“Hanukkah is a gay festival.”
Antiochus’ secret weapon was van-
The Last Stronghold
The final test came at a town named Emmaus, which stood on the road to Jerusalem. Judah Maccabee had heard the report of his observers. The town quartered a large force of Syrians whose tents bristled with spears. They blocked the road to Jerusalem. Judah Maccabee marshaled his men. There was no sleep that night in the Jewish ranks. If this move failed, all was lost.
At dawn, the signal shrilled: “Attack!” The armies clashed in the first rays of the morning sun. Soon it was all over. The Syrians sank back to lick their bleeding wounds. Their commander bowed to mark the victory of Judah Maccabee.
And it came to pass that in 165 B.C.E. the Jews returned to Jerusalem. With unbounded eagerness and anticipation, they turned their faces to the City of Zion, where once King Solomon had reigned: Jerusalem, the center of Jewish hopes and ideas from time immemorial!
Return of the Hunted
When they reached the holy city, their joy turned to bitterness. For they beheld a view that made strong men sick. The Syrians had done their work thoroughly. Dirt and desolation met the eye everywhere. The Maccabees entered the Temple Area and saw the Scrolls of the Torah torn to bits and scattered about. Statues of Greek gods and goddesses had been placed in the Temple. Swine had been sacrificed on the Holy Altar.
about their tasks. They cleaned the Temple and scrubbed it. On the twenty-fifth day of Kislev in 165 B.C.E. the Temple was rededicated. With a little flask of oil—the only holy oil they could find arnid the destruction-—they re-lit the great Menorah.
Exceeding all expectations, the oil miraculously lasted for eight long days. And since that time, we have celebrated Hanukkah, which means “dedication,” for eight days each year, in commemoration of the Festival of Lights and the Triumph of Freedom.
Hanukkah is a gay festival. It is marked by the lighting of candles in the home, be ginning with one candle on the first night and adding one on each following night of the holiday.
Many of us buy Hanukkah candles made in Israel. Candles come forty-four to the box—enough for all the eight nights of Hanukkah. For we light one candle each night that acts as the shammash (which means “one who serves”) with which we light the other candles.
The oldest historical sources that deal with the festival of Hanukkah are ancient works known as the Books of the Maccabees. They tell us how Judah and his brothers came to the desolate Temple, how they cleansed it and re-dedicated it on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev. Slowly, the custom of lighting Hanukkah lights in every Jewish home was developed until Hanukkah became the widespread festival that it is today.”
Epstein, Morris. “All about Jewish holidays and customs.” (Pp. 38) Ktav Publishing House, New York, NY. 1959.