Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. If you are not Jewish, and you’ve always wanted to know more about the holiday, DCW50’s Jimmy Alexander is here to help. We asked Rabbi Adam Raskin from Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, MD, to help broaden our knowledge, about the Festival of Lights.
Chanukah is a holiday which goes back well over two thousand years to Judah Maccabee, who reclaimed the holy temple from the Greco-Syrians during the Reign of Antiochus the Fourth.
Emperor Antiochus the third of Syria waged war against Ptolemy of Egypt and annexed the land for Syria, then when the Romans came and absorbed the Syrian empire and began oppressing the jewish people and the land of Israel.
Later under Antiochus the Fourth the empire was brought under a unified religion which meant the Jewish religion was almost completely suppressed.
Judah was commanded to lead a small force of guerilla soldiers back into the holy land to reclaim the temple and holy lands, though greatly outnumbered they managed to overwhelm the Greco-Syrian forces and take back the temple.
From there the story goes that they had only enough oil to last one night, but instead it lasted eight.
It is traditionally celebrated with prayer, the lighting of an icon known as the Menorah, a game of spinning tops called dreidels, and several traditional foods: champion of which is the latke or potato pancake.
or just ask your local rabbi, they're usually really chill about teaching, it's kinda their whole schtick.
(note from the editor: according to my research the Maccabees most likely got some diesel mixed in with their crude oil as diesel has the highest energy density per mass (J/g) of fuels suitable for controlled burn which is apparently what's needed for sustained burning efficiency or alternatively hexamethylene tetramine which can burn more quietly for long periods of time but ultimately not as long as Dicyanoacetylen but that's entirely too volatile for crude lamps... I went to art school...)