Miz•beiakh of Incense, the seven-branched Mәnor•âh and the Shul•khân of the Display Bread, back to Antakya, Turkey, decreeing: "The sanctuary in [Yәrushâ•layim] was to be polluted and called Zeus Olympus."

Conspicuously, the A•ron hâ-Eid•ut wasn't mentioned.

To ensure that these measures would be permanently implemented, the walls of the city were torn down by Antiochus. Ir Dâ•wid (the Old City of Dâ•wid), however, was refortified and converted into a powerful stronghold—the 'Akra' which looked down into the court of the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh, and which was occupied from then on by a pagan garrison of Syrians. In the words of Dâniy•eil (11.39), 'He will use the people of an alien god to defend the fortress'.

Antiochus issued instructions that the services of the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh and observance of Tor•âh were to be abolished, and pagan cults were to be substituted instead. The observance of all Jewish ordinances, in particular those relating to Shab•ât and circumcision, was prohibited upon pain of death. (This precedent would later be revived by the subsequent Romans under the banner of Christianity.) In every town in Yәhud•âh, sacrifice was decreed to be offered to the heathen gods.

Syrian spies, almost certainly in the guise of false 'geir•im'—a precedent that would also be emulated by the later Romans—were sent everywhere to see that the royal command was carried out. Where the people did not comply willingly, they were obliged to do so by force. Once a month a check was made, and whoever was found with a scroll of the Tor•âh or had had a child circumcised, was put to death.

On the 15th of Tenthmonth (Kislev) in BCE 167, in Yәrushâ•layim, a pagan altar was built on the Great Miz•beiakh of burnt-offering. On the 25th of Tenthmonth the first heathen sacrifice was offered to Zeus Olympus, to whom the (now pagan and idolatrous) "Temple" in Yәrushâ•layim had been dedicated—another precedent that would later be emulated by the Romans with Christianity. This is הַשִּׁקּוּץ מְשׁוֹׁמֵם of Dâniy•eil.

In B.C.E. 166, Ma•tit•yâhu from Mo·di·in, who was a descendant of A •ha•ron through Yәho·yâ·riv, declared: 'Though all the nations in the king's realm lapse from the religion of their fathers, yet will I, with my sons and brothers, walk in the bәrit of our fathers. May Ël•oh•im preserve us from abandoning the Tor·âh and the mitz·wot!'

He was soon joined by the Kha•sid•im. The Kha•sid•im later split into two min•im: the Tzәdoq•im and the Pәrush•im. The latter became today's Orthodox Jews.

Together Ma•tit•yâhu, his family and the Kha•sid•im raised a covert army. Though Ma•tit•yâhu is several times referred to as a Ko•hein Jâ•dol, we Yәhud•im did not reconquer Yәrushâ•layim until at least two years after his death in B.C.E. 167—166. (See below where we reconquered our capital of Yәrushâ•layim in BCE 164.) Ma•tit•yâhu's family were known as the חַשְׁמוֹנַאיִם.

In B.C.E. 165, After the death of Ma•tit•yâhu, his son, Yәhud•âh ha-Ma•kab•i, assumed the leadership of the Yәhud•im—and these are the מַכַּבִּים. Yәhud•âh ha-Ma•kab•i routed the Syrians at Emmaus, defeated Lysius (the Syrian Imperial Vice-Regent) at Beit-Tzur and—in BCE 164—retook Yәrushâ•layim (except for the 'Akra'). Yәhud•âh ha-Ma•kab•i demolished the desecrated altar and erected a new one, replaced the sacred vessels and rededicated the Beit ha-Miq•dâshחֲנֻכָּה—on the 25th of Ninthmonth (Kislev), BCE 164!

It is noteworthy that, by the lifetime of Ribi Yᵊho•shua Bën-Yo•seiph Bën-Dâ•wid, the only Kohan•im in the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh ha-Shein•i were the כֹּהֵן הָרֶשַׁע and his fellow Hellenist pseudo-Tzәdoq•im—the Kohan•im recognized throughout first-century Judaism as "Wicked Priests." These, the only Kohan•im left in the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh ha-Shein•i in the lifetime of Ribi Yᵊho•shua Bën-Yo•seiph Bën-Dâ•wid, are "the Jews" (sic) who shouted for the crucifixion of the anti-Hellenist Pәrush•im Ribi Yәho•shua Bën-Dâ•wid.

