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Hanukkah menorah with wailing wall in the background

Hanukkah Origins: ‘Miracle of Oil’ Exalted a Religious Freedom Victory in Ancient Jewish Temple


Known also as the Festival of Dedication, as well as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is a major Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees. Hanukkah (also Romanized as Chanukah) is celebrated annually for 8 days and nights, usually between late November and late December. Traditionally, the lighting of a special menorah, the eating of fried foods, and playing a symbolic game take place during Hanukkah to celebrate the curious ’Miracle of Oil’.

Traditional Hanukkah dish latkes (happy_lark / Fotolia)

Traditional Hanukkah dish latkes (happy_lark / Fotolia)

Hanukkah Story Begins with Persecution under the Seleucids

The story of Hanukkah begins in the 2 nd century BC, after the Torah was written. During this time, the land of Judaea was under the rule of the Seleucid Empire. One of Alexander the Great’s generals during the late 4 th century BC, Seleucus I Nicator founded the empire.  Although the Seleucids first respected Jewish culture, a complete reverse occurred under the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who ruled from 175 to 164 BC. Antiochus, hoping to Hellenize the various peoples of the empire, outlawed the Jewish religion and made its practice punishable by death. Additionally, Antiochus forced the Jews to worship the Greek gods, and desecrated the Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus, and offering sacrifices of pigs on it.

Mattathias Appeals to the Jewish Refugees. (I Maccabees 2:42-70) (Public Domain)

Mattathias Appeals to the Jewish Refugees. (I Maccabees 2:42-70) (Public Domain)

Maccabean Revolt Reclaims Jewish Religious Freedom 

Antiochus’ actions angered the Jews, who eventually revolted against Seleucid rule. This revolt began in Modiin, a village not far from Jerusalem. Here, Antiochus’ soldiers forced the villagers to bow down to an idol, and then had them eat pork, two practices that are prohibited in Judaism. Mattathias, a priest, refused to obey. When another villager offered to cooperate on his behalf, Mattathias became enraged and killed him. He then killed the Greek officer, and the remaining soldiers were killed by the villagers.

Mattathias and his five sons fled to the mountains, where they were joined by other Jews who wanted to fight against the Seleucids. At the beginning of the revolt, the rebels were aware that it would be suicide to engage the Seleucids in open battle. They resorted to guerrilla tactics. Upon Mattathias’ death in 166 BC, his son Judas Maccabeus (nicknamed ‘the Hammer’), became the guerrillas’ new leader, and hence the revolt came to be known as the Maccabean revolt. The rebel force succeeded in defeating the Seleucids, and recaptured Jerusalem.

The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus, by Rubens. (Public Domain)

The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus, by Rubens. (Public Domain)

How does the Miracle of Oil tradition exalt the Temple Re-dedication?

The victorious Jews proceeded to cleanse the defiled Temple, re-erected the altar, and re-dedicated the Temple to God. The celebration of Hanukkah is based on a miracle that is believed to have occurred during the Temple’s re-dedication. According to a legend, when Judas and his supporters entered the Temple, they found that there was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the menorah burning for a day. To their surprise, however, the menorah kept burning for a total of eight days. According to another legend, eight iron spears were found by Judas, and Hanukkah candles were stuck on them for lighting the Temple.  The Hebrew word ‘Hanukkah’ is said to mean ‘dedication’, and refers to the re-dedication of the Second Temple by the Maccabees.

Hannukah ‘miracle of oil’ symbolized by the Menorah. ()

Hannukah ‘miracle of oil’ symbolized by the Menorah.

Hanukkah Traditions

The number ‘8’ plays a significant role in both stories, and provides an explanation for the celebration of Hanukkah over a period of eight days. The ‘miracle of oil’ also forms the basis for the consumption of fried foods during this festival. Two of the traditional foods eaten during Hanukkah are the sufganiyah, a deep-fried jelly-filled doughnut, and the latke, which are fried potato pancakes. Another Hanukkah tradition is the spinning of the dreidel. This is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side: Nun, Gimel, Hei, and Shin, which is an acronym for ‘Nes Gadol Haya Sham’, meaning ‘A great miracle happened there’. The acronym signifies the ‘miracle of oil’.

