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Hanukkah and the battles for spiritual freedom

Hanukkah is known today as the Festival of Light. Once upon a time, it was called the Feast of Dedication. During a time of tyranny by the hand of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Jewish people were forbidden to practice the Law of Moses. An altar to Zeus was erected in the Holy Temple, at the feet of an idol, in the image of King Antiochus. All were commanded to worship before it.

The Hellenist greeks were weeding out the faithful when a rebellion was ignited among the Jews.

The rebellion was led by Judah Maccabee "The Hammer." He was zealous for the Law and for the Temple of God in Jerusalem. He was determined to regain the Temple and drive out the Hellenists.

After many bloody battles, they finally gained the upper hand and drove the Hellenists out of Jerusalem. They brought down the idol and destroyed the altar to Zeus. Immediately after, they set their hands to the restoration of the Temple which the greeks had defiled.

During the time of cleansing the temple, they lit the Menorah but there was only enough of the pure oil to last one day. Miraculously, the Menorah stayed lit for eight days until more pure oil could be procured.

Henceforth, our Jewish people have celebrated the Feast of Dedication or re-dedication of the Temple. It is also called the Festival of Light to commemorate God's mercy to deliver His people from tyranny and to set them free in order to worship Him alone.

Every year at this time, the words of Zechariah the Prophet are read in synagogues around the world as a reminder, that not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of God, are His people delivered.

(Paraphrase Zechariah 4:6)

If you are outside of Israel, celebrating Hanukkah, and playing the game of Dreidels you will notice Hebrew letters of your Dreidel read:

נ ג ה ש

An acronym for "A great miracle happened there"

If you are celebrating Hanukkah in Israel the Hebrew letters on your Dreidel will be:

נ ג ה פ

An acronym for "A great miracle happened here"

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Hanukkah. Remember that a great miracle happened here in Israel and always let your light shine.


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