Now begins the story of חֲנֻכָּה! Happy studying and…

חֲנֻכָּה שָׂמֵחַ,
Pâ•qid Yirmәyâhu

Rainbow Rule

חֲנֻכָּה In Tei•mân

Excerpted from Hi•lƏkh•ut Tei•mân (R. Qapakh)

There is no difference between the days of חֲנֻכָּה and regular days amongst the Yәhud•im of Tei•mân except for the lighting of חֲנֻכָּה candles, saying "עַל הַנִיסִּים" in prayer and in the ברכת המזון, reading the Tor•âh every day [as opposed to just on Day2, Day 5 and Shab•ât] and saying the full Ha•leil. On Shab•ât חֲנֻכָּה they would sing during the feast and eating the ג'עלה, in addition to regular Shab•ât songs, also this one:

אבני יקר, על הר ציון התפרקו / באו ימי שלום, עלי התחזקו.

(Precious stones, on the mount of zion collapsed / days of payment have come, upon they would become stronger)

רמה ימינם. יום יוונים דלקו / היכל אזי חנכו, ונרות דלקו.

(Their right [hand] has been uplifted. The day that the Greeks chased / then they dedicated the היכל, and candles they lit)

מצוף ישועת אל, לבבות מתקו / על זאת לברך, שם כבודו חשקו.

(From the nectar of the salvation of אל, hearts sweetened / on this to bless the name of his honor they desired)

The ambiance of חֲנֻכָּה is felt, therefore, in בית הכנסת, and at the bottom floor of the house, where the חֲנֻכָּה candles are lit. And when you pass in the city streets, whereas during the rest of the year they are immersed in darkness, you can see a light breaking through and coming out of all of the foyers of the houses.

The Yәhud•im of Tei•mân light חֲנֻכָּה candles on the bottom floor (which is used as the internal foyer of the house) from the inside. This ground floor is usually not used for living at all. חֲנֻכָּה candles are lit between מנחה and מעריב. Close to sunset they would go to בית הכנסת to pray מנחה. Afterward, they would exit all of the בתי כנסת to light the candles and return for the prayer of ערבית and to study as it was customary. The head of the family came as aforementioned from בית הכנסת, takes a flashlight in his hand and goes down to the hallway when all of the household members, men, women and children, surround him and go after him, to see and hear the lighting of the candles and to answer אמן after the ברכות

But, for the children and youth, the days of חֲנֻכָּה were like real חג days. Every day before evening, the mother would give her son a small coin, half a בקשה (vooksha [Arabic], a tiny Tei•mân•i coin). The child would hurry off to the market, buy a bunch of carrots with half that coin, soft and small, and with the rest he would get fine sugar. The grocers would prepare it in small paper packages and add a bit of red coloring…, the child would return to his home in joy, put the sugar and color into a small bottle, fill it with water and this would become a sweet red liquid. This was similar to the wine that the grown-ups would drink, which is called שראב חק אלחֲנֻכָּה (the wine of חֲנֻכָּה).

The mother would wash and garnish the carrot and make זבדיה לסיס (zuvediah lasis [? Arabic]) for her son – a small bowl of legume stew, lentils or sorghum. In the evening the little ones would meet in one of the neighbors houses, boys and girls of young age together, to celebrate חֲנֻכָּה. These celebrations are held in the foyer of the house, where the חֲנֻכִּיָּה is lit. The hostess of the house spreads wool rugs on the floor of the foyer, which were worn out and not used in the rooms of the house, and the celebrators would sit on these. The little ones would sit reclined as the grown-ups would, eat לסיס and carrot and drink "wine", treat each other from their wines as the grown-ups do, and being in joy from the wine, sing cheerfully (with the tune of מפי אל, the song sung on שמחת תורה at בית כנסת) the one song in unison:

יא חֲנֻכָּה חנכיני

(The חֲנֻכָּה – educate me,)

דק עמראן ופתחי לי.

(The tomb entrance stone of the son of עמרם open up for me

They would repeat this song for all during the party, that would last up to an hour. The lady of the house supervises the little ones celebrations so that they won't quarrel, and at the end of party she would escort each one to his house. On the following nights the group would visit different friends, each night at the house of the other, according to a queue.