Hanukkah is the only Jewish holiday not mentioned in the Torah, as the events occurred after it was written. Finally, it may be said that due to the influence of Christmas, gift-giving has also become a practice of Hanukkah.

Top image: Hanukkah menorah with wailing wall in the background.        Source: (yokypics / Fotolia)

By Wu Mingren


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Hi All,

I have always admired the Holiday Hanukkah I first learned of the Holiday in Second Grade.

A Jewish family at my school taught us about the Holiday but, it took a little while before; I was able to put the Festival of the Lights and re-dedication of the Temple after the Maccabees Revolt together.

I so loved the potato pancakes; couldn't eat the donuts because at the age I wasn't allowed to have certain sweets but, the family was really nice they took extra consideration who might have food allergies; so they brought bagels to eat.

I heard more of The Hanukkah Holiday from Mysteries of the Bible where theologians, historians, and Rogue Scholars studied this specific Biblical Book; The Maccabees and that it could only be found in The Catholic Bible, I also learned that this Book is believed to make believe so they didn't feel it was authentic.

Since the article explained this Biblical Account happened after the writing of the Torah now I understand why the scholars took such a stance against it.

Four year's ago, I found out, in Africa right in Ethiopia they have a Bible and what do you know it has all 3 Maccabees Biblical Accounts within its Scriptures that makes sense Judaism has been there in Ethiopia longer than Christianity and Islam ☪.

Also I found out researching a little more background on the special Bible, that the German reformer Martin Luther (a little disheartening to learn how anti-Semitic he was), based his own Bible famously written in his fatherland tongue of German translated into Greek; not Latin, parts of
The Ethiopian Orthodox Bible.

I find it to be an exciting read of The Catholic Bible equivalent to The Book of Esther.

That's all I have to share on the Holiday accept to say that I have Menorah all of my own and special Candles to go with it.
Until next time Everyone, Goodbye!

William Bradshaw's picture

Hanukkah is worship of Lucifer, the highest ranking female tetraploid human. Lucifer or the Queen of the Prostitutes was Ishtar at this time frame and the menorrah is actually a representation of her vagina. The Shamash, which lights the candles, is the fleme of the Sun God who impregantes her. Shamash was the consort of Ishtar AKA the Whore of Bablylon.

Most religions are actually Persian based and worship the Devil.

History of Devil Worship and Luciferians

source: Secrets of the Pink Kush 

William H. Bradhaw, Dipl. T, CPIM

William Bradshaw's picture

Christmas is actually based upon the European god (Satan) and not Jesus. Sanit Nicholas was probably a tetraploid human from Agartha AKA Hollow Earth AKA  Underworld. Santa was Satanic. He lived in the North Pole which is one of the main entrances to Agartha where patriarcal Atlanteans now reside. The other entrance being the Air Sampling Station in the Antarctica. Antarctica was Atlantis when it was positioned in the Bermuda Triangle.


Saint Nicholas, the patron Saint of children, presumably delivered presents to European children using his flying saucer to get around but claimed it was a sleigh. His colours were red, white and black whcih are the patriarchal colours and that of the Atlanteans. 


Many myths are truths and many truths are myths.


source: Secrets of the Pink Kush

William H. Bradhaw, Dipl. T, CPIM

Not to be outdone by the Jews, Christians invented Christmas. Hah! In religion, jealousy reigns supreme!

Even though Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus (Iesus), the Roman Catholic Church had to come up with something to compete with Chanukah/Hanukah.
So, they "stole" a festival from Egypt, sprinkled a little "Jesus Dust" on it, and "voila!" we have "instant Jesus".

dhwty's picture


Wu Mingren (‘Dhwty’) has a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient History and Archaeology. Although his primary interest is in the ancient civilizations of the Near East, he is also interested in other geographical regions, as well as other time periods.... Read More

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