Older children, meaning from eight years and up, the boys and girls would celebrate separately. And 11 and 12 year olds would already mix the חֲנֻכָּה wine with a bit of real wine, and some would bring real wine, diluted with water and boast to their friends saying: I have שראב אצלי ([Arabic?] real wine)…

Sometimes, a few pleasant young men, 16 or 17 years-old have a feast with friends on the last evening of חֲנֻכָּה. These feasts are not held in the foyer of the house like that of the children, rather in one of the rooms. The members of the group would set their table with fruit, roasted [nuts; ylbd], wine and roasted sheep meat, which they had bought together beforehand… and had a good time until late at night with songs of praise by שבזי, and with a nice conversation about this and that. One of the members of the band, who is knowledgeable in his study, spices the feast with Dәvar Tor•âh and a nice dәrâsh•ot from our Sages, may their memories be for a bәrâkh•âh, about the issue of the day [i.e., about חֲנֻכָּה; ylbd]. [Citing Sages is ok, but quoting homilies of Sages instead of discussing Ta•na"kh directly is the greatest failure of modern Judaism. ybd] And finally they feast and leave, content, for their houses. But for the grown-ups, from 20 years and upwards, there is no difference between the days of חֲנֻכָּה and other days except for keeping the mitz•wot [of חֲנֻכָּה; ylbd].…

Rainbow Rule

How to Commemorate חֲנֻכָּה

The central commemoration of חֲנֻכָּה is the lighting, each evening, of small olive-oil lamps in a חֲנֻכִּיָּה, preceded by the proper bәrâkh•ot. The custom of lighting oil lamps during the eight days of חֲנֻכָּה was practiced by Ribi Yәho•shua (documented in the Christian NT at "John" 10.22).

The lighting of eight lights over eight days (in addition to the שַׁמָּשׁ, one oil lamp on the first eve, two the second eve, and so forth) commemorates the miracle of the one-day's supply of sanctified oil that burned for eight days in the oil lamps of the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh ha-Shein•i until more oil could be produced and sanctified. The שַׁמָּשׁ is necessary because using any of the other eight lights for any purpose other than viewing is prohibited.

A miracle is something people cannot explain at the time, not something that is contrary to the laws of physics. Almost certainly, there was other olive oil available but not suitable, nor sanctified, for use in the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh ha-Shein•i. The miracle by which the olive oil lasted eight days can be explained within the bounds of the laws of physics by Ha•lâkh•âh governing wine.

Until you can obtain an oil חֲנֻכִּיָּה (and wicks), a candle חֲנֻכִּיָּה may be substituted. However, the candle substitute is too much like a birthday party and fails to properly commemorate the miracle of the sanctified olive-oil at the first חֲנֻכָּה. Be sure, too, that you obtain a halakhically suitable חֲנֻכִּיָּה. Although the שַׁמָּשׁ can be offset, horizontally or vertically, from the other eight lights, the eight lights must be in a straight and level line, both horizontally and vertically. Many "arty" חֲנֻכִּיּוֹת don't satisfy Ha•lâkh•âh. Obtain your חֲנֻכִּיָּה from an Orthodox vendor and verify with him that it's halakhically fit.

While hav•dâl•&âh must be preserved between Qodësh and khol—preventing assimilation exemplified by "Hanukah Bushes" and the currently promoted "Christm- (lә-hav•dil) ukah"—Tor•âh-observant families—and especially children—mustn't have cause to feel that חֲנֻכָּה is inferior to the pagan winter holiday. Maximize the festivities of חֲנֻכָּה through winter decorations that have no intrinsic Xmas symbolism (which excludes a "Hanukah Bush"). Decorating the house is important to children—but you must be sure there's no Xmas symbolism and that the most prominent decoration is a חֲנֻכִּיָּה (outside as well as inside).

Use special water-based paint that's easily removed for your child to paint חֲנֻכָּה scenes (discuss the planned scene first, of course, and help them with the project) on the inside of the windows facing the street. When the lights are on it creates a fantastic effect as seen from the street—and makes your children proud of their work and of חֲנֻכָּה.

Within the limits of Ha•lâkh•âh, families must adopt their customs, within reason, to the normal level of public display of the surrounding culture. In Israel, where חֲנֻכִּיּוֹת aren't even displayed in most windows, sigh a neon חֲנֻכִּיָּה with flashing lights would be ostentatious whereas in the U.S., within the limits of Ha•lâkh•âh, one can pull out all of the stops.

Even gift-giving shouldn't be surrendered to pagan symbolism. Before the first day of חֲנֻכָּה, gifts in colorful seasonal (winter in northern hemisphere, summer in southern hemisphere) wrap with colorful shiny ribbon bows should be placed under the חֲנֻכִּיָּה for each child—for each evening of חֲנֻכָּה!!! (That's better than the Xmas celebration. But don't get caught up in pagan materialism. Keep the gifts within reasonable financial limits, not being extravagant like the pagans, especially considering there are eight gifts per child. On the other hand, don't turn it into—as Lewis Black satires—a "Back to school" restocking of pencils, erasers and socks. Love, family participation, meaning and preparations described herein are far more important than extravagant gifts.) Be especially careful, however, before allowing a store to wrap the gift, to closely examine the wrapping paper to ensure it's entirely free of Xmas or other Xn symbolism.

The centerpiece must focus on the theme of oil, oil-lamps and חֲנֻכָּה. For indoors, build a large (1-2 meter high), spray-painted (e.g., white, gold or white & blue—not green or silver like a Xmas tree) חֲנֻכִּיָּה topped by eight electric bubbling-lights or electric candle "flicker" lights, one atop each branch of the חֲנֻכִּיָּה, plus one more as the שַׁמָּשׁ offset from the others somehow. Twine strings of colored optic fiber or tiny twinkle lights (which must be significantly smaller than the lights that top each branch of the חֲנֻכִּיָּה) down each branch of the חֲנֻכִּיָּה. In the northern hemisphere, garnish it with evergreen boughs and pine cones sprayed with artificial snow, hanging artificial icicles and snowflakes from its branches and decorating the home with winter scenes of sleighs, sledding, skiing, ice skating and snowy winter scenery. In the southern hemisphere, garnish it with a symbols of summer (e.g., fronds of small house palms and summer fruits), decorating with scenes of swimming, the beach, surfing, boating, sailing, water skiing, etc.

Build another weatherproof חֲנֻכִּיָּה for outdoors on your porch. (While horse-drawn sleigh hayrides are innocent winter fun in northern climes—so are ice-skating and snow-skiing themes. Relating to Israel, the theme of winter rains is also appropriate. Just stay away from a reindeer-drawn sleigh, a sleigh laden with gifts or any hint of Santa Claus.) In southern climes like South America and Australia, either cold winter themes or appropriate local (hot weather) seasonal themes are as appropriate as evergreen boughs, snow and icicles. Only themes deriving from Israel, particularly the ancient Israeli celebration, remain constant. If olive branches are available, they're always preferable to evergreen boughs and pine cones whatever your clime. Other themes that can supplement the decorations are a lion lying next to a lamb as envisioned in the prophecy or a white dove of peace. Of course, no decorated tree, no "Santa" and no idolatry is acceptable.

An electric חֲנֻכִּיָּה may be used in the window or doorway—but only in addition to an oil חֲנֻכִּיָּה. An exception is that one may substitute an electric חֲנֻכִּיָּה in hospitals, in windows near curtains and the like, where the hazard of fire precludes oil lamps. A further caution concerning the oil lamp variety: wicks should be anchored in each little container, so that the wick cannot fall out and set fire to something nearby. (I bought a meter of wick at a candle shop; cut each individual wick to the size I wanted and tied one end of each wick to a heavy aluminum metal screw, which sat in the bottom of each little container.) For the same reason, it's also wise to place aluminum foil underneath the חֲנֻכִּיָּה, or even set an oil חֲנֻכִּיָּה in a cookie pan of water, well away from curtains, paper or any other flammable.

Not only can we present חֲנֻכָּה to our children in ways that compare favorably to the materialist and pagan rites—without resorting to materialism ourselves, we can render Xmas a pale shell by comparison to חֲנֻכָּה. Take another look at the Nәtzâr•im logo at the top of this page. That's the Vision of Zәkhar•yâh (ch. 4); a pair of olive trees providing an endless supply of olive-oil to the seven-branched Mәnor•âh. Not just ONE paganized evergreen suffocating beneath a pile of empty glitter, lights and tinsel but TWO proud, unadorned olive trees flanking a golden seven-branched Mәnor•âh! Do Christians really want to raise their kids to seek Vegas glitter or meaningful—Biblical—values??? Two unadorned olive (not evergreen) trees PLUS a golden Mәnor•âh are better than a single paganized evergreen suffocating beneath a pile of empty glitter, lights and tinsel! The Christians build their crèches, lights, trees and "Santas" for their holiday. I think mostly this is a human need to decorate and celebrate something, anything, as a winter festival more than a Christian celebration of Christian religious themes. There just hasn't been any alternative… until now.

For חֲנֻכָּה, why aren't we, in addition to a prominent חֲנֻכִּיָּה, building the Nәtzâr•im logo (Zәkhar•yâh's Vision) that emphasizes not merely an eight day supply of olive oil for the golden seven-branched Mәnor•âh in the Beit ha-Miq•dâsh ha-Shein•i, but an eternal supply of olive oil to the golden seven-branched Mәnor•âh in the eternal Beit ha-Miq•dâsh? 'Build them and they will come' (to ask you to explain what it's all about—generating an opportunity for qiruv).

In earlier times, the oil חֲנֻכִּיָּה was positioned opposite the mәzuz•âh in the doorway of one's house. Where this isn't practical, the חֲנֻכִּיָּה should be placed in a window facing the public street. (To repeat, an electric חֲנֻכִּיָּה may be used where oil lamps would pose a fire hazard. However, an electric חֲנֻכִּיָּה in a window shouldn't be exposed to rain unless they're designed for outdoor use.)

Additionally, each member of the family (old enough to do so safely) should light his or her own חֲנֻכִּיָּה, which may be placed on a dining room table or the like. Parents should light the חֲנֻכִּיָּה for children too young to light their own safely. These should be olive-oil lamps, not electric or candles (except temporarily while obtaining an oil חֲנֻכִּיָּה).

When practical, one should light the חֲנֻכִּיָּה at sundown. However, it isn't safe to leave the fires of an oil lamp unattended if you're going out for the evening. In such case, you should schedule your life so that the fires are allowed to go out naturally before you leave home. (They don't satisfy the Ha•lâkh•âh if they are extinguished prematurely. So, also be sure to keep the חֲנֻכִּיָּה out of a strong draft.) Alternately, the lighting should be postponed until you get home. Adjust your schedule during חֲנֻכָּה with your children in mind. It's essential that all members of your family be present and participate in lighting their חֲנֻכִּיָּה. It's a family observance, designed to become a family memory. On ërëv Shab•ât, the חֲנֻכִּיָּה must be lit earlier, before lighting the neir•ot Shab•ât—since it is forbidden to kindle a fire on Shab•ât.

The lighting of the חֲנֻכִּיָּה is governed also by a particular order. On the first night, prepare only the שַׁמָּשׁ and the neir on the viewers' right. (If the lighter stands behind the חֲנֻכִּיָּה then he or she must reverse the instructions.) Recite the appropriate bәrâkh•ot, after which (not during, as often wrongly performed) light the שַׁמָּשׁ. The bәrâkh•ot are found in the תִּכּלַאל (si•dur Tei•mân•i (p. רחצ; page number is a misprint in the si•dur, look for רצח). On the first night only, one also appends the standard bәrâkh•âh thanking י--ה for keeping you alive, allowing you to reach the holiday. (No talking, remember, between the reciting of a bәrâkh•âh and the performance of the act for which the bәrâkh•âh was recited.)

After reciting the bәrâkh•ot, light the oil-שַׁמָּשׁ (using a match or lighter). Next, from the oil-שַׁמָּשׁ and proceeding from the viewers' left to right, light the neir•ot חֲנֻכִּיָּה. If the oil-שַׁמָּשׁ isn't movable then it will be necessary to light a neir from the fire of the burning oil-שַׁמָּשׁ. Then use the neir that was lit from the oil-שַׁמָּשׁ to light the rest of the neir•ot חֲנֻכִּיָּה prepared for that evening.

On each subsequent evening, in addition to the שַׁמָּשׁ and consistently from the viewers' right to left, prepare one more neir than the previous evening. Lighting the neir•ot (after the שַׁמָּשׁ, of course) is exactly the reverse of preparing them. The neir•ot that have been prepared are lit from the viewers' left to right.

After lighting all of that evening's neir•ot, recite הַנֵּרוֹת הַלַּלוּ, also found in the si•dur Tei•mân•i. Optionally, this may be followed by singing the Ash•kәnazi song, מָעוֹז צוּר ("Clifftop Fortress" or "Boulder Fortress"; composed in 13th-century Germany), which is becoming increasingly popular among Ash•kәnazim. (However, it is not included in the si•dur Tei•mân•i.)

Each evening, after the lighting ceremony has concluded, Tei•mân•i and Israeli music should be played in the background as the children unwrap their gifts around the חֲנֻכִּיָּה and everyone is served (kâ•sheir) foods cooked in oil—commemorating the theme of oil, especially a סֻפְגָּנִיָּה for each with coffee or hot chocolate for the kids, and לְבִיבוֹת. Smell is one of the most remembered and powerful of all of the senses; able to vividly summon memories. The aroma in the house of foods and hot beverages at this time are essential for the children. All of the חֲנֻכִּיּוֹת should be visible nearby. Visual memories must be associated with the more subtle, but powerful, smell memory. Then all of the family and guests should dance Tei•mân•i dances to the Tei•mân•i music, learning—and using the opportunity for teaching dance as needed (we offer music cassettes and instruction to Nәtzâr•im). Sing Zәmir•ot Tei•mân•iyōot if you know them (CDs with Hebrew songbooks are available on the web) as well as other Israeli songs and Israeli folk dancing.

These innovations depend upon you exercising the utmost care to avoid any assimilation or adoption of Xmas symbols. We must maintain the proper havdâl•âh, giving no cause for confusing the holy with the unholy. It's urgent that all displays be taken down immediately after חֲנֻכָּה, leaving no doubt that the displays, lights, etc. aren't Xmas displays, lights, etc.; fueling no suspicion that we're commemorating Xmas or syncretizing the holy with the unholy like the Romans did.

Rainbow Rule


Ërëv חֲנֻכָּה begins 8-day festival. A special section for חֲנֻכָּה is recited (also on second Shab•ât of חֲנֻכָּה when there is one), as indicated in the תִּכּלַאל, in the Shәmon•eh Es•reih.

Ha•leil is recited immediately after the A•mid•âh Sha•khar•it, preceding the Qa•dish (also on the second Shab•ât of חֲנֻכָּה in years when it occurs).

The regularly scheduled Pâ•râsh•at Shâ•vua is read. However, the Ma•phƏtir and Ha•phƏtâr•âh for חֲנֻכָּה supersede the usual Shab•ât selections.

When Shab•ât falls on:Ma•phƏtir
1st day of חֲנֻכָּהbƏ-Mi•dƏbar 7.1-17
2nd day of חֲנֻכָּהbƏ-Mi•dƏbar 7.18-23
3rd day of חֲנֻכָּהbƏ-Mi•dƏbar 7.24-29
4th day of חֲנֻכָּהbƏ-Mi•dƏbar 7.30-35
5th day of חֲנֻכָּהbƏ-Mi•dƏbar 7.36-41
6th day of חֲנֻכָּהbƏ-Mi•dƏbar 7.9-15 is read as 7th a•liy•âh,
7.42-47 is the Ma•phƏtir
7th day of חֲנֻכָּהbƏ-Mi•dƏbar 7.48-53

The Ha•phƏtâr•at Tei•mân•it for the first Shab•ât of חֲנֻכָּה is Zәkhar•yâh ha-Nâ•vi 2.14—4.9, not the Sәphârâd•it and Ash•kәnazit Zәkhar•yâh ha-Nâ•vi 2.14—4.7.

Ha•phƏtâr•âh for the second Shab•ât of חֲנֻכָּה, in the years in which a second Shab•ât occurs during חֲנֻכָּה, is Mәlâkh•im Âlëph 7.40-50.

5771 (2010.11)

אָמַר רִבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ

Tor•âh Translation Mid•râsh Ribi Yәho•shua (NHM) NHM
Zәkhar•yâh 2.10

Hoy! Hoy! So flee, from the Ërëtz of the north, declares י--ה; because like the four rukh•ot of the heavens, I have scattered you, declares י--ה.

And then the sign of a specific bën-â•dâm 8.20.2 shall be seen in the heavens.24.30.2 And he shall send forth his ma•lâkh•im 1.20.1 with a sho•phâr.24.31.1 He shall gather 24.31.2 his chosen 24.31.3 from the four rukh•ot 8.16.1 of the heavens—from one end of the heavens 3.2.2 to the other.24.31.4


Rainbow Rule
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